Review of “Midnights” by Taylor Swift


Scott Andrews

Taylor Swift | Midnights (artwork)

“Midnights” by Taylor Swift was released on Oct. 21, 2022. With it being Swift’s 10th album, there was much anticipation surrounding it, and Swift definitely had a part in creating an exciting build-up to the album. Easter eggs, a mini-series for the album, and a big feature on one of her tracks amped up excitement with her fans.

Swift’s album broke many records the day of its release, including some of her own. On the first day, “Midnights” accumulated over 185 million streams, making it the album with the most streams in a day, breaking Bad Bunny’s previous record. “Midnights” sold over 800,000 copies in its first day and has claimed the biggest sales week since Swift’s album “reputation” in 2017.

“Midnights” has become one of the biggest albums in the world, and it has not even been out for a full week. But enough about the records it has been breaking; let’s talk about the songs.

“Lavender Haze,” the first track on “Midnights,” surrounds Swift’s relationship with her boyfriend of six years and all the hardships and rumors that come with it. Lavender haze, a popular phrase from the 1950s, refers to love and the feeling of being in love. “I thought that was really beautiful,” Swift says in a reel posted to her Instagram. “In my relationship, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. This song is sort of about the act of ignoring this stuff,” Swift continues. The upbeat melody and lovey-dovey lyrics really do encompass that feeling of love, and it’s a great pop style song to start off the album.

The second track on her album, titled “Maroon,” is a song that, like many of Swift’s other songs, reminisces on one of her past relationships – how it started, how it went, and its tragic end. “Maroon” does a great job at conveying the nostalgia and emotions that come with reminiscing about a past love. It is an emotional love song if you focus solely on the lyrics; Swift does have a tendency to match up emotional lyrics to a beat that conveys the opposite feeling. Not only can she do that, but she can make it work very well.

The third track, “Anti-Hero,” is my personal favorite. In this song, we get a bit more up close and personal about Swift’s mental health issues. “Anti-Hero” has become the most popular song on “Midnights” since its release, with it being number one on the Spotify Global charts, and sticking to this position for as long as it’s been out. “Anti-Hero” also happens to be the first song on the album to have a music video put out for it, with the video accumulating 33 million views in five days. With how personal the song’s lyrics are, it is resonating with a lot of people, which is another great thing Swift is great at: writing relatable lyrics.

The fourth track on the album, titled “Snow On The Beach,” was arguably the most anticipated song. Both Swift’s and Del Rey’s fan bases were thrilled at this; a collaboration between the two of them has been something like a dream come true for a majority of their fans, and I cannot help but feel the same way. The instrumental has a slower, more melancholic sound compared to the rest of the album, but the song itself is about something much more positive: falling in love. On a video posted to her Instagram account, Swift says it is about “falling in love with someone at the same time they’re falling in love with you, in this cataclysmic, faded moment where you realize someone feels exactly the same way that you feel.” She then compares that feeling to seeing snow on the beach – strange, yes, but it happens.

Track five for this album was another highly-anticipated song. Swift is known for making her most devastating songs track fives, and Midnight’s track five is definitely a heartbreaker. Titled “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” the song is, in short, Swift reflecting on herself and coming to terms with the fact that she is on her own. It talks about her yearning for love and affection throughout her life, her struggle with feeling like she does not fit into the beauty standards, and accepting the fact that ultimately, she only has herself, and she is okay with that.

Track six and seven, “Midnight Rain” and “Question…?” both talk about relationships happening under unfortunate circumstances, and, of course, ending. Both songs are upbeat instrumental wise and have one more thing in common: both are driving fans absolutely crazy. Over the span of the two weeks this album has been out, there have been countless fan theories on who the songs might be about. While this is a common occurrence with all of Swift’s songs, it just goes to show how much the fans truly look into her lyrics.

Track eight, another one of my favorites off of the album, is titled “Vigilante S***.” In this song, Swift embodies the bad-girl persona she had during her “reputation” era – and the song sounds like it could have been on that album. It matches the revenge-filled vibe of “reputation” with lyrics like “Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge” and “Don’t get sad, get even.” The song is very vocally led, and does not have a lot going on instrumental wise, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps make her message clearer and gets it across in a more effective way (almost like that was intended!)

“Bejeweled,” a beloved track nine, is the second song on the album that has a music video. “Bejeweled” is a very uplifting song and is about leaving a partner who does not treat you the way you deserve to be treated. It is about realizing your worth and doing what you know is best: leaving them and focusing on you.

“Labyrinth” is track 10 and a very heartbreaking one at that. Swift dives into falling in love fast and all the worries and fears that come with it. Swift talks about being scared of moving too fast, because what would happen if it all goes bad? Lyrically, this song is my favorite: “I’ll be getting over you my whole life / You know how scared I am of elevators / Never trust it if it rises fast / It can’t last.” Paired up with the depressing instrumental, it might take the cake for the most heart-aching track 10 she has ever put out.

The announcement for “Karma,” the album’s track 11, caused Swift’s fandom to erupt with excitement. For a long time, Swifties believed in the existence of an unreleased album titled “Karma,” and Swift announcing this song pretty much confirmed it for them. The song itself is, in my opinion, the most catchy song on the album. While all of them are catchy, something about this specific song really captivates me.

“Sweet Nothing,” the second-to-last song on the album, is a very soft, sweet song about none other than the love of her life, Joe Alwyn. The song’s lyrics and melody leave whoever is listening to it with such a sweet, lovely feeling; I know it definitely left me with that feeling. Something that makes this song even sweeter is the fact that Alwyn himself helped write it. Alwyn has co-written songs with Swift before, and it is always credited under the alias “William Bowery.”

The thirteenth and final song on “Midnights” is called “Mastermind.” The song itself is about how Swift cleverly made up a plan to ensure that her and her boyfriend would end up together and calling herself a mastermind. The song may also be a nod to her reputation of cleverly leaving easter eggs for her fans to figure out every time she releases a new project.

“Midnights” has been out for less than a month, and it has already become one of Swift’s most iconic releases. It has broken dozens of records, has incredible songs, and, to top it off, has thirteen tracks – Swift’s lucky number. “Midnights” is one of, if not the best, projects she has released to date.