Taylor Swift’s new album “Midnights” breaks records


Ruby Matenko

Taylor Swift’s new album “Midnights” released on October 21 at midnight EST. Taylor Swift’s album cover + Ruby Matenko’s border design

Ruby Matenko, Staff Writer

All day Oct. 20, Taylor Swift fans, or “Swifties,” waited impatiently for the release of Swift’s 10th studio album “Midnights”. As the clock struck midnight (EST) and fans collectively pressed “play”, Spotify crashed. Hitting 88 million U.S. and 185 million worldwide Spotify streams, “Midnights” broke the Spotify record for the most-streamed album in a single day. 

“Midnights” combines upbeat synthesized pop with moody soft-rock, which Swift describes as being “the stories of thirteen sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life.” Along with the 13-track album, she released an additional seven surprise tracks — the “3am Edition.”

Swift announced “Midnights” during her acceptance speech at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards and promoted it through a TikTok series —“Midnights Mayhem.” After so much excitement surrounding the album, the question is: did this album live up to expectations?

To spoil it for you, yes, it did; even though it took some adjustment for some people to enjoy it, since she has returned to pop after her most recent albums (“folklore” and “evermore”) being alternative.

Before her alternative albums, Swift jumped from country to pop. Now, “Midnights” is a perfect mix of her past music. Swift’s ability to write songs in so many different genres shows how she lives up to her nickname of a “musical chameleon.”

The diverse range of eras in Swift’s life are explored in the “Midnights” tracks, each one being a sleepless night about what she was going through during each phase of her life. The “3am Edition” of this album is a mix of somber and emotional songs, like “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” and “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” and more fun, happy songs, such as “Paris.” The original 13 tracks are more cohesive than the “3am Edition,” which is more of a diverse mix. Overall, this album could be described as being alluring, endearing, and magical.

The opening song “Lavender Haze” provokes interest as Swift sings about wanting the feeling of falling and being in love without the media’s interference. The instrumentals are very similar to “I Think He Knows” on her “Lover” album.

“Anti-Hero”, with its accompanying music video, explores the feelings of being insecure and self-loathing almost all too well. A lyric that perfectly depicts the insecure side is “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror,” while Swift’s self-loathing is shown in the lyric “Did you hear my covert narcissism, I disguise as altruism…?”.

Swift’s collaboration with Lana Del Rey on “Snow on the Beach” reflects the surreal feeling of falling in love with an unexpected person at an unexpected time. The beginning of this song sounds like Christmas morning, and the whole song is lyrically stunning, with a mysterious and enchanting feeling to it. While Rey not receiving her own verse was disappointing, as Swift hyped everyone up from the “Midnights Mayhem” reveal on TikTok that Rey would be featured on the album. However, this song was also written by Rey, and her voice can be clearly heard at many parts of the song, so overall, it is a great collaboration track.

Songs like “Question…?” and “Bejeweled” are fantastic pop songs with great meanings and lyricism, as Swift’s trademark is being able to write lyrics that tell a story — even when she isn’t writing a highly emotional song. They are fun songs to dance to and to boost your mood.

A lot more toned down than those songs, and written with Joe Alwyn (with whom she has been in a relationship for six years now), “Sweet Nothing” sounds like a lullaby and is just as sweet as one. It paints a picture of how it feels to be able to come home from the crazy world to a comfortable relationship full of simplicity and with no expectations. It is a beautiful song that feels comforting yet is also emotional.

Swift treated us with another seven amazing songs with the “3am Edition.” One of them, “High Infidelity”, which seems to romanticize adultery, which isn’t out of pocket given Swift’s catalog. Another one that fans seem to be going crazy about on social media is “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”, which expresses feelings of regret and wishing that you could go back and change something.

The freshness, creativity, and overall greatness of “Midnights” truly shows Swift’s career development and progression. I would recommend listening to this album if you are looking for an invigorated take on emotional topics from one of the most brilliant musical artists of this generation.