Midnights: Taylor Swift's 10th and Most Mature Album
Written by Suzanne Crow & Rachel Snyder
October 28, 2022
As eloquently as we can say this, Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights has left us screaming, crying, vomiting, and sobbing. We could physically feel her lyrics throughout our bodies since Taylor has the gift of being able to write songs that universally apply to all of her listeners. Midnights also left us at peace because it was everything we wanted and exactly what we needed.
LAVENDER HAZE: Obviously, 1950’s America was not an amazing time for women, but you have to admit it was a pretty damn romantic time. Our grandparents were falling in love hard, fast, and madly. The phrase “Lavender Haze” was used back in the day to describe when a person was absolutely head over heels in love. In true Swiftie-fashion this song is poetic, dramatic, and beautifully swoon-worthy. Before the drop of Midnights, Taylor explained, “If the world finds out if you’re in love with somebody they’re going to weigh in on it.” Like my relationship for six years we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. So this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.” The electronic pop beats carry the conflicting lyrics about being in a bubble of an “all-encompassing love glow” trying to live in a world armed with needles of scrutiny. Lyrics describing how “All they keep asking me / Is if I’m gonna be your bride / The only kind of girl they see / Is a one night or a wife.” Taylor elegantly describes how desperately she wants to stay in her love-haze without the constant noise from the media.
ANTI-HERO: “Anti-Hero” is about Taylor’s insecurities, one of her most vulnerable and relatable songs yet. She sings, “It’s me, Hi / I’m the problem, it’s me,” multiple times, which may be the most popular lyrics in the album. Taylor posted an Instagram reel about “Anti-Hero,” saying it’s one of her favorite songs she has written. In the same reel, she says, “We all hate things about ourselves — and it’s all of those aspects of the things we dislike and like about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we’re gonna like be this person.” Taylor also wrote and directed the video for this song, with a 70s influence. There was a use of multiple Taylors, and comedic interlude featuring her future children. In particular, the multiple Taylors perfectly visualize what insecurities can often feel like. Overall, her honesty is appreciated, specifically about things that are not always easy to talk about.
YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN KID: “You’re On Your Own, Kid” was the perfect track 5 choice. Track 5 is traditionally the most emotional song on each album — at first, it was a coincidence that fans noticed, but now Taylor does it on purpose. This song is indeed heartbreaking, as its track implies. Towards the beginning of the song, Taylor describes a love interest with the hard-hitting lyrics — “I didn’t choose this town, I dream of getting out / There’s just one who could make me stay” — about someone we learn doesn’t feel the same. The song goes on to cover other vulnerable topics, including body image, dreams, lost friends, and, as the title implies, being on your own. Towards the end of the song, these lyrics offer a more hopeful outlook and show she has grown through some of these things — “Everything you lose is a step you take.” The song is honest, relatable, and beautifully written.
VIGILANTE SHIT: Reputation fans, this one’s for you. If you loved the cut-throat Taylor of 2017, you’re going to want this song on full volume. “Vigilante Shit” is patent-leather stilettos, the blackest-black of eyeliner, and Amy Dunne from Gone Girl. This track follows a woman who helps one of her enemies’ ex-wife get revenge, which many believe is her response to the Scooter Braun drama. Taylor sings, “She needed cold hard proof, so I gave her some / She had the envelope, where you think she got it from? Now she gets the house, gets the kids, gets the pride / Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife.” Taylor alludes that she gave Brauns ex-wife, Yael Cohen, evidence that her husband was cheating on her. She cuts the knife deeper, singing, “Someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI / And I don’t dress for villains / Or for innocents / On my vigilante sh-t again.” Whatever the drama may be, the song is undeniably for bad-asses who thrive off of “doing things for the plot.” So take some of Taylor’s advice: never get sad, get even.
KARMA: “Karma” is one of the more fun and upbeat songs on the album, showing Taylor proud of what her life is like. In the chorus, Taylor describes Karma as being many positive things, including her boyfriend, a cat, and a relaxing thought. But is Karma also an album? Many Swifties (including us) believe Taylor was working on an album titled Karma before the drama with Kanye West in 2016. Because of this drama and the public’s reaction to it, we think Taylor scrapped her Karma album and created a more fitting album for her situation at the time, Reputation. The most telling evidence of this is from “The Man” music video — there is a wall with Taylor’s album titles spray-painted on it, including Karma. When Taylor announced this track title on her “Midnights Mayhem With Me,” she laughed at the end, which makes us think she has seen the theories. Is this song a confirmation that the Karma album theories are right? I think so.
MASTERMIND : Leave it to Taylor Swift to lyricise all of your deepest inner thoughts about your need for control into a funky pop song. “Mastermind” is for all of you Type A’s out there who need planners and days of the week underwear (ourselves included).We all know this woman is a genius, but for her to articulate how she can tame something as uncontrollable as falling in love is just another way of her showing off her brilliance. The song goes from personal to political, “You see all the wisest women had to do it this way / ‘Cause we were born to be the pawn in every lover’s game / If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Taylor made this song as a way to personify herself as this grandmaster who can toy with the players in her game. “Mastermind” proves that absolutely none of her actions are accidental and every move she makes has purpose. This song makes me believe that if anyone could control fate, it would be Taylor Alison Swift.
BONUS TRACK - PARIS: “Paris” is one of the songs Taylor gifted us at 3am. The title of the track is named after the city of love, and it’s not hard to see why. In the song, Taylor describes the blissful part of being in love. Throughout the song, she sings, “I’m so in love that I might stop breathing,” which is now one of my favorite Taylor lyrics because it describes a feeling I think we all hope to have at some point. She also sings, “No, I didn’t see the news / ‘Cause we were somewhere else / Stumbled down pretend alleyways / Cheap wine, make believe it’s champagne.” She’s so engaged in this romance that she can’t be bothered by anything else. Most of my favorite Taylor songs are about heartbreak, “Paris” takes us into Taylor’s world of happiness, bliss, and love for three minutes.
BONUS TRACK - WOULD’VE, COULD’VE, SHOULD’VE: If a song could physically pierce you in the heart and make you bleed, it would be this one. Listening to it for the first time was absolutely brutal, and we loved every second of it. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” was one of the surprise 3am tracks Taylor released and very obviously reveals the pain and regret from her past relationship with John Mayer. At just 19, Taylor was dating Mayer who was 32 years old at the time. The song took us back to her teenage self, singing, “I would have stayed on my knees / And I’m damn sure I never would have danced with the devil / At nineteen, and the god’s honest truth is that the pain was heaven / And now that I’m grown, I’m scared of ghosts / Memories feel like weapons.” It’s unbelievably painful and it’s hauntingly beautiful. The song serves as a way for Taylor to explain the true loss of her innocence, and articulate how much she regrets involving herself with Mayer. “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” single-handedly tore us up to shreds until we were dry-heaving on the floor in a fetal position… but in a good way? Taylor uses morbid yet religious overtones to portray just how much this relationship impacted her mentally and emotionally. If you thought “Dear John” was the breakup song of the century, you are truly mistaken.
On the day of the release, Midnights became Spotify’s most streamed album in a day — and it broke this record before the clock struck midnight. For anyone that doesn’t believe that Taylor Swift is one of the greatest writers in American history, we strongly encourage you to listen to this album. As for us, we will be listening to only Midnights from now until eternity.