Midnights: An Album Review.

Midnights is the tenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 21, 2022, via Republic Records. Announced at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, the album marks Swift’s first body of new work since her 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore.

Inspired by the “sleepless nights” of Swift’s life, Midnights contains confessional yet cryptic lyrics, and ruminating themes such as anxiety, insecurity, self-criticism, self-awareness, insomnia, and self-confidence. Musically, Swift experimented with various of different styles in the album.

I really wanted to talk about my favorite songs on the album which is why I am going to be reviewing the album.

  1. Lavender Haze

The opening track is a disco pop song with backing vocals from Zoe Kravitz. She talks about the scrutiny she receives about the relationships she’s in – more specifically her current relationship with Joe Alwyn. The ‘Lavender Haze’ is a term Swift heard that meant being in love. It’s the perfect opener to this album and paints the picture that Swift will talk about a lot of things in this album.

I love how this is an alternative sound to the genre she’s been connected to for a while. It just shows how she’s experimenting with her sound and evolving her music.

2. Maroon

This is a dynamic dream pop song with a buzzing drone sound heard in the background for the majority of the song. It’s about a “missed-chance romance,” recalling several specific memories.  The title is a call-back to Swift’s fourth studio album,  Red (2012), with the maroon color serving as the more “experienced version” of Red. The instrumental is slowed which brings out the emotion in her voice, making it sound so raw.

3. Anti-Hero

My favorite from the album. I feel like we all have our own reasons why we connect to her songs and this song just makes me feel heard. I’m sorry, but her including the line “It’s me, Hi, I’m the problem it’s me” just captures the idea that we all feel like we have to go head to head with another version of ourselves who hates us – like a negative voice in our heads.

The song has a different pace and vibe to it compared to the first two songs which make me feel like this song belongs on Red or was written during the time she was writing this album.

4. Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)

Justice for Lana on this song. I know she was providing backing vocals for this song but I just wish she had her own versus on the song or at least maybe have her featured more prominently on the song.

5. You’re On Your Own Kid

The song has an alternative pop sound that begins with muted instrumentals and swells into a crescendo.  It discusses Swift’s early stardom and her struggles during rising to fame, such as her eating disorder.

What I love about this song just shows how open she is to talk about this happening in her life. She understands that she has a platform. What’s so sad is that she believed that she couldn’t talk to anyone about this to anyone and thought this was something she had to go through on her own.

The song speaks to so many people. Even if you look at it lyrically it’s unfortunate, she wasn’t alone.

6. Midnight Rain

Where do I start? The song tells the story of two people who want two different things in life. I love the part when there’s the distorted voice in the track which represents the other person in the relationship.

It features a pitched-down hook, programmed drums, and percussion. When I first listened to the song, I thought it ended so quickly that I just wish there was an extended version of it somewhere.

7. Question…?

The seventh track, ‘Question…?’, asks rhetorical questions about “blurry” memories.  I think it’s quite similar to ‘Out of the Woods.’

There are a lot of f-bombs in the album which I have just realized and I think but don’t quote me on it that this album might be the most times that Swift has sworn. I can just imagine this song being played in a club because of the beats in it. I’m already up dancing to this.

8. Vigilante Shit.

Reminds me so much of Reputation. I might even say I’m entering my reputation era again. Let me paint a picture in your head, I’m literally slow walking to this song having the main character moment that I deserve.

In my head, this is ‘Ready for It’ but slowed down and switched around in some places. Beware I will be dressing for revenge after hearing this song. (Also, thank you Taylor for giving me this motivation.)

9. Bejeweled

Again, I’m having my main character moment in this song. Slow-walking in a movie after having a ‘glow up’ and everyone asking who is that girl?

‘Bejeweled’ is a disco tune driven by synth arpeggios, with lyrics recognizing Swift’s self-worth.

For me, this track is for people trying to find their self-worth in life and I just love the image of shimmering and being like a diamond – I’m rare and expensive, but if you treat me right, this will last a lifetime.

10. Labyrinth

‘Labyrinth’ is a steady synth-pop song with skittering electronic elements, church organs, and subtle guitars, about the anxiety over falling in love again. The media made Taylor out as some sort of player due to the number of public relationships. I totally understand that there would have been some times that she thought the love wasn’t genuine and was scared to fall back in love again after having her heart broken.

The image of ‘Labyrinth’ paints the idea of being lost and running away from what you are scared to face. Listening to this song helps me realize that the distorted voice isn’t another person but is used as her inner voice being scared.

11. Karma

A lot of negative things have happened to Taylor in the public eye. (Hence Reputation). This song takes the theme of karma to a literal level. The musical elements of disco with a wave of pop make this revengeful song sound so positive.

This is one of my top three songs from the album. I think by now it’s pretty clear which are my top three, but I will let you decide.

12. Sweet Nothing

My initial thought to this was how sad this was going to be because of the electric piano being used. It’s a love song that emulates the 1970s sound.

She talks about how perfect and calm it is inside her house as well as being calm compared to her life outside her house. Maybe this calmness that she wants is the life that she wished she had in the outside world.

13. Mastermind

The song gives an alternative perspective on fate and things happening by chance. The first song of the album asks the question, did she make all of this happen by herself? I think you can look at this song from many different perspectives but the one I see is that this song comes from a place from someone who has a calculating approach to pop stardom which seeped into her love life as well, as opposed to the lyrics about destiny in the Folklore track, “Invisible String”.  It’s also a nod to Swift’s own cryptic habit of leaving easter eggs in her work to tease upcoming projects.

I loved this album so much to the point that I might even say that Midnights might be Taylor’s best album to date – even though Red and Reputation is the best in my eyes.

 On Metacritic, which assigns a score out of 100 to ratings from publications, the album received a score of 85 based on 28 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”.

Brittany Spanos and Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stones dubbed Midnights a classic; Spanos praised Swift’s “brilliant and fresh” songwriting style, while Sheffield talked about the moody production. Variety’s Chris Willman praised the vocals, mid-tempo production, and the choice to eschew “bangers”. The Daily Telegraph admired the “intimate” songcraft, melodies and lyrics.

American songwriter critic Alex Hopper described the album as a “rich listening experience” and talked about how the album was”1989”s grungier sister”, while The Observer said it is “an album of fascinating small-hours contemplation” and “pure bliss”. Esquire referred to it as “the pop album of the year.” The Guardian’s Alexis Petradis praised the “understated” production; he found it sophisticated and “tastefully subdued”.

Ann Powers of NPR felt the album is Swift’s most “challenging”, complimenting the “glamorous, gleaming” vocals, while Matthew Neale of Clash said her songwriting prowess and “swagger” were the “most exciting” parts of Midnights, dubbing it a “near-perfect” body of work. Brown of The Independent wrote, Swift “unpacks her darkest dreams, deepest doubts, and cruelest thoughts” using “feline vocal stealth” and “assured lyrical control”. NME’s Hannah Mylrea said the album is Swift’s return to pop, offering “future-facing sounds” and candid lyrics. Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times admired her “strong” vocals emphasizing her grain. Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz called it “a focused, legacy-extending” album with “razor-sharp” lyrics.

This album was a complete surprise to all the Swifties which is why I think we all appreciate this album more and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Miss Swift.

Make sure you follow us on socials @fangirlsworldtour and let us know what you think of Midnights in the comments below!

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