The sun won’t go down on Taylor Swift’s Midnights any time soon


Alexi Knight, Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor

I’m not afraid to say it: I am a huge Taylor Swift fan. 

“Our Song” was my first ever favorite song. Speak Now was my favorite album growing up and is still one of my favorites to this day. Even when it was considered extremely uncool to like Taylor Swift in middle school, I still secretly jammed to 1989 in my bedroom. And when her alternative renaissance came in 2020 with Folklore, my obsession returned in full swing. I wasn’t sure that she would ever be able to top that album, until she did with her near immediate follow-up, Evermore. 

As we delved into the era of Taylor’s Version, I thought it would be several long years before we got brand new material from Swift outside of her “From The Vault” tracks. Much to my surprise, she announced her “brand new” album at the MTV Video Music Awards this past August: needless to say, I was very excited. I religiously followed her cryptic and chaotic album rollout, featuring the “Midnights Mayhem with Me” series on TikTok where she randomly revealed the track titles one at a time via a bingo cage with numbered balls. I even pre-ordered the album for my vinyl collection without hearing a second of the music. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that whatever Swift puts out, I will listen to and fall in love with. 

That’s exactly what happened to me with my very first listen of Midnights. The opening bars of the first track “Lavender Haze” drew me in immediately and kept me enthralled for its entirety. I could spend hours diving into some of my favorite intricacies of the album, especially lyrically, but for now, I’ll stick to the highlights. 

I’m a big proponent of the sonically cohesive album, and aside from Folklore, this may be Swift’s best attempt in that regard thus far in her career. The sound flows so clearly from one track to the next, which does not always happen on a Taylor Swift album (for example, on Red: going from “All Too Well” to “22” to “I Almost Do” is practically whiplash-inducing). I give a lot of the credit to producer extraordinaire, Jack Antonoff, who is Swift’s main collaborator on the record. While they have worked together before to create hits such as “Cruel Summer” and “August,” this is their first time making an entire album together, and I must say it was a smashing success.

Antonoff’s influences are most strongly exhibited on the second track, “Maroon,” which has become my favorite. Both sonically and lyrically, I see it as a sequel to “Dress” from Reputation, which Antonoff and Swift also wrote together. Both songs tell of a friends to lovers relationship. “Dress” tells what happens leading up to the relationship while “Maroon” reflects on the couple’s time together after it ends. While they are both excellent songs, I think the lyricism of “Maroon” takes the cake and will likely take its place as one of my favorites in Swift’s discography.

Another highlight for me was the bridge of track five, “You’re Own Your Own, Kid.” Swift’s track fives are notorious for being the most emotionally charged song on the album, and this was no different for Midnights. Swift is also known for writing top notch bridges and this one just might be one of her best and most vulnerable. “I hosted parties and starved my body/Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss” hits deeply for me and probably for anyone who’s seen her documentary, Miss Americana, where she speaks on her years long difficulty of grappling with fame leading to an eating disorder. 

The only other moment of vulnerability I feel matches this one on the album is on the bonus track “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” which seems to reference Swift’s (likely unhealthy and perhaps even abusive) relationship with John Mayer, during which she was 19 and he was 31. 

The album also has its upbeat moments, the standout of which for me is “Karma.” The lyrics might be a bit cheesy, but who cares? It’s fun! It’s catchy! It fits perfectly into the “glitter gel pen” category of writing Swift referenced last month when talking about her writing process.“Sweet like honey/Karma is a cat, purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me” has been stuck in my head for several days now. 

I’ll leave you with this: Midnights is a fantastic album. It’s sonically cohesive, lyrically complex and vulnerable, but also just a fun time. It may not top the alternative genius of Folklore or Evermore, but it is a work of pop excellence, and what I am sure will continue to be a smash hit for the foreseeable future.