Taylor Swift’s new studio album, Midnights, came out on October 21, 2022 and it’s safe to say those 13 songs are so good that Swift’s new album broke the Billboard charts – as in, the top 10 Billboard spots were all taken up by songs from Midnights, which was a first for Swift. Her album also has an additional 7 bonus tracks on certain editions. Below is an honest opinionated review of each song on Midnights, excluding the bonus tracks, as well as my favorite line from each. As the singer tweeted when her album was first released to the world, “Midnights is a collage of intensity, highs and lows and ebbs and flows. Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic or lonely. Just like Midnights. Which is out now.” Ultimately, Swift has mastered the feeling of intimacy and vulnerability throughout this album, and Midnights has become an overnight sensation, breaking the record for the most streamed album in a day on both Spotify and Apple Music. I highly recommend everyone to listen to Midnights by Taylor Swift if you haven’t already because I’m positive that you’ll like it or even love it!
- Lavender Haze – “I just wanna stay in that lavender haze”
The first track of Swift’s album is by far one of my favorite songs from the full album. I thought that Lavender Haze was a nice smooth song title opener and that it was fun to listen to. The song sets the tone and mood for the rest of the album. Lavender Haze has a fun quality to it and is perfect for daydreaming. Swift herself shared in an article that she found the title name from the movie Mad Men, the article states ““I happened upon the phrase ‘lavender haze’ when I was watching Mad Men,” shared Swift. “I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool and it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s where they would just describe being in love … Swift added, ”If you were in the lavender haze, then that meant that you were in that all-encompassing love glow and I thought that was really beautiful.””
- Maroon – “And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet (it was maroon)”
The second track, Maroon, is a true work of art, by the play of words Swift uses to describe the act of blushing. It has a sweet melody with strong words that form a beautiful song. Swift’s loyal fanbase she calls Swifties shared on social media their speculations behind on the song and its title – one theory that sparked my interest said that “Maroon” is a darker shade of Red, her fourth studio album from 2012. With the release of Midnights arriving almost exactly a decade after Red, fans have looked to that album for clues. They’ve sifted through countless lyrics to pinpoint not what, but who the song is about.”
- Anti Hero – “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror”
In all honesty I looked up a past review of this song and in particular the author of that article described this song in the most particular of words that truly encapsulated its meaning so I decided to share a quote from that article. “The song sounds like the collision of three different Swift eras: There’s the lacquered synth-pop of 1989, the neurotic image analysis of reputation, the dense lyricism of Folklore and Evermore. Swift and trusted collaborator Jack Antonoff keep the production simple, a methodical drum loop, simmering synths — focusing in on a series of vignettes in which Swift is haunted by past mistakes. The verses are full of surprises, and a bit unruly; it’s almost like, after writing circles around her peers for ages.”
- Snow on the Beach ft Lana Del Ray – “Flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful”
When Swifties found out Lana Del Ray would be collaborating with Swift, it’s safe to say all of us freaked out. With both artists having an amazing vocal range, everyone was so excited to see what the two could do together. However, most were disappointed when the song came out, since, while the lyrics and song itself is beautiful and melodic, fans of both Lana Del Ray and Taylor Swift were disappointed by the lack of Lana Del Ray in the song – she only sang background vocals while Swift had misled us to believe she would have a key part in the song. Swift opened up about the inspiration behind Snow on the Beach in an Instagram video soon after announcing the song, saying she was inspired by “connections between two people that are completely in sync, to the point where you question if it’s real. The song is about falling in love with someone at the same time as they’re falling in love with you — sort of in this cataclysmic, fated moment where you realize someone feels exactly the same way that you feel at the same moment,” she said. “And you’re kind of looking around going, ‘Wait, is this real? Is this a dream? Is this for real? Is this really happening?’ Kind of like it would be if you were to see snow falling on a beach.”
- You’re on Your Own, Kid – “Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss”
You’re on Your Own Kid gives us an insight on the brutal navigating Swift endured with her fame and love whilst it’s all in the public eye. The song features some of the singer-songwriter’s most heart-wrenching, personal lyrics about her own journey navigating fame, love, and the people she has lost and gained over the years. She addresses the loss and growth in her life and how everything comes full circle at the end if it’s meant to be.
- Midnight Rain – “He stayed the same… All of me changed”
Midnight Rain is a fan favorite for many Swifties mostly because of Swift’s edited vocals in the intro. This shocked most because of the level of distortion, which was so unlike her previous work on her other albums. However, I do have to be honest – while I did find the lyrics a bit corny, the beat and edited vocals truly saved the song.
- Question…? – “Got swept away in the gray”
Question…? begins with the lyric “I remember” and follows with the same melody and tone as her song “Out of the Woods” from her 1989 album, which both that album and this song respond to the negative (often sexist) press she received. Both deal with her naivete and unfazed nonchalance as she navigates a cruel world.
- Vigilante S**t – “Someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI”
With a release date a week prior to Halloween, it seems right for Swift to add at least one eerie track to the album, which would definitely be Vigilante S**t. It pays a respective homage to the 2017 album Reputation, known for its striking baseline. The minimalist beat adds to the eerie tone of the song and creates a stage for her lyrics and harmonies to be in the spotlight without being overpowered by the backing track.
- Bejeweled – “Puttin’ someone first only works when you’re in their top five”
A truly amazing hype song. Swifties have taken major likes to Bejeweled and have gone as far as to making it a social media, mostly a TikTok, trend dance. Her music video for this particular song features big artists including Laura Dern and HAIM.
- Labyrinth – “Break up, break free, break through, break down”
Many Swifties on social media have compared the lyrics to Labyrinth to mirror the rush of new love (new young love). Labyrinth unfolds like its namesake, starting out easy with a folktale type of beat before turning into more of a pop song. Labyrinth doesn’t appear to be about any one person or relationship from the singer’s past. Instead, the track serves as a retrospective addressing her many painful brushes with love.
- Karma – “And I keep my side of the street clean… You wouldn’t know what I mean”
A truly amazing second hype song. Karma by far is the most viral song on Midnights and has also gotten similar social media love, similar to Bejeweled. I think my favorite part of this song is how surprising it is … the lyrics that go from “karma is my boyfriend” to “karma is a cat purring in my lap cause it loves me” – all Swifties know how Taylor loves to incorporate her cats into everything!
- Sweet Nothing – “You’re in the kitchen humming… All that you ever wanted from me was… Sweet nothing”
Sweet Nothing is an ode to the singer’s partner who has been able to weather all the storms that get thrown at Swift’s way, especially being a very high-profile public figure. This song is most likely a tribute to Swift’s long term partner Joe Alwyn, who the singer started dating in mid-2016. She said in an article interview that “it takes a special someone to not break in the face of all the negativity and positivity creeping into their personal life. It is even better when a partner expects ‘nothing’ from her which is a rare find.”
- Mastermind – “I laid the groundwork and then, just like clockwork … The dominoes cascaded in a line”
The last song on Midnights is Mastermind, which is definitely the word used to describe Swift herself. If you’re inclined to view Swift as a villain, she depicts her narrative as follows: “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid / So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since / To make them love me and make it seem effortless.” This track’s upbeat empowerment reveals to the audience who has been in control throughout her career as an artist. As the beat intensifies and echoes around her words, it leaves you with an overall feeling of being uplifted and feeling empowered.