Photo: Taylor Swift “Midnights”
Swifties everywhere have been rejoicing over the recent release of Taylor Swift’s newest album. Entitled: “Midnights,” thirteen new tracks were released on October 21st, inspired by what Swift describes as “thirteen sleepless nights.” Additionally, seven bonus tracks were released the same day as a part of the “3 AM version.” The vision for the album appeared to be the terror and beauty one can experience when the clock strikes twelve. From obsessive anxieties to poetic emotions, there are so many intricate thoughts woven into the lyrics. Swift announced her new album at the end of August, during an acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long of a wait.
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Taylor Swift has become one of the most recognizable names not only in the music industry, but all around. Her celebrity status seems to only grow, and she has been able to create a brand for herself while still shifting her music style and albums into separate eras. “Midnights” brings about a new era with many callbacks to older ones. It has grace and maturity, along with amusing and upbeat tempos, and there’s a nice variety throughout each of the tracks, the emotions they evoke, and the stories they tell. What makes “Midnights” so memorable?
The History of a Swiftie
Swifties, or fans of Taylor Swift, have been able to appreciate the wide variety of styles Swift has adapted. From her early days on the country music scene and into her transition into pop music. From her iconic “Reputation” era to her softer “Folklore” storytelling skills. With all of these different eras come different fashion styles and themes. From all of her ten albums, there are different outfits associated, becoming staple pieces in Taylor Swift’s fashion history. Swift herself has alluded to these different eras through her music, music videos, and social media presence. Feeling fun and flirty? The “1989” album sets you up with some pop bops that’ll make you feel like you’re thriving. Feeling more hurt and vengeful? “Reputation” gives you every shade of revenge. Want something more romantically toned? “Lover” has everything you could ever want in that regard, just listen to the title track. It’s remarkable how so many different sounds and moods can come from just one artist, but Swift knows how to make every album count.
As the Taylor Swift musical timeline progresses, her lyrics progress with her maturity. For example, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” which were released in 2020, have a new whimsical indie sound that takes a new direction compared to her earlier work. With “Midnights” being the most recent release, it feels as though there is even more artistry and maturity behind some of the tracks. Furthermore, “Midnights” references many different points in Swift’s life, conveying her ability to look back at her past and make something out of her experiences, the good and the bad. Some of the sounds from this album have similarities with her older ones while still adding new twists. This new era has a vintage vibe that mixes with dream pop, electronica, and more.
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Meet Me at Midnights
What does midnight mean to you? What do you think about when you lie awake and can’t sleep at night? This album just might articulate the answers for you. There are themes of insecurities, public image, self-assurance, and hindsight. One of the most popular tracks released is called “Anti-Hero,” which was accompanied by a music video. In this song, Swift sings about battling her insecurities, with the main line being “it must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero.” In literature, anti-heroes were always complex characters who were not inherently bad, yet were distinctively different from the traits we associate with our typical heroic characters. It’s a fitting title that matches the lyrics. Some of us always root for the anti-heroes, no matter how tiring that experience can be. And some of us ourselves feel like the anti-heroes in our own stories. Bumbling through the plot while the negative traits are the only visible ones.
Turning to a happier, more upbeat track, Swift wrote a song called “Karma,” which feels like a callback to her more pop-based albums. “Karma” was speculated to be a scrapped album years ago, and now it resides as a hypnotic tune on the “Midnights” album. In this song, Taylor Swift describes the force of karma as something good to her. “Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend. Karma’s a relaxing thought,” she sings. We all know karma can go both ways, so it’s delightful to see Swift’s take on it. On the bonus version, there’s a heartbreaking song entitled: “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.” This song seems to reflect on Swift’s earlier days of fame and the relationships she had as a young lady. Fans have their own thoughts on who these songs are about, but this particular one is all about wondering what could’ve been and feeling the pain of being forced to grow up too fast (a theme that resides in other songs as well). There are so many more standout songs and lyrics, but these are just a few to give a listen to.
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I have so much respect for Taylor Swift and her ability to write these earth-shattering lyrics in the same album that includes fun, party-like beats. She has been able to reshape the music industry by redefining what should be mainstream music. “Midnights” is memorable for this ability and for how it reflects on Taylor Swift’s own personal life and history.
I think Swift sets a beautiful example for many young artists out there. From her grace in shifting eras to her emphasis on themes, it’s a tough act to follow, but it gives so much to those who listen. Everyone can choose a different track and different lyric that expresses their feelings perfectly. If only we had more music like that. “Midnights” is just one of many albums, but it is refreshing and brings new joy to this fall season. Have a good night! I’m going to listen to Spotify now.
By Rachel Beltowski
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Rachel Beltowski is a screenwriter and film critic, with a passion for character-driven stories and thought-provoking themes. From adventure to horror, Rachel enjoys stories which take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and allow for personal expression that would otherwise go silent. Rachel was drawn to The Hollywood Insider’s dedication to individual perspectives and positive world impacts. The Hollywood Insider has provided a foundation for Rachel to share her insights and leap into the center of the entertainment industry. Rachel hopes to bring a fresh voice into the world of film and television, and share her love of stories with others.