Album Review: Taylor Swift’s Midnights

JAG Yearbook editors review Taylor Swift’s newest album “Midnights”

Ally Sul and Casey Cunningham

Taylor Swift delivered once again and released her tenth studio album “Midnights” Friday, Oct. 21. The album contains 13 songs and instantly shattered records across the globe. JAG Yearbook editors-in-chief, Casey Cunningham and Ally Sul, shared their thoughts on Swift’s newest album. 

Lavender Haze

Casey Cunningham: The first song on the album Lavender Haze” was one of my favorites. When the album first dropped I played this song, I was instantly hooked and listened to the entire album non-stop. The background vocals made the song so much fun to listen to and gave the song such a pop song feel. I love the whole vibe of the song, it just felt so catchy and I can’t stop replaying it. Swift was really able to elevate this track with her amazing voice and vocal range. This song will definitely become one of my most played songs, it’s a very strong song to start the album off with. 

Ally Sul: Needless to say, “Lavender Haze” was a very good way to start off this album, and judging by the title, it’s safe to say that the very first track of this album could mean a lot to Swift. Swift uses the phrase “Lavender Haze” as a means to describe her relationship with current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, and does an excellent job showing it through the lyrics she chose. Lyrics such as “I just wanna stay in that lavender haze/All they keep asking me/Is if I’m gonna be your bride” give fans insight on what Swift and Alwyn’s relationship has been like up to this point. 

Maroon

CC: “Maroon” to me felt like a song from Folklore, one of Swift’s previous albums. It has that whimsical sound that makes it feel so dreamy to listen to. Every lyric sung in this song felt so perfectly put together. I really like how the backing track of this song didn’t take over this song and Swift’s voice was the main focus. I think Swift and co-writer, Jack Antonoff, did such an amazing job on this song, they really brought out the emotion in Swift’s voice. 

AS: Coming off of a track like “Lavender Haze,” I was really excited for what was to come. When I listened to “Maroon” initially, I have to admit, it wasn’t my favorite, especially after listening to “Lavender Haze.” I myself am a huge fan of Swift’s album “Red” and like other Taylor Swift fans, I too believed that “Maroon” would be somewhat of a mature sequel to tracks from the “Red” album like “All Too Well” and “I Bet You Think About Me,” but after listening to “Maroon” I wasn’t as impressed as I was when I heard some other tracks on “Midnights.” 

Anti-Hero

CC: Quickly climbing Swift’s most popular songs on Apple Music to the number one spot, “Anti-Hero” has become a fan favorite on the album. I enjoyed this song, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite on the album. I still applaud the genius lyricism on this song which alludes to Swift’s past dramas and controversies. I think Swift is really brave to showcase how she feels about her insecurities on this song. Although it’s not my favorite song, I can see why other fans enjoy it. 

AS: “Anti-Hero” is a track on this album that kind of dives into Swift’s greatest insecurities. There are plenty of theories that believe that “Anti-Hero” speaks on past drama that Swift had with celebrities such as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, but I’d like to think that Swift wrote this song to show a new side of herself to her fans. I applaud Swift for putting lyrics such as “I’ll stare directly at the sun, but never in the mirror/It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero” in this particular album. 

Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)

CC: “Snow On The Beach” was one of the songs I was looking most forward to because of the collaboration with Lana Del Rey, one of my favorite artists. I was very surprised to say the least when the song ended and I felt like I hadn’t heard Lana Del Rey’s part. I obviously could hear her in the background but I was expecting her to have at least one solo part on the song but it never came. It was kind of disappointing, I was excited for Swift to collaborate with another female artist, which isn’t common, but nevertheless, I enjoyed the song, even if Lana Del Rey didn’t really do a whole lot on the song. 

AS: Like “Lavender Haze,” I like to think that “Snow On The Beach” is about Swift and Alwyn’s relationship. The song and the lyrics sound very dreamy or dreamlike, but I suppose that Swift is trying to describe something, perhaps her relationship with Alwyn, as a scenario that is almost like a fantasy, just as seeing snow on the beach would be.

You’re On Your Own, Kid

CC: This song had a different tempo and sound from the others, this was probably my favorite part about “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” The song is super catchy and I think it fits really well with “Anti-Hero” in extending Swift’s fears and insecurities. Lyrics like “I hosted parties and starved my body” and “I dream of getting out” gave the listeners a look into Swift’s thoughts and feelings, which really provokes emotions. I think the lyrics were chosen very well and that the song was very well put together. This song is definitely one of my favorites on this album. 

AS: “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the “Midnights” album. This song tells Swift’s struggles of unrequited love and like “Anti-Hero,” this song dives deep into Swift’s insecurities. While the song sounds very happy at first, the song slowly evolves into the heartbreaking tragedy that is unrequited love. Lyrics like “I waited ages to see you there/I search the party of better bodies/Just to learn that you never cared” show Swift’s struggles with growing up with loving but being ignored. 

Midnight Rain

CC: “Midnight Rain” was very different from the other songs on this album, it had a very electronic feel, at least the beat felt electronic. I don’t like when Swift heavily edits her voice, like she did for certain parts in this song. I think Swift’s voice by itself is too good for her to put heavy edits on it, it made her voice feel muffled and robotic. I really enjoyed the lyrics on this song though, which is a common occurrence on this album, the lyricism was very well done on this song and the rest of the album. Although I really enjoy the lyrics, I don’t see myself listening to this song very much just because of the edits Swift did on her voice in certain parts in this song.

 AS: I wish I liked “Midnight Rain” more, but it’s probably my least favorite song on the album. I didn’t love the overall beat and vibe the song had going with it, which made me upset considering the amount of fan theories surrounding this one song. Fans believe that this song could be about Tom Hiddleston, Taylor Lautner or even Karlie Kloss. Whoever this song is or isn’t about, I still wished that the song could have been better executed in the long run. 

Question…?

CC: I absolutely loved the beat and background vocals on “Question…?” I feel like this is an underrated song on this album so far. I really enjoyed the whole vibe of this song. It felt emotional but still upbeat, with the lyrics and the beat. I think the background vocals really helped elevate Swift’s main vocals. I love how the lyrics “Can I ask you a question?” repeats over and over, I think it makes this song super catchy. Overall, I really enjoyed this song and thought Swift and Antonoff did a fantastic job on “Question…?”

AS: “Question…?” begins with “I remember” to the same beat of Swift’s song “Out of the Woods” from “1989.” Immediately, I had thought that this song could potentially be about Swift’s ex-boyfriend Harry Styles, whom the song “Out of the Woods” is about. The overall vibe of the song kind of gives off the vibes of maybe “folklore” or even “reputation” which was very refreshing, but all this song made me want was a “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

Vigilante Shit

CC: “Vigilante Shit” was an amazing song, I felt like I was back in 2017 listening to “reputation,” one of Swift’s previous albums. From the electronic beat to the sassy feel of each line of lyrics, this song just felt like it was Swift showing off her more confident side. The line “Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge” was such a power move for Swift. “Vigilante Shit” is definitely a top song on this album for me. 

AS: “Vigilante Shit” definitely brought me back to Swift’s “reputation” era, and the song’s vibe gave exactly that. I initially had thought that the song was just simply Swift taking a stab at Scooter Braun, the man who bought the master rights to Swift’s older albums, but fans theorize that the song is actually about Swift giving Braun’s wife proof that he was cheating on her; which only made me love this song even more since that was such a baddie move by Swift. 

Bejeweled

CC: This song “Bejeweled,” much like “Maroon,” felt very dreamy to me. I loved how Swift’s voice faded out into the background. I love the sparkly sound effects in the background that add on to the title “Bejeweled” and onto lines like “I can still make the whole place shimmer.” I think this song is one of the more happier and upbeat songs on the album, which I feel doesn’t really go with the vibe of the album. I still really enjoy this song and think its a very cute song definitely made for pop radio

AS: “Bejeweled” had a very nice and aesthetically pleasing vibe to it, but I did struggle trying to decipher what this song was about unlike the others on this album. Fans think that this song is about Swift’s ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris, but I struggle to see exactly how this song speaks on Harris and Swift’s past relationship. Overall, I liked the beat this song had and although I don’t exactly understand its meaning, it’s still a good track to stand on its own. 

Labyrinth

CC: After following the song “Bejeweled,” “Labyrinth” felt more sad and emotional. It was more mellow and slow tempo which is completely different from “Bejeweled.” This song didn’t really feel all that special to me. Again, Swift used heavy edits on her voice in certain parts of the song which is not my favorite. The song just felt repetitive and kind of like a filler song to me. I did however enjoy the background vocals which I feel added a lot to the song. 

AS: “Labyrinth” is hands down one of my favorite tracks on the album. Swift uses “Labyrinth” as a means of describing the feelings she has as she gradually falls in love. Fans feel the initial anxiety Swift has when she starts off in a new relationship all the way to the relief she feels after realizing the relationship was a success. The composition and lyrics of this song are what really tie this piece together. 

Karma

CC: After Swift released the names of the songs prior to the album release, just by the track title I was excited to see how this song would go. I think all of Swift’s fans know who this song is alluding to. I really loved the tempo of this song, I also really enjoyed the lyrics which made the song feel like Swift’s revenge song. I think she played this song out very well. I loved the repetitiveness of the lyric “karma” throughout the song. I think this is definitely my favorite song on the album. 

AS: Knowing that the title for this track is “Karma,” one would think that this song would be a diss track of some sort. Although it’s not explicitly said in the song, one would think that this song is once again about Swift’s past feuds with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, but the details in that theory get a little murky. Either way, this song also brought me back to Swift’s “reputation” era, which is something I definitely appreciated. 

Sweet Nothing

CC: After listening to “Sweet Nothing” I think this song should have definitely come after “Labyrinth” in the album order. I think following a song like “Karma” this song definitely feels more boring. This song is more mellow, and after following such an upbeat song it almost makes me want to skip it. I do like how quiet and sweet Swift’s voice sounds and I like the instrumentals in the background which adds on to the mellow vibe of the song. 

AS: “Sweet Nothing” is a song that I can only describe as… fluffy so to speak. The song references moments of intimacy one might experience in a relationship, hence, the somewhat “fluffiness” the song evokes. Lyrics like “Outside they’re push and shoving/You’re in the kitchen humming/I find myself running home to your/Sweet nothings” kind of show the fluffiness I feel from this song. 

Mastermind

CC: Track 13, “Mastermind”, was a perfect send off to the whole “Midnights” album. The song was more upbeat than “Sweet Nothings” but still has a pretty mellow and repetitive beat in the background. I think this song is about her current relationship. The song has a more happy tone to it compared to the last song. I loved Swift’s vocals on this song and I loved the whole song in general. “Mastermind” was the perfect song to end off a fantastic album. 

AS: While the song begins with a very bubbly mix of sounds, “Mastermind” takes on the topic of how various critics see Swift as a manipulative mastermind due to the immense amount of short relationships she’s had. Lyrics like “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid/So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since” show how Swift is almost embracing the narrative of her being somewhat of a mastermind when it comes to relationships.

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