Album review: Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”

Payton Anderson, Senior Staff Writer

Following her latest album, “Folklore,” in 2020, Taylor Swift released “Midnights” Friday at 12 a.m. and a bonus version “Midnights (3 a.m. Edition)” at 3 a.m. that same night. “Midnights” has a different style than her earlier music, as it features an upbeat and fun set of 20 tracks. (Photo: Beth Garrabrant)

“Midnights,” Taylor Swift’s 10th album, perfectly encapsulates the late-night thoughts that have kept us up until, well, midnight. Through her thought-provoking lyrics and catchy beats, “Midnights” is guaranteed to keep you wide awake well past when the clock strikes 12.

After re-recording her fourth album, “Red,” to regain the rights over her music previously recorded under Big Machine Records, Swift released “Midnights” and a music video for her new song, “Anti-Hero,” at midnight on Friday. Swift also released an addition to the album, “Midnights (3 a.m. Edition)” at 3 a.m. that included seven more songs.

When Swift announced the pending release of “Midnights” on Aug. 28, she detailed how the album would include 13 songs from 13 “sleep-less nights.” According to Swift’s album announcement, these songs reflect different points in her life.

The album title “Midnights” reflects how each song was written in the middle of the night when most are kept awake by their worries and deepest thoughts. Similarly, her music video and song “Anti-Hero” visually embodies what this album is meant to do — address some of her most difficult struggles as an artist as well as a person. 

In total, Swift released 20 new songs, seven of which were especially notable.

“Lavender Haze”

“Lavender Haze” delivers as the opening to Swift’s album. With an upbeat, techno-style beat, Swift mirrors her previous song style from her “Lover” album. 

The lyrics and vocals over the track deliver a thumping, hard-hitting effect. “Lavender Haze” is an electric, dance-inducing song that I enjoyed at first listen. Opening with this song rather than a slower track introduces “Midnights” as the intense experience that it is. 


The third track on “Midnights,” Anti-Hero was one of the most anticipated songs of this album. Prior to its release, Swift stated that this was going to be her deepest, most vulnerable song yet. 

This claim misled some of her fans, including myself, to think this song was going to be Swift’s classic, slow, sad melody. Instead, we are met with an upbeat track but lyrics that fit the original expectations of a sadder ballad. 

In the chorus, Swift sings, “Hi, it’s me. I’m the problem, it’s me,” reflecting the anxiety many of us feel in social situations where we are unsure whether we belong. The depth of Swift’s lyrics like, “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror,” accurately and poetically express the feelings of insecurity we all face.

“Snow on the Beach (ft. Lana Del Rey)” 

This song was arguably one of the most anticipated on Swift’s album. Because this song features another artist, I expected this song to mirror her song with Pheobe Bridgers from “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” in which Bridgers had an entire verse to herself. Instead, Rey is only featured on the background vocals.  

Despite this, the song itself consists of bare vocals from Swift, with lyrics that Swift stated reflect the experience of falling in love with someone while they are also falling in love with you. This sweet sensation is similar to “snow on the beach,” something so rare and beautiful that many don’t get to witness for themselves. 

The soft vocals and heart-warming message behind Swift’s lyrics work to produce a beautiful song that has grown to become one of my favorites, despite the let-down of Rey’s feature.  

“You’re On Your Own, Kid”

As a senior in high school, I felt this song’s message deeply. Swift, now matured, reflects on the career she’s pursued since she was 16. Although the beat and instrumentals on this song feel quite basic, the lyrics make up for it. 

Swift, known for the lyricism in her bridges, sings, “So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it. You’ve got no reason to be afraid,” reminding every young adult to savor the moments they have now because soon enough we will all be grown.   

Facing the stress of fame from a young age, Swift uses her experience to create a song that we all can relate to. No one likes growing up, and this song puts those feelings of fear, regret, and nostalgia into a perfectly curated melody. 

“Vigilante S**t” and “Karma”

Following the soft, sweet songs that introduced “Midnights,” “Vigilante S**t” and “Karma” contradict those precedents. Similar to her songs on “Reputation,” these two songs make me feel empowered. With compelling lyrics and catchy beats that coincide, they are simply fun. 

“Karma,” especially, goes against the doubts we’ve all had about ourselves, and the aggressive introductory line of “Vigilante S**t,” “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man,” makes it feel as though Swift is projecting her confidence onto her listeners. 

Although “Karma” and “Vigilante S**t” lack the deeper meaning that many fans of Swift look forward to analyzing, the effect they have is still impactful. Danceable and eccentric, these two songs are outliers from the rest of the album — but in the best way possible. 

“Bigger Than the Whole Sky”

This song was one of the seven bonus tracks on “Midnights (3 a.m. Edition).” Of the original 13 tracks, it felt as though we never got the heart-felt, slow ballad songs Swift is truly known for. However, this bonus track along with “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” fills this gap. 

This track sounds like some of Swift’s older songs, being one of the only songs on “Midnights” that includes isolated vocals. This song truly showcases the musical talent Swift has, but it was only released as a bonus track. If it were on the original release of “Midnights,” it could’ve made up for the lack of slower, more powerful ballads in the original version of Swift’s album.  

“Midnights” is explosive and exciting, something that contrasts greatly with Swift’s past two albums “Folklore” and “Evermore.” “Midnights” is a stadium album, meant to be heard live and played as loud as possible. This album, with only a few mis-hits, is simply another example of how Swift continues to produce music part of a dynamic and relatable discography you can’t help but love.