• Home

Taylor Swift – Midnights

Taylor Swift – Midnights

Album review by: Lindsay Carson

In both the 5th and 6th grade, I decided to participate in my school talent show by singing Taylor Swift songs and pretending like I was a popstar myself. That’s why, like most long time Taylor Swift fans, there was nothing that was going to stop me from meeting the eleven-time Grammy award winner at midnight on October 21st, which is when she released her 10th studio album Midnights. While trying to convince my best friend to listen to this new album, she told me she felt like I had an encyclopedic knowledge of Taylor Swift’s discography, and that ego boost made me feel like I am qualified to write an analyzation and review of all of the songs on Midnights. So, I did.

Lavender Haze: The first song on Midnights is a reminder that celebrity’s lives aren’t all glamour and glitz. They have to deal with people who have likely never met them
making up rumors about them. In this song, Taylor Swift sings about rumors surrounding her love life. She addresses the way people ask her and Joe Alwin when they’re going to get married and the likes of that, but she just wants to stay in the Lavender Haze of all-encompassing love. Forget the rumors, forget the haters, and just focus on love. It’s not my favorite of the love songs on this album because it’s not something I can relate to, but I still absolutely adore it.

Maroon: This is a song about a lost love being burned into Taylor’s memory. Perhaps because of ‘what could’ve beens.’ Not only that, but significant memories stick with you, even if you’re happier now, which is something I believe to be a recurring theme throughout this album. This song could be about Jake Gyllenhaal because it is heavily implied that her album Red is about him, and now her thoughts of him have turned to a darker shade. Loving him was red, but now it’s maroon. But that’s just my speculation on what it’s about, and perhaps why it’s not one I’ve found stuck in my head. I try not to think too much about Jake Gyllenhaal, he freaked me out in Nightcrawler. While I think the lyrics to this song are so beautifully written, it’s one of my least favorite songs on the album. Although even my least favorites are ones I wouldn’t skip if they came on shuffle.

Anti-Hero: This song made me sad at first, especially when I heard the lyric “I’m the problem, it’s me” and thought about the media constantly blaming Taylor Swift for all of her failed relationships. Not to mention the jokes thrown around about her needing to write a song called “maybe I’m the problem.” At first listen, this song can seem like it’s about imposter syndrome or overthinking. I don’t think it’s uncommon to look at things going wrong in your life and believe you’re the problem. Perhaps you should’ve done something better. Plus, I think we all felt the weight of the opening lyrics: “I have this thing where I get older but never wiser.” It’s like the memes of “I don’t know how to adult.” She goes on to sing more about specific insecurities brought on by her fame, like her boyfriend getting tired of it all or her not being pretty enough. However, at its core, this song is about anxiety induced intrusive thoughts. I believe that’s what she really means by “I’m the problem, it’s me.” She means it’s her intrusive thoughts telling her everything is going to go wrong, she isn’t good enough, or she did something wrong when, in reality, she didn’t. I know I’ve dealt with the intrusive thought demon many times, which is why this song has slowly made its way up my tier list.

Snow On The Beach: In this song, Taylor Swift sings about being so wonderfully in love with someone, and the other person feeling the same way, and how it must just be a fantasy, like Snow On The Beach. It feels too good to be true, like the other shoe is bound to drop. But then she accepts that it is true. Regardless of how her anxiety may make her feel, the situation is real, and it is just so lovely. This is a song that is exactly what I like to hear. I could listen to this song on repeat for hours.

You’re on Your Own Kid: This song almost made me cry. It’s the lonely, feeling like no one gets you anthem. Another very human feeling I believe most people deal with at some point in their life. For Taylor Swift, it could be because she is a household name, something even people close to her might not be able to relate to with lyrics like “my friends from home don’t know what to say.” I imagine that also goes for romantic relationships and people not being able to handle the spotlight they’re put under while dating her. Moreover, it delves into the more specific struggles she’s dealt with being under the spotlight. “I gave my blood, sweat and tears for this. I hosted parties and starved my body.” She sings about the eating disorder she developed as a result of society pressuring women, especially women who are public figures, to look a certain way. That’s an issue that’s often stigmatized, so I’m happy to hear someone with such a huge platform bringing awareness to it. It seems Taylor has been through a lot, and no one can truly know what her experiences have been like except for her. This song will likely be tattooed on my heart for the way it temporarily broke it.

Midnight Rain: I believe Taylor Swift wrote this song about prioritizing her career over being in a comfortable relationship at one point in her life. Likely before she was famous, dating someone from her hometown. It seems she finds herself thinking about what could’ve happened if she did settle with this man from back home, making this another ‘what could’ve been’song. Not necessarily because she isn’t happy with her fame and current relationship, but I believe it’s only human to think of the ‘what could’ve beens.’ This song is an interesting one for me. It’s another that I don’t find myself going back to listen over and over again, but I do remember liking it when I did listen to it.

Question…?: This song was actually the first song I heard from this album, so I was hit with an F bomb very early on (but I can’t say I minded that). I believe it’s about having burning questions regarding things that happened in the past, the way people treated you, and desperately wanting closure you may not have gotten. “Did you wish you’d put up more of a fight, oh
When she said it was too much?“ is a lyric that stood out to me and the reason why I believe it’s a “do you ever think things could’ve ended differently too?” type of song. All that being said, I like this song, but it is towards the bottom of my tier list just because I liked others better.

Vigilante Shit: For starters, the amount of swearing on this album is an unfriendly reminder that both Taylor Swift and I have grown up a lot since she was writing lyrics like “all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” I think, as an adult, that has made this album more relatable to me. However, this song I don’t particularly relate to because I am not a “revenge” type of person. The good news is, I have many times screamed out lyrics I don’t relate to in the slightest and I can see myself doing that with this song. It has the drama of No Body, No Crime, but the screw you attitude of Look What You Made Me Do: two songs I’ve found myself playing on repeat in the past, so I’m sure I’ll do the same with this.

Bejeweled: Now this song has the bad bitch vibes that remind me of Taylor’s Reputation era. Taylor seems to go back and forth on this album about the highs and lows of being famous. This song is about the power it gives her and how that can be good because even if someone tries to bring her down, she’s still “bejeweled,” no one can take her success away from her. I’m a big fan of bad bitch anthems, so this one was definitely a hit for me!

Labyrinth: A recurring theme throughout the Taylor Swift albums that have come out in the past six years, is her anxiety about messing up her relationship with Joe Alwin. It’s only natural to feel that way after experiencing years of heartbreak, so of course she sings the words “uh oh” before “I’m falling in love again.” She also sings about being “lost in the labyrinth of my mind” because she’s an over-thinker, just like me. That could be why I’m such a fan of hers. Two lyrics from this song that I really like are “you would break your back to make me break a smile,” and “I thought the plane was goin’ down, how’d you turn it right around?” Because they made it clear to me, that despite Taylor’s nagging anxious thoughts, her boyfriend continues to assure her that they are just thoughts, and he still loves her. It’s very wholesome and I am a big fan of wholesomeness.

Karma: This song is yet another bad bitch anthem. It isn’t about bad karma like I expected when I read the title, but rather the good karma Taylor Swift has received despite it all. With the lyrics “Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend. Karma’s a relaxing thought. Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not? Sweet like honey, karma is a cat, purring in my lap cause it loves me. Flexing like a goddamn acrobat. Me and karma vibe like that.” Taylor is saying what we all fantasize about getting to say: you can hate on me all you want; I am happy in my life. I have received my good karma even if you think I don’t deserve it. I love that for her. This is another song that was a big hit for me.

Sweet Nothing: I can’t help but feel captivated by the story this song tells of a healthy relationship. One where you’re able to speak your fears without being judged. One where, no matter what’s going on, no matter what others are saying, you can go home to your partner and feel safe. This is all about a relationship being safe and comfortable, and what’s more beautiful than that? I might be biased because love songs are always my favorite, and Lover is my all-time favorite Taylor Swift album, but this song is top tier. It’s definitely my favorite song on the album.

Mastermind: “HER MIND!!!” – my first thought when hearing this song, mainly because of the title. This song is very interesting with the way she sings about her love story being brought to fruition by her when she has songs like Invisible String that spoke of fate. I, personally, think love is a mix of fate and your own doing. Fate can bring two people together, but it’s up to you to pursue a relationship. I believe Taylor is speaking about how, when she first saw Joe Alwin, it was love at first sight, so she pursued him. She starts the song by singing “once upon a time, the planets and the fates and the stars aligned. You and I ended up in the same room at the same time,” then she goes on to call herself the Mastermind of their love story, orchestrating every meeting after that. She says later in the song “I laid the ground and then saw a wide smirk on your face. You knew the entire time,” so the feeling was mutual. The song may paint Swift in a manipulative light, especially since she calls herself a Machiavellian, but I believe it’s just about how she heavily pursued Joe after their fated meeting, but he wanted her too. This song wasn’t my favorite at first, possibly because I listened to it at 1am and didn’t really think about the lyrics until I listened again after getting some sleep, but it’s definitely grown on me since I’ve began interpreting it the way I have… So, no one ruin it for me.

Th Great War: This song reminded me a lot of Afterglow, being about a big fight between lovers, but it felt a bit less wholesome than the one from the Lover album. Although, the lyrics “Always remember. Uh-huh, we’re burned for better. I vowed I would always be yours, ‘Cause we survived the Great War” remind me of the lyrics “I will hold on tighter ’til the afterglow
And we’ll burn so bright ’til the darkness softly clears.” They both seem to be about how horrible fights can be, but sometimes they help the relationship grow stronger, so you have to focus on the aftermath. I did quite enjoy it, not as much as others, but I could see myself wanting to listen to it when I’m in a certain state of mind.
High Infidelity: This song is Ivy and Illicit Affairs older sister being, of course, about cheating. This song specifically seems to be about cheating in a loveless, maybe even abusive marriage. I personally, don’t think Taylor is necessarily glorifying this kind of unhealthy relationship just by singing about it. I think she was writing this album from the perspective of a woman in her thirties who has seen all types of relationships, because she does seem to like to tell stories of all kinds with songs like the aforementioned Illicit affairs and Ivy as well as No Body, No Crime. However, this may be my least favorite song on the album. I don’t hate it, but I don’t see myself skipping other songs just to hear it.
Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve: After the ten-minute version of All Too Well came out, Jake Gyllenhaal became the object of all of the internet’s rage. I’m sure he let out a sigh of relief after this bonus track was released and everyone swiftly (pun intended) turned their keyboards towards John Mayer. Now, I am not someone who sends out hate on the internet and I tend to ignore any celebrity drama like this. But I fully support Taylor Swift singing about the trauma having a relationship with a 31-year-old when she was 19 gave her, and I gotta give her props for the cleverness of making this the 19th song on the album. The media has painted Taylor in a negative light for all the relationships she’s been in, often ignoring the other party involved. I consider that to be especially wrong in a situation like this. The media should’ve focused on the way she was groomed by this man. “And if I was some paint, did it splatter on a promising grown man? And if I was a child, did it matter if you got to wash your hands?” Hopefully lyrics like this help get the conversation going about this messed up, but not entirely uncommon, situation – especially in Hollywood.
Bigger Than The Whole Sky: This song is about the end of a love so grand; you thought it was a forever love. It’s very melancholic and Taylor once again wonders “what could’ve been,” singing those exact words in the chorus. Personally, I listen to sad songs very rarely, so this is another one that is lower on the tier list for me. That being said, I can recognize how therapeutic writing this must’ve been for Taylor, and I like songs where an artist pours their heart out. So, if I’m ever in the mood for a heartbreaking song, this will likely be my go-to.

Paris: In the age of social media, all relationships can be in the public eye to a degree. That’s something that has always been a turn off to me, so I understand Taylor expressing her desire to have a “privacy sign on the door” when it comes to her relationship. This song is all about tuning out the world and just being alone with your significant other. “Romance is not dead if you keep it just yours,” is a lyric that I’ve thought a lot about. Taylor has more of a spotlight on her than even other celebrities do, so I imagine that’s been hard on her relationships. She seems to have realized that keeping her relationship with Joe Alwin as private as possible was the answer to keeping the romance alive. I also believe in that notion. Refraining from posting about your three-year anniversary on Instagram and focusing on celebrating the success of your relationship alone together seems to be the healthier way to go. Despite really enjoying this song, it’s middle of the tier list for me, solely because I enjoyed others more.

Glitch: I may be alone on this, but this song reminded me of False God. That’s more so because of the musicality rather than the lyrics though. This song seems to be about Taylor finding herself with someone she never saw herself being involved with romantically, but because of her own self-doubt. “There must be a glitch,” how could she have possibly ended up with something this good? “A brief interruption, a slight malfunction, I’d go back to wanting dudes who give nothing. I thought we had no chance and that’s romance, let’s dance” to me, these lyrics are saying that she thought she could never have a relationship this nice last for so long. She thought it would be brief, then she’d go back to dating men who don’t really care about her. I also like how she ends that line with “let’s dance” because the beat of the song made me want to do that. I even ended up putting it on my workout playlist.

Dear Reader: I believe this song is not only about completely reinventing yourself if you feel like you need to, but also that you need to trust yourself. Maybe trusting in your ability to know when you need to change. It’s a bonus track, and the last on the album, so I think it’s a nice way to end the book. Especially since it seems to be a slight homage to the line “reader, I married him” from Jane Eyre. It does talk more about her self-doubt in the way that she says you shouldn’t follow her “you should find another guiding light,” but I also took that as her encouraging you to follow yourself more. My personal interpretation of this is that its warning listeners about the dangers of parasocial relationships. Taylor Swift is not perfect, she recognizes that, and she wants you to as well. Don’t blindly follow any celebrity. Instead, be your own guiding light. I thought this was the best song to end the album with. I adore this song, I really do.

If I had to come up with a different and longer name for this album, I’d call it “Taylor Swift Through the Years: An Anthology.” If you scroll through Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr you’ll see people comparing songs on this album to many of Swift’s past albums and I even did that throughout this review. That’s because it has many different themes those albums have followed, making it the perfect amalgamation of all of them. She sings of true love, heartbreak, insecurity, the memories that are burned into your brain, anxiety, and the difficulty of balancing the good and bad parts of fame. She delved deeper into stories we’ve heard, with such beautiful lyricism, and a more adult way than we heard before since she throws the F word around significantly more than in past albums. In summation, this album made me feel many things, and for that, I absolutely love it.

Share It!