What keeps Taylor Swift up at night: A “Midnights” album review

Positive, negative or in-between—what keeps you up at night? 

Whatever your answer may be, Taylor Swift understands. A listen to “Midnights,” her newest album, will perfectly put those late-night thoughts into words.

Released Oct. 21, “Midnights” has 13 tracks, and its deluxe edition, “Midnights (3am Edition),” contains an additional seven, according to Spotify

Just one week after the release of Swift’s tenth studio album, the artist has broken records and made history beyond comparison, with “Midnights” becoming 2022’s best selling album, according to a Nov. 4 article from The Tab

The Billboard Hot 100 song chart is currently being taken over by the album, with every spot on the Top 10 being occupied by tracks from “Midnights,” according to the article.

“Midnights” has also broken several streaming records, becoming the most streamed album within 24 hours, at 184.6 million streams as of Nov. 6, according to an Oct. 27 Billboard article.

The album has received extremely high critical acclaim, and the record-breaking success that Swift has achieved proves “Midnights” is a musical masterpiece. So, what makes the album so incredible?

Firstly, the lyricism is pure genius. The range of themes she reflects on in the songs is vast, and she is able to put ideas into words that perfectly match the indescribable emotions being discussed. 

Secondly, the musical production and melodic composition of the songs is flawlessly in alignment with those lyrics. The mirroring of feeling with musical elements and lyricism is what makes good music, and Swift effortlessly executes that ideal balance.

The album is classified under the genre of pop, with catchy melodies, technologically created instruments and chill beats. However, its surreal and ethereal atmosphere gives it a distinctive style. It is dreamy, fitting the feelings and emotions that come up in the middle of the night. 

The style of “Midnights” is truly the definition of a spiritual-awakening, soul-leaves-body, transcending-into-the-heavens moment. It has hazy beats, subdued but technicolor chords and dramatic reverb that gives it an otherworldly and divine ambiance.

Beyond the musical elements, the lyrics delve into profound ideas, reflecting on both positive and negative experiences. Emotions are broad and unfathomable, and the truth is, no words can describe any deep emotion adequately. However, Swift’s lyrics may be the closest-to-accurate depiction of human emotion there is.

The third track on the album is “Anti-Hero.” Before its release as the lead single, Swift posted a video on Instagram discussing the song, saying it’s one of her favorite songs she’s ever written and that it’s the deepest she’s delved into her insecurities in the most detail in her music. 

In the video, she says, “I struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person.” The song reflects on the theme of self-loathing, with a central lyric being “it’s me, hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.” 

This motif of antagonism continues in a different perspective on songs like “Karma” and “Vigilante Shit,” where Swift discusses revenge as a power if used properly.

Swift’s lyrics also reflect on themes of societal expectations, defying conventional ideals projected by the public. “Lavender Haze,” “Paris” and “Sweet Nothing” describe the feeling of falling in love with the often negative input of the public. 

Themes of being in love continue on songs such as “Snow on the Beach,” “Glitch” and “Labyrinth.” These songs have a surreal vibe that fits the dreamlike intensity of being in love.

In contrast, the album also contains songs that reflect on disparities in love like heartbreak, including “Maroon,” “Midnight Rain,” “Bejeweled,” “The Great War,” “Question…?,” “High Infidelity” and my personal favorite, “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.” 

These songs tend to have a more emotional feel and intense production that mirrors those intense lyrics, magnifying emotions in a way unlike anything I’ve ever heard. 

Her songs “Mastermind,” “Dear Reader” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid” are some of the highlights in terms of themes in the lyrics. They offer unique perspectives into how she views her career, giving insight that I find truly fascinating.

Overall, “Midnights” is a unique album marking a new era of Taylor Swift, and in all honesty, I have not stopped listening to it since it came out. The clever and thoughtful lyricism and paradisiacal musical production will forever be what keeps me up at night.