Taylor Swift has released her dream-like 10th studio album, Midnights, a 13-track album compiled of songs exploring untold stories from nights of Swift’s life. After months of speculation and examining all of Swift’s posts for easter eggs and clues, Swifties around the world can finally hear the record they have long awaited. Returning to more of a pop sound after leaning in more of an indie-folk direction with her previous non-re-recorded albums Folklore, and Evermore, Midnights is full of electronic pop, atmospheric synth, and of course Swift’s incredible vocals. The album is produced and mostly co-written by Jack Antonoff, a longtime friend of Swift who has an iconic and recognisable sound of his own, boasts an impressive clientele, and seems to be a part of every big music project released recently. With only one collaboration on this album on the fourth track, Snow On The Beach, Lana Del Rey’s ethereal voice perfectly fits the essence and beautiful melody of the song.
The opening track of the album Lavender Haze is catchy, wavy synth-filled and dance-worthy. The song addresses the feeling of being in a love-filled relationship but also facing misogyny and unwanted opinions, not only from the music industry but the public eye. “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say / No deal / The 1950’s sh*t they want from me.” Lavender Haze is a great opening track; when talking about the theme of the song, Swift said on her Instagram “I think a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just ‘public figures’, because we live in an era of social media. If the world finds out you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it.”
Anti-hero is one of my personal favourite tracks on the album, and Swift says it is one of her favourite songs she has ever written. With its surreal, darker-than-usual lyrics, Anti-hero is somehow both heartbreaking and humorous. “I have this dream my daughter-in-law kills me for the money / She thinks I left them in the will / The family gathers ‘round and reads it / And then someone screams out / “She’s laughing up at us from hell!”. The chorus then launches into an exhaustive confession of “It’s me, hi / I’m the problem, it’s me.”
It’s difficult for hardcore fans like myself not to speculate which songs connect to which periods of Swift’s life, especially when there are so many clues and references dotted throughout all the tracks. In the fifth track of the album, You’re On Your Own, Kid, there’s a sense of nostalgia and longing that can only be experienced in your teenage years. The lyrics describe not feeling good enough in your body, feeling stuck in your hometown, and include a reference to Stephen King’s character Carrie: “I looked around in a blood-soaked gown.” Swift manages to transport us to another time somewhere in the early 2000s through a soft beat that ultimately ends in a more alternative-sounding frenzy – much like the ups and downs of early adulthood. As always, Swift surprised fans once again by releasing an extra seven tracks for an expanded version of the album, titled Midnights (3 am Edition). The expanded version includes some of my top tracks from the album as a whole: Bigger Than The Whole Sky, and Would’ve, Could’ve Should’ve. Midnights is looking to be one of the year’s top albums, with an extensive marketing campaign and 4 separate editions of the album available as vinyls and CDs, which cleverly make a clock when put together as a set. I expect to see Midnights hanging around the top of the charts for the foreseeable future, with its confident, mature lyrics, and attention-grabbing melodies, Swift’s 10th album is looking to be another major success. You never know what to expect from Taylor Swift (which is very much part of the fun), but after 16 years in the game and a huge UK tour seemingly on the horizon, Swift is certainly a name we will not stop hearing about anytime soon.