Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album review

Overall, “Midnights” felt like a mashup of every single Taylor Swift album.

Caroline Darr

Overall, “Midnights” felt like a mashup of every single Taylor Swift album.


I’m sure I’m not the only self-proclaimed “Swiftie” losing their mind the night of the VMA’s when Taylor Swift announced she would release her 10th studio album, Midnights, on Oct. 21. On the night of the release, I contributed to the Spotify traffic and streamed the anticipated album. Here is my honest review.

Track one: “Lavender Haze”

An enchanting opening track to the album, and proof Swift is returning to her traditional pop sound. This track felt like a party to me. I found myself nodding along and tapping my foot to the beat and drums. The track made me want to get up and dance around my room, something she never fails to make me do. I felt the lyrics were relatable to the honeymoon phase of a relationship we never want to leave, “I just wanna stay in that lavender haze” makes me feel happy and move my head along with the rhythm. 

Track two: “Maroon”

The title immediately made me think of the album “Red” which made me think it would be a break up song. But, when the song appeared to follow the rosy meeting of a lover and the problems that came with the relationship. “Maroon” feels like a reminder of Swift’s wine-filled New York days and parties. If “Red” is passion, love, anger and burning hot, maroon is a mature version of these emotions. The entirety of the chorus, fast and catchy is by far one of the best on the albums, painting a full and emotional visual that I sing along to every time. 

Track three: “Anti-Hero

This is by far one of my favorite tracks. The first lyric, “I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser,” is encapsulating to the ears and incredibly relatable. Swift uses age as a tool in her songwriting often, singing about growing up and all the pain and  happiness that comes with it. The pop beat and rather sad, cerebral lyrics are recurring in this track. This album feels like “1989” sound wise. “Anti-Hero” is incredibly vulnerable with beautiful lyrics paired with it. It’s a very Swift track, able to make the audience feel seen and find themselves in it. To me, this track is about feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety. 

[Lavender Haze] made me want to get up and dance around my room, something she never fails to make me do.

Track four: “Snow On The Beach”

I was very excited for this track specifically because of the Lana Del Rey feature. And while I can hear her work in the chorus, I feel like the pair of the two artists was not utilized at all, and Lana should have had more in the track, particularly a verse of her own. I love the image of snow on the beach, something rare, beautiful, and never seen before. The track has a romantic sound to it, the breathy voices and a gentle tune create that effect.

Track five: “You’re On Your Own, Kid”

The title, like “Maroon,” reminds me of a prior work of hers, “Lucky One,” which is about the dark side of fame and wanting to escape it all. It feels like what she left behind for fame, with a mixture of young love, like in “Cardigan.” I love the beat and how her voice moves to her high range in this song, it is so incredibly beautiful, because when Swift uses her high range, it can create this almost innocent and tender feel. As I listened I felt a strong wave of nostalgia, the song reminded me heavily of summer and friendship. As well, the song feels like a romance we get caught up in. A common Swift motif. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is one of my favorite songs from the album. There is so much emotion loaded in each lyric, I spent hours deciphering each one. 

Track six: “Midnight Rain”

In the intro there Swift’s voice is edited to synth, and I strongly dislike the use of it. But then it shifts into lyrics that immediately caught my attention. “My town was a wasteland,” which feels like that feeling of wanting to escape your hometown and never look back, an incredibly empathetic feeling that Swift perfectly illustrates. I think this is another song about what she left behind for fame, and she feels haunted by it. The idea of ghosts is Swift’s artistic framing of memories. The lyrics feel reminiscent of “Dorthea” or “Tis’ The Damn Season,” a sad concept she continues to return to, just in a pop genre this time.

There is so much emotion loaded in each lyric, I spent hours deciphering each one. 

Track seven: “Question…?”

I like the overall sound. And this track does not break the streak. “Question…?” had me looking up the lyrics so I could sing along. And once again, I found lyrics that didn’t paint a happy picture, “The “I Remember” sample from “Out Of The Woods” in the beginning  of the song was super surprising and made me ecstatic for the rest of the song. Now when I listen to this song, I scream the chorus and actually find myself getting emotional, even though I have never experienced what is talked about in the song. 

Track eight: “Vigilante Shit”

Okay, I’m going to be talking about this song until the end of time. For starters, Swift wrote this track all on her own, and I can just picture her sitting up in her bed at midnight, furiously writing. This song is a true “Reputation” song. Per se, “I Did Something Bad.” A true revenge fantasy, this has to have been during the 2016-2017 downfall of Swift. She perfected the angsty, dark pop sound and I am here for it. I’ve noticed Swift has a continuous habit of using lyrics that weaponize her femininity, “Draw a cat eye sharp enough to kill a man.” Take whatever you want from that line but it is an amazing opening lyric to revenge track. 

Track nine: “Bejeweled”

This track, at least to me, feels like a pop song that a robot would spit out if you fed it some of the most famous songs. I feel like this was written in a rush. The lyric “I miss you, but I miss sparkling” seems like something a 10 year old girl would write and reminds me a bit too strongly of “ME!”. I think “Bejeweled” is a very juvenile take on “Mirrorball,” which is a true masterpiece, and this track does not hold a candle to it. “Bejeweled” is a cute song to play in the car with your friends, or dance to in your room, not to actually take it seriously.  

Okay, I’m going to be talking about this song until the end of time.

Track 10: “Labyrinth”

Immediately, there is an ear catching, dreamy, pop-sound that is almost “Folklore”-ish with Swift’s singing. Then I heard the synth voice towards the end of the song, and it ruined it for me. I love the concept of this song which is love saving her partner. She uses the metaphor of a plane crashing to show that. “I thought this  plane was going down. How’d you turn it right around?” A labyrinth is a maze, and for a song titled “Labyrinth,” I don’t think that the meaning that word carries was translated well through the lyrics at all. My favorite lyric is “I’ll be getting over you my whole life,” which just like in “You’re On your Own, Kid” evokes nostalgia in me. 

Track 11: “Karma”

A kinder version of a classic “Reputation” revenge fantasy. “Karma” is a concept Swift has used often and now there’s finally a whole song about it. I was actually laughing at the chorus and the lyric, “karma is a cat, purring in my lap cause it loves me.” It is just so Swift to add a lyric about her cat, and really adds to the light-hearted, not-a-care-in-the-world feel. It makes me imagine this track as a more mature version of “Mean” from her debut album. 

Track 12: “Sweet Nothing”

The piano intro is a nice break from the prominent synth and beat heavy tunes that have defined the entire album. The melody, sweet and delicate, reminds me of “New Years Eve.” The “oohs” that start shortly after the first couple lyrics, are a cool effect. This track feels like the love we all want to experience, where your partner is your escape from the harsh world outside. A very romantic and rosy idea that is also used very nicely in “The Lakes” from “Folklore.” When I listen to this song (which is quite often) I imagine dancing in the kitchen with your lover, and a montage of the happiest moment in a relationship. To Swift, her love is not demanding or prying. Love is “Sweet Nothing.” No expectations, just love and connection. 

It is just so Swift to add a lyric about her cat, and really adds to the light-hearted, not-a-care-in-the-world feel.

Track 13: “Mastermind”

Now, this track is interesting to me because Swift paints herself as a mastermind; calculating and logical. I don’t know if I’m supposed to root for her or view her negatively.  The lyrics: “What if I told you none of it was accidental? And the first time you saw me, nothing was gonna stop me,” are what led me to wonder how Swift was attempting to appear to her audience.  The energy of the song is contrary to how Swift usually sings about love, accidental and non expecting. This is how love is sung about in “Invisible String” which makes me wonder now if she also orchestrated that song, and it wasn’t really a beautiful coincidence.  

Overall, “Midnights” felt like a mashup of every single Taylor Swift album. I continuously noticed parallel lyricism and concepts from prior albums. It didn’t feel tacky, but more of a nice homage to her prior work. I was pleased with Swift going back to her pop sound, but some parts felt undeveloped and chaotic. Regardless, the sound is atmospheric and consistent. There is a confidence in the song writing on this album, like Swift is no longer writing to please every single critic and have only good reviews, but rather to please herself. “Midnights” is an incredibly unique concept. 13 sleepless nights, and to write about something that has not been seen before. I feel like only Swift would create and execute “Midnights” in the way she did, and left me wondering about my own life, and what keeps me up at night. The lyricism of “Folklore” and “Evermore,” the synth and 80s glamor of “1989” and the beautiful bridges that have littered every Taylor Swift album were very clearly heard and felt during “Midnights.”