Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, “Midnights,” is the singer-songwriter’s first entirely new body of work since the release of both “folklore” and “evermore” in 2020. “Midnights” is a concept album revolving around the idea of, well, midnights, with the album’s main inspiration coming from 13 sleepless nights throughout Swift’s life. As each song relates to a different sleepless night, there isn’t truly an overarching theme of the album — instead, each song explores different themes on thoughts that we have when sleepless at midnight. The album does have a consistent throughline that explores ideas of self-criticism, self-assurance, insecurity, and anxiety, which helps engage the listener with its new soundscape.
All true Swifties know that with each album comes a new era of Taylor Swift, and the “Midnights” era is no different. “Midnights” shakes off the alternative-folk sad-girl era of “folklore” and “evermore” and ushers in a more electronic-pop sound. “Midnights” experiments with electronica and synth-pop, giving the album a more electric sound and vibe more akin to “1989” and “Reputation,” while also standing out from the rest of Swift’s extensive discography.
Lyrically, the album draws influence from Swift’s previous works but stands out as the culmination of Swift’s nearly 20 years of songwriting. The album features a lot of cryptic, confessional lyrics while also making use of references and metaphors. There has been some debate over the awkwardness of some of the lyrics, specifically in “Anti-Hero,” the lead single of the album. The main lyric that has left many scratching their heads is this: “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby / And I’m a monster on the hill.” To be fair, at first glance these lyrics do feel a tad quirky but, in my opinion, the girlies who get it, get it, and the girlies who don’t, don’t. For the girlies who want to get it, the lyrics can be interpreted as a critique of the male gaze and how youthfulness is viewed as attractive, and as a consequence the feeling of being monstrous as one ages. “Midnights” truly stands out as a masterclass in songwriting.
Every song on “Midnights” stands out to the point that it feels wrong to distinguish any one of them as a standout track when they all serve in their own way. “Midnights” is a masterfully created album that helps to reinforce Swift’s popstar status and that she really is “that girl.” It is an amazing concept album that perfectly captures the tone of its inspiration, and the album speaks for itself when it comes to its success. “Midnights” broke the Spotify record for the most single-day streams for an album and became the fastest-selling album in the United States, a record previously held by Swift’s album “Reputation.” The album also had the largest vinyl sales week of the entire 21st century. Truly, “Midnights” is just another step in Taylor’s star-studded discography and further solidifies her position as one of the best musical minds of our lifetimes.