First Impressions of Taylor Swift's album Midnights | Camille Duplechain
The clock is about to strike 12 and we have a LOT to cover, so let’s just jump into this album review, shall we?
The album Midnights kicks off with “Lavender Haze,” a poppy beat reminiscent of a 1989 era Swift. In this song, Swift asserts her freedom, independence, and carefree love. This shows one of three main sides we will see from Swift, a self-made woman who takes no shit and lives life playing by her own rules. In contrast, in the second track “Maroon,” Swift reflects on times the winds of love have swept her off her feet, leaving her unsettled, but so infatuated. This is just one of many songs on the album in which Swift reflects on a past love with mixed feelings. The third track “Anti-Hero” was also the track that kicked off the potential visual album coming our way. Here Swift reflects on her (dare I say) reputation and perceptions of herself that are so heavily influenced by the controversies the media so often entangles her in.
I’d say most of these songs can fit into one of three categories: a carefree confidence, a longing for love, or a battle with the plights of fame.
My personal favorite category would have to be the first: carefree confidence. The songs “Lavender Haze,” “Bejeweled,” “Karma,” and “Vigilante Shit” all encapsulate a sense of security. These upbeat tunes toy with themes of pulling yourself out of the clutches of those who have harmed you and getting revenge through success (or a divorce settlement). Karma is currently my go-to hype-up song: every time I hear it I just want to dance. If you're looking to add some fun to your pop playlist, go ahead and add these.
In the next category, Swift longs for love in the songs “Maroon,” “Snow On The Beach,” “Labyrinth,” “Question…?,” and “Sweet Nothing.” I have to say this group of songs kind of lags for me. “Maroon” and “Labyrinth” sound like songs I’ve already heard before and kind of fade into the background. The same goes for “Snow on the Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey),” the only featured track on the album.
Swift has a history of inviting super talented female singers to feature on tracks, but ends up only allowing them to sing background vocals (the males always get a verse somehow). We thought the pattern had been broken when Phoebe Bridgers joined Swift on “Nothing New” from Red (Taylor’s Version) and was given her very own verse. But Lana Del Rey was not awarded such an honor, and instead you can only kind of hear her hum in the background, which was a major disappointment. “Sweet Nothing” is the only song in this category that I really love. In this song Swift reveals just how loved and fulfilled she feels in her current relationship and you can really feel it. It is also now on my playlist for potential first dance songs at my wedding.
“Anti-Hero,” “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” “Midnight Rain,” and “Mastermind” are all self-critiques on Swift’s character. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” might be my favorite song on the album. In this song Swift realizes that at the end of the day all you really have is yourself, but also that maybe that’s all you really need–which is so true that it hurts. The intro to “Midnight Rain” was a bit of a jump scare for most people, but has since really grown on me. Swift sings “he wanted a bride, I was making my own name”, and as an independent woman I relate, even though I’m currently sitting on zero marriage proposals. While “Mastermind” really focuses on the planning she’s done to get together with her beau Joe Alwyn, I put it in this category because I truly think Swift is a business mastermind as well as a romantic one. Is she perfect? No. Has she made some poor decisions publicly? Yes. Has her music dominated pop culture in a way that made the release of Midnights a record-breaking international fanfare? Absolutely.
Overall, I think this is a really strong album. Like all albums, some songs get lost in the shuffle, but there are some real jewels that shine through. I think a lot of people were thinking we would get a third album to join Folklore and Evermore, but this was definitely not that, which led to some feelings of disappointment. But once you let go of that expectation, you can really let yourself get lost in the music and recognize that Midnights is anything but mid.
Midnights (3am Edition)
Oh yeah, and then she released the 3am tracks. I’m not going to get into them too much, but here are my first impressions:
“The Great War”: This is a true bop. It makes me want to pull a BTS and enlist.
“Bigger Than The Whole Sky”: There is always one song on Swift's albums that is a little too sad for me so I skip it. This one is that.
“Paris”: This sounds like a 1989 outtake. I didn’t necessarily need it in my life, but it’s cute.
“High Infidelity”: I like it, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why, which I think means I didn't like it that much.
“Glitch”: I expected for them to bring the synth in for a song named “Glitch” to give it that tech feel, but I guess they broke it while recording “Midnight Rain”.
“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”: If you know the J**n M*yer lore, this hits so hard. If you don’t, it's still a strong song and sticks out from the other 3am Edition tracks.
“Dear Reader”: I spent the whole song waiting for it to be over so the album would restart and I could listen to “Lavender Haze” again. Not for me.