Midnights Madness

By: Marlee Billiter

The announcement of Taylor Swift’s new album, Midnights came on August 29, 2022. The release date was set for–of course– midnight, October 21st. The main idea for this album was to navigate Taylor’s late hour anxieties. Speaking for all of us, same, girl. Same. The countdown was just as anxiety-inducing with Taylor increasing anticipation with recordings of her hauntings alongside Spotify. This was a very interesting feature Spotify added; while people went to Swift’s profile and looked at Midnights, they could see videos of her explaining the album with the countdown right below. This is the first time Spotify’s tied this feature into an upcoming album. Well, they chose the right artist because the day of the release Taylor Swift became Spotify’s most streamed album in a single day, and she broke the most-streamed artist in a single day in Spotify history. Not surprisingly, Taylor Swift swept the world away once again. 

As a big Taylor Swift fan myself, I awaited the moment with anxious anticipation. Despite being ridiculously tired the night of the 20th, I stayed up ‘til midnight. The track I was most excited for on the album was “Snow on the Beach,” a song with not only one American queen, but two. Lana Del Rey was rumored to play a part in the song, and, luckily, rumors were true. In Taylor’s message for SOTB, she announced, “ it’s about falling in love with someone at the same time as they’re falling in love with you. Sort of in this cataclysmic, fated moment, where you realize someone feels the exact same way that you feel, at the same moment, and you’re kind of looking around going like, ‘Is this real? Is this a dream?’” She sums this up as though you’re seeing snow on the beach, you don’t know if it’s really happening as it doesn’t seem real; nonetheless, it’s beautiful. Taylor stirred the excitement in me even more with this description. She hits the emotional side once again with a song so relatable it’s painful. And it has Lanaaaaaaaaaa. There were so many times in the past week I’d remember the song was coming out, and I’d physically jerk from excitement. I can’t count the times I turned to someone next to me and was just like, “Omg Lana and Taylor are making a song together.” Lies, you say? I have alibi’s for this statement. 

As a Taylor fan, she really hit me hard with Folklore. Every track of the album has something I can empathize with. It was truly depressing. To be fair, I love her other albums; Red was my first ever concert, and boy did I enjoy it. Folklore just came at the perfect time. Mental health and TSwift went hand in hand. With Midnights, I was expecting a similar vibe to Folklore and Evermore, so I happened to be a little disappointed with it.

Taylor took a route like 1989–it’s pop with her own depressing spin to it. Lyrics were, of course, right on target. For example, on the track “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” Taylor says, “I didn’t choose this town I dream of getting out.” UGH. Yeah. Lyrics like this are great, but I feel like it’s also very simplistic. I like music that makes me think; I have to go in depth to understand what the artist is trying to portray. Taylor had excellent lyricism in Folklore. The kind of lyricism that’s deathly to those who understand. One of my favorites on the album, ‘this is me trying,’ destroys me with, “I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere. Fell behind on my classmates, and I ended up here.” There’s so much to indulge in here. There’s depth to this line that almost feels grimy when the concept’s grasped. There weren’t many times in Midnights where I felt the complexity of lyricism that Taylor’s used in the past. My unquenchable desire for heart wrenching lyrics was unfortunately unsatisfied. 

And now time for another big let down: “Snow On The Beach.” It’s not a bad song, let’s say that first, but there was not a single verse from Lana. She was put on back vocals. BACK. VOCALS. Despite the song sounding good with Taylor, you cannot get a nation of depressed teenage girls excited for a song consisting of two of their greatest femme heroes and then not deliver a single line. Lana sounded beautiful, as always, but the disappointment that overwhelmed me–still does–is irrefutable. After listening to it a couple times, I see its potential. It’s safe to say I got my hopes up which ultimately made the initial listening unpleasurable. I’m sure once I get over the fact that Lana was practically silenced, I’ll think it’s great.

Everything I’m saying is subjective. I do not expect other people to share the same opinions as me. Midnights was simply not my style. I think it had a millennial sound to it, and I wasn’t the biggest fan. I loved 1989 and Reputation because I was growing up on them. The vibe of those songs grew on me at a young age. Lover was iffy for the fact that I thought it sounded too pop–some songs are exceptions–and I’m feeling that again with her latest release. This is also coming from someone who listens to Deftones and Radiohead religiously so maybe my tastes have changed, but I’m used to almost perfectly curated music that fits my every mood. That was sarcasm–no it wasn’t. 

Despite the let down of this album, I still adore Taylor and the inspiring messages she continues to uphold. She is, by far, one of the most influential women of the 2000’s.

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