Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ awakens self-expression

After a year of releasing remade albums, Taylor Swift released Midnights, a new album of fresh music, on Oct. 21.  

Swift’s motive for creating the album was to showcase songs based on the things that would keep her up at night: self-loathing, dreaming about revenge, wondering about what might have been in the past, falling in love, and falling apart, according to her introduction on Spotify.  

A few days after its release, I gave Midnights a listen. I have been a huge fan of Swift since she released “Teardrops on My Guitar” back when she first started her career.  

When I heard about this new album from friends, I was expecting this to be like Folklore (2020) and Evermore (2020) with its soulful, whimsical styles, but my expectations were shattered.  

Instead, it followed the styles of Reputation (2017) and a more intense version of Lover (2019). The lyrics were powerful and poetic, containing vivid language of self-expression. 

The first two songs are “Lavender Haze” and “Maroon.” These two songs contrast greatly with each other. “Lavender Haze” is an edgy pop song with heavy synth, while “Maroon” is a lighter, softer tune that reminiscences an old memory. 

“Anti-Hero” follows next on the album. This was one of my favorites. It followed Swift’s signature storytelling lyrics accompanied by a classic pop soundtrack with dynamic background vocals. 

“Snow on the Beach,” a collaboration with Lana Del Rey, touches base with the ethereal styles of Folklore and Evermore. Softer voices paired well with the gentle, flowing melody to paint an ironic painting of snow on the beach. 

“You’re on Your Own, Kid” is a chill combination of pop and rock. It recalls times when Swift felt like people were leaving her to figure out things all alone without help, which is a theme that many people can relate to. This reminded me of “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” from Lover. 

“Midnight Rain” reflects modern hip-hop accompanied with 80s synthesizer and robotic harmony. The lyrics are very descriptive and capture the essence and overall theme of the album with the recurring “midnight” motif. 

“Vigilante [explicit]” reflects Reputation in many ways, but it was completely rogue and brash, compared to the radio-friendly material present in Reputation. The lyrics were super edgy, dark, and full of profanities. I was not impressed with this one at all. 

“Bejeweled” is my favorite song on the album. I adored the sparkling synths and the 80s pop vibe heard throughout. It is a very upbeat and uplifting song that can brighten anyone’s mood. The self-confident, empowering message shows that Swift truly does leave a little sparkle wherever she goes.  

The following songs, “Labyrinth” and “Karma” are pretty standard in terms of style and lyrics. “Labyrinth” is another one of the gentler songs on the album, but it is not as impressive as some of the other songs of the album. “Karma” takes on the style of the standard bubble-gum pop song, but it is very catchy, upbeat, and positive.  

“Sweet Nothing” is the song that stands out from the rest in a great way. Instead of the 80s pop style heard in most of these songs on the album, this one follows the styles of the late 60s and early 70s rock with electric piano and brass sounds, soulful vocals, and a laid-back vibe. 

The album wraps up with “Mastermind,” which takes on Swift’s signature style. This song greatly expresses how Swift sees herself in the world: a powerful, creative, and sometimes manipulative artist who is always in control.  

Midnights is full of fresh and powerful songs that showcase self-expression. It is a unique album that incorporates different approaches to songwriting, but Swift still managed to incorporate her signature style in some songs, which I appreciated. I would recommend giving this album a try, whether you are a huge fan or not.