Swift drops new instant classic, Midnights


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Taylor Swift has released her latest album, which captures the mood of the moment while drawing from her past experiences

Maya Pontes, Crier Staff

Taylor Swift has made her return to pop music. Last week, the singer-songwriter dropped her highly anticipated tenth studio album, Midnights. The initial 13 tracks appropriately premiered at midnight on October 21, but since nothing is ever quite as it seems with Swift, fans woke up to the surprise of an additional seven songs released as part of Midnights: 3am Edition.

The 20 total tracks are a reflection on moments from her past that have kept her up at night, but with bold production techniques and striking lyricism, it feels as though Swift is exploring somewhere entirely new. 

The passion project of Swift and longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff, Midnights still contains some of the best elements of her past work. It is complete with a bit of the infectious pop accents of 1989, a splash of the darkness found in reputation, and a hint of the flowery verse that gave folklore its timeless charm. Antonoff’s influence is made known, with many of the tracks bearing resemblance to Lorde’s Melodrama, the majority of which he had a hand in producing.

The album opens with the attention-grabbing “Lavender Haze.” Many expected the title track to be a romantic ballad, but it turned out to have quite an edge. The melody of the chorus is pleasantly reminiscent of Lover fan-favorite “I Think He Knows.” Revolving around the idea of wishing to simply get lost in love, Swift comments on the disruption caused by the media’s constant hounding of her current relationship.

Swift also goes back in time and references stories told in a few of her classic songs. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” reflects on the same heartbreak that was still so raw in “Dear John,” a standout from her 2010 album Speak Now. The lyrics from both songs mirror one another with each focusing on regret and being emotionally scarred at a young age. 

“Question…?” is a call back to tracks from two different records. The first is “Out of the Woods” from 1989, which appears to be sampled in the beginning of the new song. Swift can be heard singing the echoing words, “I remember,” before the first verse begins. 

The second reference is to folklore track “illicit affairs.” In “illicit affairs”, Swift compares the rarity of her connection with a certain person to the inability to see the same colors ever again. This premise is notably similar to a line from “Question…?” that describes the song’s subject as coloring the singer’s nights a shade that she has tried relentlessly to replicate.

Midnights does feature steps into uncharted territory for the artist, however. Swift delves into more personal topics in “Anti-Hero,” describing her deep insecurities and struggles with mental health. She explores these topics in such a way that makes for a sonically upbeat and lyrically relatable hit. 

She also moves away from her usual track-five theme in favor of “You’re on Your Own, Kid.” While the premise is certainly laden with melancholy, Swift swaps out her tradition of the fifth song focusing on heartache within a romantic relationship to instead write about the pain of growing up.

 Behind its synth pop beat, the song communicates the bitterness of realizing you’re not the only one who dreams for something often unattainable. She ends the bridge with a sentimental message that attempts to bandage the wound she reopened for her listeners that encourages them to make the most of life while it’s happening. 

Despite the forays into new styles, there are distinct aspects of the album which prove the singer’s signature touch remains. Her unmatched ability to convey emotion through combined sound and lyric shines through in “Maroon,” a stunning and piercing song that feels like it encompasses everything which fans crave from her music. 

Swift’s power to connect, whether it be between herself and her audience or among the fans themselves, is seen in the videos of people crying, screaming, and dancing to her songs across social media. Evidence of her impact can even be found on campus with the countless number of students over the past week seen listening to the album in the library, singing the lyrics to the lead single on their way to class, or comparing their favorite tracks as they put their lunch trays away in the dining hall. This gives reason to believe that Swift still holds the key to providing a universally cathartic experience through her music.