“Midnights” strays away from Taylor Swift’s usual hit making recipe: instead of the painful narratives on how others have wronged her, Swift reflects on her life in a way that’s more intimate than ever. From the self-loathing anthem “Anti-Hero” to the calculated synth tune of “Mastermind,” Swift is quick to explain her own fallibility while recognizing the nuance in each situation she describes on the record. Yes, sometimes she’s the problem.
The singer-songwriter returned on Oct. 21 with her 10th studio album, “Midnights,” a project that came as a surprise to many fans after the commercial success of “Red (Taylor’s Version).” Rumors about another re-release filled online spaces like TikTok, but were ultimately put to rest when Swift announced during the MTV VMAs that she would be releasing a brand new record.
Collaborating exclusively with producer Jack Antonoff, they both aim to push the boundaries of pop — calling on inspiration from some of the decade’s most pivotal pop artists including Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish and even Swift herself. You’ll find that the duo fills the space with technicolor synths, voice distortion and punching bass with minimal percussion.
Below are three different reviews from Beacon staffers who listened to “Midnights” and what they think of the album.
Kimberly Cortez, Community Engagement Editor
At first listen, “Midnights” was underwhelming. The album was described by Swift as a tale of 13 sleepless nights. I was expecting an album with new sounds and songwriting that would surpass the amazing lyricism we saw on “evermore” and “folklore.” Rumors about it sounding like “Melodrama” — one of my favorite albums of all time — had me going into the album with high expectations.
While Antonoff and Swift aim to be on the brink of cutting edge pop, they fall somewhat short and land somewhere in between “Lover” b-sides and “1989” wannabes. But when I listened to it a second time, I was able to absorb much more of the sound and lyrics for what it is: Pure pop.
When she returns to her basics — good character writing and instrumentals that suit her — “Midnights” allows us to see a side of her worth talking about. She takes responsibility for mistakes and times in her life where maybe she was the problem which is a level of self-awareness we rarely see from her.
The album is littered with classic Swiftisms — a few corny lines, catchy melodies and descriptive metaphors. Of course, no Taylor Swift album is complete without a kitschy diss about her bad reputation which she does on “Vigilante Shit.” “Midnights” is not trying to be something it’s not. It’s simply a reflection of Swift's life mixed with sounds that feel comfortable for her. Once you accept that, the album is a solid seven.
Chiara Profenna, DEI Editor
Spacing out my listening sessions, “Midnights” grew on me exponentially. Distancing myself over the weekend, I was able to appreciate the album in a whole new light come Monday.
It took me back to “1989” and “Lover” with pop anthems at the forefront, although it had its own flair and sound that set it apart. What I loved about Swift’s new album was how it felt like a compilation of her life, not just its own era.
"Midnights" is one of Swift's more mature albums. By reminiscing on her past sleepless nights as a grown woman she is able to grieve and heal through the passage of time. With each song, I could hear pieces of previous albums from her debut, “Taylor Swift,” to “evermore” as she returned to each experience.
Because of its scope, her album holds a lot of potential to reach listeners for a variety of reasons. While previous albums like “Red” and “Lover” center themes of heartbreak and love respectively, “Midnights” is everything at once.
Featuring both grief and healing, self-love and self-loathing, girlhood and womanhood, “Midnights” is an expression of Swift’s life in a way that none of her other albums can fully capture.
As a whole, I rated Midnights a nine because of the vulnerability and personal reflection that Swift poured into this album — something that can’t be replicated in any of her standalone albums to date.
Netty Jurriaans, News Reporter
As a die hard Taylor Swift fan since the age of five I find it extremely hard to criticize any of Swift’s music, but I truly think it's just because she makes it so easy to fall in love with her incredible lyricism in every song she writes.
I was immediately obsessed with “Midnights.” The first listen was thrilling and unexpected. The more I listened the better it got and the more stories I uncovered. The opening notes of “Lavender Haze” locked me in. The cohesiveness of the album and the stories she hides between lyrics is what hooks me everytime.
While I love this album I also have recognized how many people don't. The Taylor Swift that many people have fallen in love with over the last few years has been “folklore” and “evermore” Swift. While that era was phenomenal, I think it was hard for people to stray away from that version of her music.
The expectations many fans had for “Midnights” were not met because they were expecting the wrong thing. At her core, Swift is a pop artist and “Midnights'' fits that category to a t. This is where she thrives and always has thrived in writing and music.
“Midnights” is the perfect mix of “Lover,” “Reputation,” “1989,” and “Speak Now”; the in love, the angry, the happy, the sad, it's all covered in “Midnights.” Taylor has a way of knowing what her listeners need.
She released “folklore” and “evermore” during an extremely hard part of everyone's life and those albums helped many people heal. “Midnights” represents growth and maturing, holding on to your past self, growing up, leaving home, falling in love, falling out of love, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.
As a college sophomore, the last few years of my life have been a huge period of growth and because of that this album really resonates with me. More than an amazing vocalist, Taylor is a writer. Her words tell stories that people can relate to making the music that much more influential. Midnights is Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is Midnights. For that, I give this album nothing less than a 10 out of 10.
Kimberly Cortez is the Community Engagement Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chiara Profenna is the DEI Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Netty Jurriaans is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.