Album review: Taylor Swift gets vulnerable and reflective in ‘Midnights’



This image released by Republic Records shows “Midnights” by Taylor Swift. (Republic Records via AP)

By Sarah Rose, Lifestyle Editor

In August, Taylor Swift won the VMA “Video of the Year” award for her short film “All Too Well.” During her acceptance speech, Swift shocked fans by announcing that her new album “Midnights” would release on Oct. 21.

Album rollout

 In an Instagram post, posted after her album announcement at the VMAs, Swift described “Midnights” as “a collection of music written in the middle of the night” hence the title. 

Starting on Sept. 20, Swift began to release Tiktok videos every few days where she revealed the name of one of her thirteen tracks in each video. She named this series of videos “Midnight Mayhem.” 

When “Midnights” premiered on Oct. 21, Swift released the music video for “Anti-Hero,” the third track on her album. The music video emphasizes her insecurities and the visuals reflect what she is trying to get across: the fear her nightmares create. The “Anti-Hero” music video was written and directed by Swift. 

Three hours after “Midnights” was released, Swift released an extended edition of the album titled “Midnights (3am Edition)” which includes seven new tracks. Swift said that she wanted to share more of the creative process she goes through when developing an album. 

“There were other songs we wrote on our journey to find that magic 13,” Swift said in an Instagram post. The extra seven tracks take on a similar theme of the maddening hour that is midnight.

Album review

“Karma” is the 11th track off Swift’s “Midnights” album and combines pop and techno to create the song’s exuberant atmosphere. In the song, Swift compares karma to several objects such as the wind in her hair and a cat which are both relaxing feelings. She is talking to someone in the song, saying that that person is being hunted by karma for all the bad things they did. 

The person she is singing about could be interpreted as someone from Swift’s past that has done her wrong such as Scooter Braun, an entrepreneur and entertainment executive who purchased her music masters without her knowing and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian who she has had feuds with as well.

“Dear Reader” is the final track in Swift’s “Midnights (3am Edition).” Throughout the song, Swift attempts to give the reader, or the listener, advice. The lyrics “Pick somewhere and just run / Dear reader, burn all the files” are about reinventing yourself. This can be seen as something Swift did herself in the past and had a positive outcome. “Dear Reader” is warning listeners that they shouldn’t do what she did.

Swift’s new album contains a variety of emotions, all centering around what she was feeling at the moment she wrote them, and what kept her up during those late nights.

“Midnights” explores themes of love, fear and the madness felt during restless nights. Swift’s euphonious vocals and brilliant storytelling enable her to express true stories of herself through her songs. Her writing is honest and vulnerable and because of that, she is able to connect with her listeners.

“Midnights” is Swift’s tenth studio album after her 2020 release “evermore.”