Album Review: ‘Midnights’ kicks off new, electric pop era for Taylor Swift

Swift turns away from soft folk, returns to pop with new twists



Swift announced “Midnights” back in August, and the album dropped Friday to mixed reactions from fans.

MIA PUZZO, Evergreen columnist

It is safe to say that Taylor Swift is officially out of her “Folklore” era and is back with something a little more electrifying. The 11-time Grammy winner released her 10th album, “Midnights” on Friday. 

After being busy re-recording her older albums, fans are ecstatic to hear her first original album in two years.

Swift shocked fans by announcing “Midnights” in August, calling the album “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.”

The anticipation of the album had blown up all over social media. Videos about so-called Easter eggs or elaborate theories around the album flooded my Tik Tok feed for weeks. I rushed to Spotify to play the album at 9:01pm on the day it came out, which inevitably led to a Spotify crash due to the amount of Swiftie traffic on the app. 

Swift told The Washington Post that when she was 15 and putting her first album together, she decided to encode the lyrics with hidden messages using capital letters. 

“That’s how it started, and my fans and I have since descended into color coding, numerology, word searches, elaborate hints and Easter eggs,” she said.

What makes Swift’s albums unique from other artists is her ability to keep her fans involved in her music by creating entertainment in clever and fun ways.

No one could guess what “Midnights” was going to sound like; based on its euphoric cover, the album was simply mysterious. The rumors were complex, some fans even predicting that the album was going to be Swift’s first in the rock genre.

So what exactly is “Midnights?” I would honestly say it is a little bit of everything. 

Parts of it are edgy and ignite feelings of revenge like “Reputation;” other songs are dreamy and feel like they are moving in slow-motion like “Lover.”

While I appreciate the fun, pop sound of these albums, I am partly mourning the fact that the “Folklore” era is officially gone. The stories and lyrics behind “Folklore” and “Evermore” come across more comfortably and familiarly, while “Midnights” is more mainstream.

That is not to say that the lyrics of “Midnights” are anything less than mesmerizing. Swift continuously creates raw material that shows her darkest moments, even if it is through a catchy pop song.

Swift continues to project songs about love, heartbreak and evolution through more mature vocals and lyrics. The album feels experimental, with new sounds and electric beats. Disguised in pop, this album is also a darker side of Swift. 

Swift described the album as a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The song titled “Lavender Haze” is exactly that. 

In an Instagram post, Swift told fans that “lavender haze” is a phrase she came across when watching the show “Mad Men,” which is set in the 1950s. The saying was used in the 50s to describe being in love.

A song that seems airy and upbeat, similar to her song “False God,” is also a critique of expectations from society. The lyric “the 1950s shit they want from me” echoes throughout the song. 

The biggest disappointment I had from the album was the Lana Del Rey collaboration, “Snow On The Beach.” As a big Lana Del Rey fan, I was ecstatic to hear a song between two of my favorite artists. 

“Snow On The Beach” is poetic, but I would have loved to see Del Rey featured more in the song. Her majestic voice was barely noticeable as she was pushed to background vocals, which came out as a faint whisper. 

Their voices give two different effects that ultimately did not mesh very well – Del Rey’s voice puts the listener at a different point in time, almost “Great Gatsby” style, while Swift has a much more modern and straightforward sound. 

Another weak moment in the album was the song “Bejeweled.” It is one of the only songs that did not seem on theme, and altogether was a little too Disney pop for my taste. 

However, the songs “Anti-Hero” and “Midnight Rain” stole the show with their sparkling and moody aesthetic. The cloudy beats bring up similarities to Lorde’s album “Melodrama” (one of my favorite albums). 

While “Midnights” is nostalgic in that it serves as a reminder of Swift’s earlier albums, there is one thing that sets it apart from the others. It is a collection of songs that do not seemingly go together but somehow manage to evoke similar collective emotions. “Midnights” is ultimately about being stuck in late-night thoughts, a place we have all been at one time or another.