Album Reviews, Arts & Entertainment

Miss Americana is back, and so is her pop persona

It’s 11:59 on a Thursday night. My friend and I wait with bated breath in Milton B, hurriedly refreshing Spotify. We’re not waiting for the café’s mediocre WiFi to load—we are waiting to listen to Midnights, Taylor Swift’s latest album. I knew all too well that the impending release would cause fans’ obsessions with her to begin again, and sure enough, the project is a compilation of tracks beyond a Swiftie’s wildest dreams.

While her latest original projects folklore (2020) and evermore (2020) adopted a more folksy and cozy vibe, Midnights feels closer to Lover or 1989 in terms of beats and musicality. It abandons the acoustic sounds and instead opts for synth-infused tracks, which mesh well with the lyrics’ darker overarching tone. This gloomy energy appears in “You’re On Your Own, Kid”, which explores the hardships of a one-sided relationship. Yet, the album also features more upbeat overtones in its explorations of love and heartbreak. Songs like “Midnight Rain” include unassuming electric piano riffs reminiscent of 80s dance music. 

Swift starts the album off strong with “Lavender Haze,” which details the sanctity of a relationship remaining unscathed despite criticisms from outside forces. Meanwhile, “Question…?” stands in stark contrast to the first track by describing the uncertainties between a couple. The line “And you’re not sure / and I don’t know” paints a picture of a couple with no clear path beyond their feelings for each other. On the other hand, “Vigilante Shit” embraces Taylor’s darker, more vengeful side with the hook “Don’t get sad / get even. Swift is still not someone to be trifled with in any capacity.

While all of its songs are delightful individually, Midnights lacks cohesiveness. Given that the album is meant to define different nights from Swift’s life, it makes sense, but the abrupt mood shift between certain songs is jarring. Additionally, Swift’s highly anticipated collaboration with Lana Del Rey on “Snow On The Beach” is lacking in one department—Del Rey herself. Although her voice can be very faintly heard in a couple lines, her role is less of a feature and more of a brief background appearance.

Midnights is everything we love about one of the world’s arguably most talented artists—clever lyrics, compelling storytelling, and relatable themes of love and loss. After all, Taylor Swift has retained her massive following for a reason. In your most vulnerable moments, her music will be there—all you have to do is meet her at midnight.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Midnights is available on all streaming platforms.

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