By Caroline Stanton
As a new Taylor Swift fan, I’ll admit that I didn’t know what to expect with the release of “Midnights.” I didn’t grow up a die-hard Swiftie, but as I have gotten older, wiser, and more learned of the ways of the world I can see that her wisdom rivals that of Socrates, her writing rivals Hemingway and she’s scarily relatable. I am pleased to say that she lived up to all my expectations.
To be completely transparent, I was underwhelmed by my first listen-through. I felt as though it lacked a certain pizazz that characterizes so many of her previous albums. However, after a few days of listening to it on repeat, I can now say that it is one of my favorite Swift albums. I teared up, fell into a long period of self-reflection, and took an excellent drive as a result of this album. And not only does she give us the expected 13 songs of “Midnights,” but Taylor Alison Swift, in all of her glory, bestows on us a bonus 7 songs. Dare I say that I think the bonus songs are better than the original tracks?
While there is not a single song on this album I don’t like, I do have my favorites. If you disagree, I promise we can still be friends, this is just my personal opinion on which ones I think deserve to be talked about. It’s just a Taylor Swift album after all.
This song is every thought I have ever had summed up into 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Swift brings us a catchy tune with some of her most thought-provoking lyrics. She addresses both her private insecurities and her public image, and the interplay between the two conflicting personas. This is something that most of us also have to deal with regularly, albeit on a smaller scale than Swift does. This song also includes, arguably, one of my favorite lines of poetry written in a long time: “Did you hear my covert narcissism disguised as altruism / Like some kind of congressman?”
This song explores the failure of a great love in such a tragic and beautiful way. It evokes a lot of feelings remembering someone you used to love, but it ended badly and what once was home to you is now distant. I also think it’s a nod to her “Red” album, as it has a similar theme as the album’s namesake song, “Red.” Maroon is literally a darker shade of red, which makes sense given the song’s darker twist on lost love.
“Snow on the Beach”
When I heard that Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift went in on a song together, I truly had a mini heart attack. Lana Del Ray is one of my favorite singers of all time. I absolutely adore this song, but I must say Del Ray is not in it enough for my taste. The writing and style of the song is the perfect mix of Swift and Del Ray, but it is Swift’s voice for most of the song. I don’t think she uses Del Ray to her fullest advantage.
The song is about two people falling in love when it seems to defy logic, like snow on the beach. The English nerd in me loves the imagery and symbolism in this song. She sings of planes, the aurora borealis, and flying saucers – all things that don’t feel real but yet, at least arguably, are real. This is how she feels about falling in love; it doesn’t feel real but somehow, like snow on the beach, it is.
Bonus Track Star: “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve”
I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite song on the bonus albums, and I have to say that overall this song ties with “Paris” as my favorite from the album. But “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” hits a nerve that none of the other songs do. Swift reflects on the brokenness and trauma that a relationship brought her when she was too young and innocent to realize what was happening.
Overall, “Midnights” enthralls me every time I listen to it. It shows Taylor Swift’s growth throughout her artistic journey and leaves everyone with something to take from it. She delves into more of her personal insecurities and allows her listeners to see her thoughts when she is alone at midnight, many of which are similar to our own. She keeps many of her familiar themes of love, betrayal, heartache and self-reflection but she does it in a more mature spin, making “Midnights” seem like the wise older sister of her other albums.
Stream “Midnights” on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Tidal, Deezer, or Soundcloud
Caroline Stanton is a sophomore AYA English major. In her free time, she likes to read, hang out with friends, and daydream about living in Europe.
Photo courtesy of Pitchfork