Midnights by Taylor Swift is no folklore, but the anticipation leading up to its release felt exactly like the night of folklore’s pandemic-born release. It’s like the hazy, haunting love child of 1989 and Reputation, making it something riveting in its storytelling.
Swift repeatedly does something so remarkable with albums that focus intently on distinct narratives, and that’s precisely what the chaotic ruptures of Midnights are. The tracks are fierce, bold, and dazzling. They feel like pieces that we should’ve somehow gotten way before, yet it still feels so new and refreshing in what it accomplishes.
Midnights is comprised of thirteen songs, with the 3 AM Edition adding seven more, formulating the era’s total count to twenty.
While it’s still reasonably too soon to tell which track will stay with us for a long time, there’s far more in Midnights than there’s been in the past, which is essentially an accomplishment for Swift to manage this far into her career. The emotions are heavy—darker, even, and there’s an abundance of mapping out where we go from here.
While after a first listen, “Midnight Rain” took my heart and ran toward the woods; currently, “The Great War” is winning the battle. There’s also something about “Lavender Haze” as an opening track followed by the beautiful fantasies threaded into “Sweet Nothing” and “Labyrinth.” There’s also the detail that “Anti-Hero” feels like the kind of song written for the archaic rumbles of fandom. And do we dare to discuss that “Mastermind” is a Galadriel and Halbrand song from The Rings of Power? We can. We absolutely can.
“Snow On The Beach” featuring Lana Del Rey deserves special mention, and if only The National were featured as well. Still, f—king beautiful, and that’s a fact. And following its suit, “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is a profoundly painful yet comforting wonder I can’t quite get over, especially in how it highlights the loneliness that binds us all despite the chaos everywhere.
Midnights by Taylor Swift is beautifully messy—it’s faultlessly intertwined and all over the place simultaneously. The melodies are intoxicating, and the lyrics are wild, set for the nights when nothing makes sense, but the world’s never been clearer. It’s an homage to the emotions we can’t put into words even when we feel them so deeply that there must be ways. It’s full of liberating desires and taking things back, thrusting emotions forward, and digging into the parts of us that are so lonely yet connected to pieces of other people.
They’re the kind of songs tons of fan videos will inspire tons of fan videos and the type of songs that’ll make her next tour feel like the sort of high you can’t quite understand. It’s choosing who we want to be, where we want to go, and what we want to do with the time we have as our best days stand before us. “Sobbing with your head in your hands / Ain’t that the way shit always ends?” That’s precisely how the end of this album feels—to the very core—a real, f—king legacy.
And, of course, in true Taylor Swift fashion, there are various editions of the album to collect and obsess over.
Listen to Midnights by Taylor Swift below, and tell us which tracks are your favorites.