Reputation and Folklore have had a baby – and it is glorious
October 21st saw Taylor Swift’s massively anticipated 10th studio album Midnights’ hit shelves and streaming services, much to the excitement of her strong fan base. The album, co-written and co-produced by Swift along with long-time collaborator Jack Antonoff, is a synth-pop mix with lyrics that are anything but.
Swift’s songwriting has always been her strong suit, however the success of her lockdown records ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ proved her worth as a lyricist. She has matured and is able to tell stories about more than just her own personal experiences.
‘Midnights’ takes her lyricism to another level. Track 5 on the album, ‘You’re On Your Own, Kid’, comes with an upbeat tempo and subtle vocals that almost make you forget the dark tone of the lyrics, “I gave my blood, sweat and tears for this” Swift sings, “I hosted parties and starved my body, like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss.”
Forever one for a strong bridge, ‘You’re On Your Own,Kid’, isn’t the only track to feature Swift’s strong refrains. The final track on the album, ‘Mastermind’ builds with loud vocals and an impressive synth sound before being stripped back to a heartbreaking bridge, “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid, so I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since”, a line that could make even a heart of stone come back to life.
Always one for a surprise, Swift released ‘Midnights 3am Edition’ just three hours after the initial release, featuring six additional songs. One track ‘Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve’ has been labelled one of her most ‘heartbreaking songs’ by fans online. The song tells the tale of a relationship Swift was in at nineteen where she says she ‘damn sure would’ve never danced with the devil’ had he ‘never looked’ her way. Swift has an interesting talent – had this track been played without its lyrics, it could very easily be played in clubs with a packed dance floor moving with it. She camouflages her trauma with her own trademark style.
The album hasn’t come without its controversy. The first music video from Midnights, ‘Anti-Hero’ features Swift standing on a weighing scale which labels her fat. Many have interpreted this as Swift’s personal experience, with the lyrics screaming ‘I’m the problem, it’s me’, however this segment of the video has since been removed by both Apple Music and YouTube due to backlash on social media.
It is very hard to fault Midnights. Taylor Swift knows her fans, and tailored an album exactly for them. Midnights holds an electronic sound carried by strong pop beats, which when put together mask some painful but beautifully crafted lyrics. It’s no surprise the album became the most-streamed album in a single day in Spotify history.