Taylor Swift’s Midnights: A cryptic adventure for super-fans and casual listeners


Courtesy of TaylorSwift.com

Faith Casey, Staff Reporter

After re-recording her song “All Too Well” and creating a 10-minute version of the beloved ballad, Taylor Swift won Video of the Year at the MTV VMAs on August 28th, 2022. It was here that she announced she would be releasing her tenth studio album, Midnights, on October 21st.

Swift used social media as the main focus for promoting this album, specifically with the app TikTok. She revealed the song titles one by one in a series she called Midnights Mayhem With Me. On random days at midnight, she would post a TikTok with a vintage bingo cage and reveal the title of each song. Upon the day of release, it was announced that there would be a 3 am version of Midnights; this is when Swift released 7 more songs to follow the original 13. 

Swift has gained continuous praise over the years and that did not stop with this album. It was met with admiration and love from a lot of listeners. A popular thought online was that the album was not the genre most were expecting; however, after listening, fans both new and old grew to enjoy the indie/pop vibe of the songs. 

Sandburg student Maddie Gallagher spoke on this and said, “Once I realized the genre wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, my expectations sort of changed, but she definitely impressed me, and overall, I love most songs.” 

Swift is known to have extremely dedicated fans – “Swifties,” as they’re known – who most often love everything she releases. However, with this new release, the everyday listener can hear a new era and genre of songs from the singer. 

Sawsan Khatib, a student at Sandburg said, “I personally don’t like her music. She’s a great person, but her music isn’t my taste. It was nice to hear something different from her previous albums.” 

It is also easier for these types of listeners to separate the person from the music and not let that cloud what they think of the album. Khatib goes on to say, “I think she’s a good representation of a confident and carefree woman. I don’t however let that get in the way of how I think of her music because to me their music is always a separate project.”

While this album broke countless records and received extremely high praise, it also brought on some critiques. Two songs in particular caught the public’s attention regarding criticism. One of the singles, Anti-Hero, was criticized for a specific part in the music video in which Swift is seen stepping on a scale that reads “fat.” While this is meant to show how she is unhappy with her body image, many felt that this was in poor taste because of the very stigmatized word, along with the fact that Swift does fit society’s ideal beauty standards. 

Midnights included features as well, specifically with Grammy-Award-winning artist Lana Del Ray collaborating with Swift for her song Snow on the Beach. While it was exciting for many fans to see these two iconic singers together, many listeners were disappointed because they felt as though Del Ray was not heard in the song and should have had her own verse.

Midnights was a fun and cryptic adventure for both super-fans and everyday listeners. While it came with countless praise and criticism, it is a piece of art that can be interpreted in numerous different ways. Art does not and will not satisfy the likeness of everyone who hears it. Like all forms of expressive art, it is meant to speak to you and relate to the human experience. With Midnights, Taylor Swift is able to put the journey of “13 sleepless nights” into words and share her experiences with those who listen.