Limelights of Midnights

By Keira De Vita

The dazzling mystery of Midnights, Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, crafted ever so specifically, was released into the limelight October 21 at 12 AM EST. A mystery no longer, the album’s focus digs deep on 13 sleepless nights throughout Swift’s life. Swifties around the globe spent their night engulfed in this album with their focus on creating a sleepless night of their own. 

Surreal and dreamy, the new pop album grasped the attention of multitudes of persons around the world. Swift’s terrors and sweet dreams breakthrough in the album on both sides A and B—Swift broke up her album into two sides, a fun addition to the album—with its meanings and different beats. It is most evident that the artist’s lyricism is not as detailed and strong as folklore (her eighth studio album), and evermore (Swift’s ninth studio album), but the lyrics and beat fit the euphoric feeling created in Midnights to a T. Opinions vary whether this album necessarily ‘needs’ strong lyricism throughout each song for it to be a good album. However, as the duration between the album release grows, more people seem to be warming up to the album. 

Swift collaborated heavily with her friend, Jack Antonoff on every song on Midnights besides “Vigilante Sh*t, which Swift wrote solo. Surprising everyone the very same day, three hours later, Taylor Swift dropped Midnights (3 AM Edition) including all thirteen previous tracks from Midnights with the addition of seven new tracks. Antonoff worked on four of the seven tracks. Jack Antonoff’s music style truly breaks through in this album and it shows from the heavy impact he had throughout the writing process. Swift also worked with past collaborators including Aaron Dessner, who worked on parts of folklore and evermore.

All of these tracks are extremely well throughout and produced creating a well rounded album, but the obvious outstanding tracks that need recognition prove to be “Bejeweled,” “Your On Your Own Kid,” and “Mastermind.” “Bejeweled,” one of the more upbeat songs on the album, captures important themes that Swift feels connects with many in her fan base. “…finding confidence when you feel that it’s been taken away, for whatever reason—you’re feeling insecure, you’re feeling taken for granted,” said Swift when talking about the track to IHeart Radio. Swift also states “…cause we love to go dancing, we love to put on an outfit that makes us feel good, and we love to feel like we’re still bejeweled.” The track’s purpose is to bring upon confidence to the listener, to put them in a head space where they can be themselves and shake it all off. 

Secondly, “Your On Your Own Kid.” Where to start? Swift is notorious for her track fives. Being filled with sorrow and deep meaning, these songs build up a fire in the soul of the listener to get them enraged, let out their feelings, interpret the track how they need, or to just take in the masterpiece that the track is. “Your On Your Own Kid” presents itself as just that. The bridge of the song is theorized to summarize each album/“era” along Swift’s career bringing sentiment to every lyric. One of the most prominent parts about this song is Swift’s voice. It grows throughout the song, bringing a steady, but powerful tune. These pieces make this track the perfect track five, although many fans (after the release of Midnights (3 AM Edition)) question why “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” did not make the cut as a track five song for this album. 

Last but definitely not least is the best track on the album, “Mastermind,” the thirteenth and final track on the album. This song closes off the album on one of the best notes possible. Swift talks about the happenings of her relationship with Joe Alwyn. It is written in the form of a story that feeds a series of information to the listeners, the person this song is directed to, as well as Swift herself. The song progresses from talking about how she planned their meeting, to her finding Alywn knew more than she thought (that he knew all along). The presence of Joe Alywn ever so clearly made Swift joyful, a feeling so content and loving it forms a wide smile on the listeners face. It is heard through every lyric and beat of “Mastermind”. This track is delicate and soft, it is well crafted, it is art. It is evident throughout all 23 tracks—including the three bonus tracks from the lavender edition CD and seven extra tracks from the 3 AM edition—that Swift put work into this album and cares about the story of each song deeply. The layered emotion and meaning creates a well rounded album to intrigue a mass of music listeners who can listen and connect to each song

Prior to the release date of the album, Taylor Swift led her fans on chases and hunts to find out more about the album and piece together information. Through doing this, the artist creatively formed a vast audience, lured in and anticipating the release of the album. This has led Swift to achieve selling over 800,000 CD copies of the album in the first day (in the US alone), which broke the record of most number of CDs sold in the first day, recently held by Reputation-– Swift’s sixth studio album—in 2017. As well as selling over 400,000 vinyls, also breaking the record for the most vinyls sold in the first day (in the US alone) since 1991. Midnights also broke the record on Spotify for most streamed album in a single day, and first day-–recently held by Drake (for the album Certified Lover Boy, with 155 million streams)Midnights rose to 185 million streams (and 88.8 million in the US alone). In 3 days, the album accomplished 955,000 album sales and 284 million streams. Swift’s strategic advertisement paid off, resulting in the limelight this album deserves.

An honorable mention to the numerous artists who also released albums on October 21.