Review: Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” is an automatic cult classic


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Taylor Swift announcing “Midnights” at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards.

“Meet me at midnight” – the iconic opening line to Taylor Swift’s new album, “Midnights,” has been the only thing on my mind lately. The album was released Friday and promptly broke Spotify’s record for the most-streamed album in a single day.

Record-breaking isn’t a new concept to Swift, as she recently broke the Guinness World Record for the longest song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her smash hit, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).”

Swift also directed and produced a short film for “All Too Well,” which won her an MTV Video of the Year award. It was in the acceptance speech for the award that Swift announced her new album, “Midnights.”

Aug. 28, the same night as her televised announcement, Swift went to Twitter to reveal the release date, number of tracks and album cover art for “Midnights,” but she didn’t stop there. Swift then created a series on TikTok named “Midnight’s Mayhem With Me,” where she kept fans on their toes and announced a new track name each day until all 13 songs were revealed.

Combining alternative pop, bubbly instrumentals and a hint of revenge, Swift once again has mastered the craft of album writing. “Midnights” creatively mixes a wide range of genres and moods, all wrapped up in one glittery purple cover. The album has something for everybody as Swift seamlessly and continuously transitions from pop perfection to moody, melodic tunes.

With collaborations with producer and fellow songwriter Jack Antonoff, Swift gave each track on the record a fresh sound. Track one, “Lavender Haze,” instantly sets the vibe for the album as Swift combines a classic club beat with high-pitched backing vocals. Similarly, “Midnight Rain” hooked me with an electric feel and an array of vocal effects added during production.

The third track, “Anti-Hero,” seems to be at the top of the public’s ranking. With the lyrics, “It’s me / Hi / I’m the problem it’s me / At teatime / Everybody agrees,” fans across the internet have related to the song and taken it as their own. Swift released a music video for the song the following day after release.

The instant pop hit “Anti-Hero,” has broken the record for the biggest first-day female song debut in Spotify history with over 17.4 million streams on release day, surpassing Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings,” which previously held the record.

Continuing her classic pop sound, Swift’s track 11, “Karma,” was a long-awaited release for her fans. Many believed “Karma” was to be the name of her next record, as Swift had hinted at the idea for years. From the catchy and repetitive chorus, “’Cause karma is my boyfriend / Karma is a God / Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend / Karma’s a relaxing thought,” to Swift’s airy and light vocals, the internet and I have fallen in love with “Karma.”

Taylor Swift’s vocal flexibility is demonstrated as she transitions to a darker mood with songs such as “Mastermind,” “You’re On Your Own, Kid” and “Maroon.” “Mastermind” is the album’s final track, which pairs vocals from Swift’s lower range and a bubbly track in the background. It recounts her love story with her long-term boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. As a closing song, “Mastermind” was not as strong compared to some of Swift’s other songs on the record.

“Sweet Nothing,” “Snow On The Beach” and “Labyrinth” may remind some Swift fans of her work on her eighth studio album, “Folklore.” With lullaby tunes and calming vocals, each song sounds like a slow burn into falling in love. But one song in particular, “Snow On The Beach,” may have been disappointing to some fans as a Lana Del Ray feature was advertised, but Ray’s vocals are almost impossible to hear compared to Swift’s.

The last theme on “Midnights” is a fan favorite: revenge. The remaining tracks, “Vigilante Shit,” “Bejeweled” and “Question…?” are confident, feminist pop anthems. “Vigilante Shit,” in particular, sounds different from any other track on the album. Heavy bass, trappy beat and venomous lyrics create the perfect recipe for vengeance. The final lyrics, “Don’t get sad, get even / So on the weekends / So on the weekends / I don’t dress for friends / Lately I’ve been dressin’ for revenge,” perfectly encapsulate Swift’s revengeful sense.

Taylor Swift never fails to make her audience feel any emotion she puts her mind to. With the intertwining of themes from previous albums and mixing new genres and fresh instrumentals, Swift’s 10th studio album, “Midnights,” is automatically a cult classic. Although some tracks have a few flaws, the record, overall, contains some of her strongest new music to date.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10