Is Taylor Swift the ‘Mastermind’?

Jacob Ashkar '23, Social Media Manager

Projected to hold nine out of the ten spots on the Billboard top 10, “Midnights” by Taylor Swift was definitely an album worth staying up ‘till midnight for.
As an avid Taylor Swift listener, it was amazing to receive a brand new album shortly after “Red (Taylor’s Version),” featuring even more vulnerability and depicting thirteen sleepless nights Swift has faced throughout her music career.
The album starts off with “Lavender Haze,” named for a common phrase in the 50s that describes the feeling of being in love. Some have said the track very closely correlates to Swift’s song “I Think He Knows,” on her seventh studio album, “Lover.” I personally really enjoy this song– the vocals are impeccable, accompanied by an uplifting beat that can somewhat stimulate the feeling of love.
Speaking of impeccable vocals, “Snow On The Beach” (feat. Lana Del Rey) effortlessly displayed how well Swift and Del Rey can harmonize together– it is honestly surprising they have not collaborated sooner. Once you look past the fact that Swift did not give Del Rey a verse, you can truly recognize the beauty of “Snow On The Beach”. It’s written to describe the crazy feeling of falling in love at the same time someone is falling in love with you. It personally helps me imagine what that would be like since it has yet to happen.
Following this track isSwift’s infamous track five, “You’re On Your Own, Kid”, which brings up relatable dilemmas Swift has struggled with during her career. One specific lyric that stands out to me is, “I search the party of better bodies just to learn that you never cared. You’re on your own, kid”. This refers to the inferior feeling of not being able to live up to society’s standards, and the bittersweet feeling of realizing someone you prioritized never felt the same. It’s a great song if you’re feeling down and need something relatable in order to understand that you are not alone.
“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is deserving of its place as track five, and definitely takes the cake for the best bridge on Midnights. It goes through the motions of the harsh transition from childhood to adulthood and how, at times it can feel lonely, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. I believe, as a senior graduating in a few short months, that it can spark the confidence needed to face college next year.
One of my personal favorites is “Bejeweled,” a very fun song to sing along to if you’re looking for something upbeat. The true meaning of the song was about her fling back in 2016 with Calvin Harris and how the relationship was not progressing the way she wanted it to, though it’s commonly been interpreted as the journey to finding your sense of self-confidence. I admire how uplifting her words are, and the catchiness certainly helps. “Bejeweled” is projected for eleventh place on the billboard top 100, and many believe she released the music video on Oct. 25 in order to gain the streams necessary to take all ten spots on the billboard top 10. However, others along with myself believe it’s an “easter egg” for “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” since the album debuted on Oct. 25, 2010.
Something I found unique about the album was how Swift released the original thirteen-song album at midnight on Oct. 21 and proceeded to follow up three hours later with “Midnights (3 am edition)” including an additional seven songs. If any artist were to have pulled this, it would have to have been Taylor Swift.
Two tracks featured on the 3 a.m. edition that particularly stood out to me included “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” and “Would’ve, Should’ve, Could’ve”. Both are extremely sentimental ballads. Fans have also theorized that “Would’ve, Should’ve, Could’ve” is about her relationship with John Mayer in 2010. Swift is now 32, the age John Mayer was when they dated, and this theory has her reminiscing about their relationship through more mature eyes. One thing I appreciate specifically about this song is Swift’s vulnerability, which serves as an example of how healing is not linear.
Though I could go on forever about Swift’s genius writing tactics in this album, I cannot say it was a no-skip album. The original thirteen songs of “Midnights” are great, but once you get to the 3 a.m. version, some not-as-great songs come with it. I wasn’t particularly fond of “The Great War” and “Glitch,” but the others are fantastic for the most part.
“Midnights” can be seen as an emotional rollercoaster like many of Swift’s albums. Though I will say this album did take its time to grow on me, now there is nothing else I would rather listen to. The diverse setlist features tracks that are suitable for almost any occasion, and I could go on and on about the unique emotions that come with them.