Taylor Swift Returns To Her Pop Roots With Her Newest Album “Midnights”

Swift released her tenth studio album on Oct. 21, bringing a flawed yet familiar perspective on love and self perception.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Taylor Swift

As the clock struck 12 (and a couple extra minutes accounting for Spotify’s outage) on Oct. 21, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her tenth studio album titled “Midnights.” The record presents a recollection of thirteen sleepless nights Swift has lived throughout her career. And while it is easy to pinpoint which songs belong to the different eras of her life, the concept of staying up in the middle of the night overthinking about the ins and outs of life is often lost in the songs’ euphoric yet busy production. 

The Grammy Award-winner went back to her roots by announcing the release of her album two months in advance, stepping away from the surprise factor that came with the release of both “folklore” and “evermore.” 

However, Swift’s marketing strategy is not the only characteristic that sets “Midnights” apart from previous albums, as this new record brings an experimental pop sound. With the whimsicality of “Speak Now,” the joy of “1989,” the revengeful side of “Reputation” and the romance of “Lover,” “Midnights” proves to be a potpourri of Swift’s experiences and a reflection of her career. 

Not having any preview of what the record would sound like prior to its release, some fans had speculated this new album would have a moody 70s rock theme. However, the record takes an unexpected turn opening with “Lavender Haze,” an upbeat and amorous pop tune that resembles her previous song “I Think He Knows.” 

As the album progresses, Swift touches on different subjects ranging from her 2016 drama with Kanye West to her own insecurities and distorted perceptions of herself – all while maintaining the album’s signature chic pop sound. 

There is no denying this record relies heavily on its production. However, by bringing producer Jack Antonoff back for another round, this should not come as a surprise. Antonoff’s style stands out from the crowd as the “Bleachers” singer often uses over-the-top melodies throughout his work — it can be seen with Swift’s own “Death by a Thousand Cuts” dreamy concept and even fun.’s nostalgic yet cheery “We Are Young.” 

Though the production can make Swift’s vocals seem restrained and waiting to come out, such as in “Labyrinth,” some of the work’s highest moments also come from its overproduction, as seen with the “Reputation”-esque track, “Karma.” 

Another point of conflict from some fans comes from its seemingly simple lyrics. For most tracks, Swift steps away from “Folklore” and “evermore’s” academic words and complex sentence structures Instead, she opts for a more clear and concise message. While phrases like “karma is my boyfriend” often sound infantile and shallow, knowing Swift’s road to love and fame and looking at the overall message of the song allows the singer to remain familiar and close to her listeners. At the end of the day, it takes as much skill to write simple lyrics about universal experiences than it is to craft compound ones.

With “Midnights,” Swift takes listeners through a journey of love, revenge and self-hatred. One of the standouts from the whole record is “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” which was released in the deluxe “3 a.m. Edition” of “Midnights.” In this track, the singer reflects on one of her past tumultuous relationships. In previous works, the artist often takes a recent and melodramatic approach to her heartbreak. But with this particular tune, she takes a retrospective one, in which she regrets being involved with her subject. 

Arguably one of the most personal songs in the entire album is “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.” It’s a clear ode to women who have been blinded by a seemingly knight in shining armor who turned out to be a merely egocentric and selfish “devil.” The age difference and the power imbalance discussed in the song makes fans speculate the track deals with singer-songwriter John Mayer, who Swift dated when she was 19 and he was 32. 

Along with “Midnights,” came the music videos for her first two singles, “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled,” the latter of which is rumored to have easter eggs that would hint at 2010’s “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”  as the next star of Swift’s re-recording saga. 

Despite its recent release, the long-awaited LP has already broken several Spotify records including the most streamed album in 24 hours with 184.6 million streams, breaking Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy.” Swift’s album was also the most-streamed pop album in 24 hours on Apple Music, and was the biggest release of any album recorded in Spatial Audio. 

Though often flawed in its production, “Midnights” serves as a conglomerate of Swift’s past work, in which she reflects and even pokes fun at subjects she’s rather familiar with: her journey of finding love, how she views herself and how her public persona affects her relationships.