Swift's 10th studio album, "Midnights," was released at the designated hour on October 21st, precisely 12,000 days after she was born (oddly particular, but would you expect anything less from the woman notorious for her easter eggs?). Swift released "Midnights (3am Edition)" at 3am, adding seven more tracks before wrapping up her October 21 release spree with a music video for "Anti-Hero," one of the album's most vulnerable songs, before fans had even had a chance to thoroughly digest the first collection of material.
There are a tonne of positive aspects to "Midnights." First of all, it signifies Swift's return to pop music, which has predominated the most successful phases of her career. The sound of "Midnights" is unquestionably Top 40, with constant support from Swift's close friend and longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff and, in the later 3am tracks, Aaron Dressner. Although Swift has discussed "Midnights" as consisting of songs written throughout dark and contemplative phases of her life, the album's sound is unquestionably Top 40. Because of his distinctive producing technique, Antonoff has had a lasting influence on the music business over the past ten years, helping to define the sound of modern-pop.
With the addition of his signature synths, horns, and percussion, Antonoff gives Swift's lyrics a strong, bouncy sound on Midnights. The great collaboration between Antonoff and Swift significantly enhances the concept album Midnights. Swift's earlier pop albums "Reputation" and "1989" are reminiscent of Antonoff's sound, but this body of work is unique enough to stand on its own. With Antonoff's instantly recognised production, "Midnights" sometimes sounds monotonous and loses the variety of sound that distinguishes Swift's albums. Although Antonoff assisted Swift in producing a tour-ready album, the work's overpowering production can be wearisome and is a sign that Swift needs to engage with a wider range of producers on future projects.
Swift's signature lyricism and heartbreaking bridges are still present in "Midnights," even though it does signal her departure from the indie-adjacent albums that have dominated the last several years of her career. It is clear that Swift has included some of her most emotional writing in "Midnights," as she discusses her own career and previous relationships while also delving into the criticism she has received during her career.
"Anti-Hero" offers one of the better illustrations of this. The song "Anti-Hero," which peaked at #1 on the Billboard charts, is extremely catchy. The chorus of the song, which addresses Swift's self-hatred and relationship issues, repeats one of the most popular tabloid claims made about her in the past: that she is the only one to blame for her turbulent public persona and the "fault" in all of her failed friendships and relationships. In the album's final song, "Mastermind," she discusses a different frequent attack. She's been charged with being "cold-blooded and determined" throughout her career, using others as bargaining chips to promote her career. She acknowledges that despite the "hopeless romantic" aspect she gives her songs, in her personal relationships she is "cryptic and Machivellian," yearning for other people's praise and prepared to do anything to win it. Swift takes a rare detour from her carefully cultivated public persona in the song's genuinely vulnerable bridge, singing that she has "been planning like a criminal ever since / to make people love [her] and make it appear so effortless." In "You're on Your Own, Kid," a memoir about her emotional ascent to mature self-discovery, the vulnerability is continued. The progression of the song, which mirrors Swift's own development over her career, moves from a straightforward production approach in the first verse to an energetic alt-pop bridge. Swift is at her best in "You're On Your Own, Kid," masterfully weaving a compelling tale about her past and the lessons she has learned as the song's tone varies from depressing to upbeat and drags the listener along for the ride.
Songs like "Lavender Haze," "Midnight Rain," and "Maroon" highlight Swift's mastery of writing songs about romantic relationships that are just open enough to convey true emotion to a track, yet vague enough to allow any listener to see themselves in her music, aside from her reflections on her own relationship with the public eye and the people around her. Swift sings about a young relationship that she sacrificed for her career in "Midnight Rain," a song about young love. It's the kind of sombre "what if" song that makes listeners think about possibilities squandered and missed chances; it speaks to everyone who has chosen to leave someone behind. "Maroon" is a story of lost love that follows the same topic of reflection as Swift's "1989" album and the emotionally charged relationships that served as its inspiration. Swift's variety is on full display in "Maroon," which portrays the rage and bitterness that can come from the end of a romance on an album full of reflective observations. However, "Lavender Haze" is a booming celebration of Swift's current romance with actor Joe Alwyn, whilst "Midnight Rain" and "Maroon" may symbolise love that has been lost. Swift's genuine return to pop music is heralded by the album's opening track, "Lavender Haze," which opens with an overpowering bass that penetrates the entire song. In spite of the constant pressure of the spotlight, it concentrates on the difficulties of love and the shield that a supportive relationship offers her.
"Bejeweled," which is sheer self-confidence and balances some of the album's more melancholy songs, is another example of pop excellence. Swift also demonstrates her ability to write hits with "Question," a song about breaking up that captures the queries one could have for a former partner as they consider their relationship. A song with a melody that will get stuck in your brain and a tonne of metaphors that cheerfully describe themes of success and comeuppance, "Karma" follows a similar trend. There are bright points and low points, with "Vigilante Shit" seeming like a "reputation" reject that should have remained in the vault. "Vigilante Shit" is a girlboss song that feels out of place on an album with so many tracks that mix the more heavily produced sound with emotionally sophisticated words in a way that "Vigilante Shit" fails to do. The lyrics brutally remind you that Swift is, in fact, a millennial. Despite this error, Swift's pop albums may still be very strong, even after her brief dalliance with indie acoustics, as "Midnights" demonstrates.
Although "Midnights" wasn't an album that Swift intended to usher in a whole new creative direction for her career, it doesn't mean it doesn't hold a significant position in her catalogue. The album blends her best songwriting abilities with the kind of catchy, enjoyable production that has helped her achieve prior success in the pop genre. When thinking about Swift's legacy, it is obvious that one of the traits that will most distinguish her professional life is her ongoing invention and inventiveness as she continues to release music. "Midnights" presents itself as an intimate insight into Swift's brain and creative process, even though individual tracks are evocative of Swift's earlier work. Whether listeners prefer her intricate storytelling or enduring earworms, it's one of her most unified albums yet and provides something for everyone. "Midnights" was in a precarious position in her career at this point. "Midnights" needed to appeal to a larger base because new fans were coming in through her earlier works and old fans were being re-engaged with her recent re-recordings. With her biggest debut week yet, we can see that it was a success.
"Midnights" has dominated the charts thus far, with the aforementioned "Anti-Hero" maintaining its position as the top song and nine additional tracks from the album taking up the remaining positions in the Top 10. With this success, Swift has earned her 11th No. 1 album and broken the record for the most top 10 positions held by a single artist. Over 1.578 million equivalent album units and over 1 million "conventional album sales" were generated by "Midnights" in its first week in the United States, amounts that were previously thought to be almost unachievable in the age of streaming. Her two official music videos from the album, "Bejeweled" and "Anti-Hero," have had a combined 78 million views, which goes beyond her success on the charts and in sales. The success of the record was added to by her announcement that she would resume travelling with the upcoming Eras Tour, which will start in the spring of 2019. This stadium tour is anticipated to match the album's success and rank among her largest, with hour-long lines to even be placed into the lottery for a presale code.
The popularity of "Midnights" demonstrates that Swift has no plans to slow down, despite the fact that she has been releasing music for more than 18 years. The songs on "Midnights" clearly display Swift at her best as she invites her fans into a new phase of her career; as a result, she has created yet another album that is guaranteed to keep her atop the charts for the foreseeable future.