In just a single day, Taylor Swift shattered records once again. Over 184 million Spotify users streamed Midnights within 24 hours of its release and 785 million total streams in its first week. Swifties worldwide purchased a grand total of one million Moonstone Blue, Jade Green, Blood Moon, and Mahogany vinyls (along with the Target exclusive Lavender edition) that propelled herself to the top of the Billboard 200.
And yes, she’s the only person in history to occupy the entire Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Described as a concept album by Swift herself, Midnights recounts “13 sleepless nights” and even features seven surprise released “3 AM” tracks that add to the listening experience. The album contains hints of 1989-esque synth pop, the lyricism of both folklore and evermore, and mature themes frequently found throughout reputation.
Listeners immediately became obsessed with the album’s unique sound right off the bat after hearing the opening track, “Lavender Haze”, for the first time.
“I love the bridge on that song,” recounts FHS junior Maddie Twardowski. “It just sounds so aesthetic and really goes with the name. It’s great.”
It just sounds so aesthetic and really goes with the name. It’s great.— Maddie Twardowski
The tone shifts completely once the second song, “Maroon”, begins. Many have compared it to a mature, grown-up version of the titular song from Red since it is theorized to be about a toxic relationship that unraveled over time.
When asked her favorite song off of Midnights, junior Vivi Loukota responded with the next track on the album, “Antihero”.
“It felt so genuine,” said Loukota. “She talks about knowing yourself and self acceptance by not listening to awful people around you. She’s like, ‘I’m doing it for me, not for you’”.
The track serves as the lead single and a lavish music video starring Swift alongside Mike Birbiglia, John Early, and Mary Elizabeth Ellis accompanies it as well. The video follows Swift as she encounters an alternate version of herself, attends her own funeral, and gives her will to her beloved cats.
Others gravitated towards Swift’s more upbeat offerings.
“’Karma’ is my favorite song on Midnights,” freshman Gianna Stoddard answered. “I’m having some friend drama right now and it’s helping me since it’s not that deep of a song!”
With playful lyrics like “karma is a cat purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me” and “me and karma vibe like that”, it is hard not to sing along for hardcore fans.
She literally went from being a broken glass ball to a jewel.— Maddie Stamp
Senior Maddie Stamp picked another pop-based song as her favorite; “Bejeweled” resonated with her the most, especially following the glitzy music video’s release.
“One of my favorite songs on folklore is Mirrorball and Bejeweled sounds like it but she’s gone through this healing process when she’s more confident,” Stamp noted. “She literally went from being a broken glass ball to a jewel.”
However, once again, the media was quick to scrutinize Swift following the music video premiere due to its inclusion of Taylor standing on a scale that read “fat”. Calls to remove the scene prompted both Youtube and Apple Music to delete it, for some viewers found it fatphobic and triggering.
While some may not view Taylor Swift as “fat”, she candidly opened up about body insecurity at the height of her career in the 2020 documentary Miss Americana and even sings how she “hosted parties and starved [her] body” in “You’re On Your Own, Kid”, the album’s Track 5, which Swift often considers the most gut-wrenching song on each of her albums.
The masterful self-reflection of her career trajectory alongside her personal struggles on Midnights highlights a shift from many of Swift’s previous works, for her newer material showcases her ability to tell stories rather than create a slew of radio hits.
Ms. Swift isn’t just a musician… she’s truly a “mastermind”.
This article originally appeared in The Pantherbook.
Photo credit: screenshot of taylorswift.com by Grace Tucceri