Midnights: Flop or Bop?


Courtesy of Spotify

On October 21st, 2022, Taylor Swift released her new album Midnights. According to Swift the album is about a “collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams.” The album discusses her past experiences and emotions, and introduces a new Taylor Swift era. 

Swift has been very prominent in the music industry over the past two years, with albums such as Folklore, Evermore, re-recordings of her older albums such as Fearless and Red Re-recordings. After producing so many hits, the buzz surrounding Midnights, her newest album, was very high. Some were unsure that the album would even measure up to past albums simply because it was heading in a different direction than the sound Swift has been producing over recent years. 

As the anticipation for Midnights progressed, excitement grew within the Friends Select community. Many have shared that they enjoyed Midnights taking a route back to a pop album. Patrick Ryan ‘24 shared his opinion.“Midnights has only grown on me since my first listen,” Patrick said. “I enjoy Karma, Bejeweled, and Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve. I didn’t stay up to listen to [the album], but I did listen to [the album] at 6:30. I was shocked to see seven additional songs. I think it’s cool to release it three hours later. As a whole, I like the unit of sound in the last seven songs compared to the thirteen. I like the bass that Jack Antoff did, the low notes, and the lyrics. I think it’s nice to have a poppier album.” 

At 3 am on October 21st, Taylor released an extended version of Midnights, which includes seven additional songs. Many have enjoyed the 3 am version slightly more than the original. Upper School Latin teacher and senior advisor, Ian Lockey, shared his opinion on the album. “I like the move back to be a little more poppy after Folklore and Evermore,” Ian said. “I enjoy the 3 am tracks. I like that it’s less all about Taylor and goes back to songwriting in general.” The overarching opinion is the album takes on what it means to fall in love, and just how raw that can be. 

Many seem to think Midnights has taken back a pop album, and some are even hoping for future projects to sound similar. The New York Times wrote, “those songs that stand out on “Midnights,” her overly familiar sounding and spotty 10th studio album, which is in places a careful recitation of raw love, in others a flashback to past romantic indignities, but maybe most pointedly and effectively a commentary on what it feels like to live as a deeply observed figure, constantly narrativized by others.” 

While there was much excitement for Midnights, some fans’ hopes may have been too high. The Midnight’s album unfortunately did not meet these expectations. These high expectations came from the Red Recorded album and Folklore, with their impressive storytelling and lyrics. Midnight’s goes in a different direction than these two albums, which may further the dislike for this album. A main consensus is that the lyrics are too cheesy. Lily Brin ‘23 shares her thoughts: “I am a Taylor Swift lover,” Lily said. “This is an album you would need to listen to a lot to get to like. Some of the songs I don’t appreciate at all [and] I don’t have the commitment to listen to them enough. Specifically, I have an issue with the cheesy lyrics. Some of them are well done. Taylor Swift is an excellent lyricist but she took that positive feedback of being a great lyricist, and overdid it. There used to be joy in picking apart the lyrics and finding the little easter-eggs, but now the whole entire song is in your face. A cracked opened easter egg with a chick squawking out of it. I noticed that as I went from one song to the next, I thought, ‘Wait why is it looping?’’ A lot of the backtracks are very similar, which I can’t appreciate.” As Lily stated, others have shared the view that almost all the song’s backing tracks sound similar. The backing tracks are also disliked due to some of the backing vocals and unnecessary instrumentals. Swift is still basking in the success of Red Recorded and she still has plenty of her past albums to re-record. The question is, Was Midnights a necessary album, or is it simply an extra cash grab? Did she know it would become a bop, because she’s a mastermind.  Many, after first listening to Midnights, did not give the album a fair chance because they were expecting something similar to Folklore. While Midnights is the complete opposite of Folklore, it still has a chance to be as extraordinary as Folklore.

Most would say an individual’s opinion matters on an album, especially if they have a strong dislike. However some might argue that what matters is the media and how music charts are reacting to Midnights. Media success sometimes is what matters more than opinions. It wouldn’t be a Swift album if she didn’t break some kind of record. On Nov 1, 2022, ten songs from Midnights made the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. She is the first artist to have ten new songs hit the top ten charts and her song “Anti-Hero” remains at number one. From Billboard it was stated,  within the first week of its release, 1.6 million units were sold. This hasn’t been done since Adele released her album 25. 

Swift is known for her creative marketing. Midnights was streamed on Apple Music and Spotify, but she sold Vinyl and Standard CDs as well. Billboard has stated that Swift may just be the greatest marketer in the music industry: “That is always the question for Swift, who is not only one of the most vital creative forces in 21st-century pop but also perhaps its greatest marketer.” Swift’s smart marketing may be the reason for the album’s success in the charts. 
The conclusion is that in terms of popularity and streaming services, Midnights is a bop. She broke records with this album and received millions of streams. When it comes to opinions, everyone is different. Some love the entire album or hate the entire album. Others are in the middle, so there’s a lot to dissect. The opinions on Midnights are only due to morph and grow with more time and more listens.