Taylor Swift’s Midnights: A Glimpse Into 13 Sleepless Nights of Self-Reflection


Taylor Swift "Midnights"

Taylor Swift’s Midnights minimalist album cover, depicting the artist in glamorous makeup in the anxiety of the night.

In the months that followed her surprise announcement, fans remained on the hunt for clues and easter eggs that could reveal the record’s meaning, and after a suspenseful week of TikToks and Instagram posts from Taylor Swift herself, Midnights was released. Yesterday, at 12 am Eastern Time, Swifties around the world waited in anticipation for the next greatest news to drop: Taylor Swift’s newest, 10th studio album, Midnights

Backed by 13 tracks, an apt number given Swift’s historic love for it, Swift says the album is “the story of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life” and a “collection of music written in the middle of the night.” Each song represents a distinctive moment of self reflection, whether exuberant and sweet or anxiety-ridden and frightening, a tale of betrayal, romance, and of growth.

Midnights can best be described as an elaborate convergence of Taylor’s calmer, more indie-based albums like Folklore and Evermore and her romantic, pop-style songwriting eras such as Reputation and 1989

The latest album begins with Lavender Haze, the first lyric to the track fittingly beginning with “Meet me at midnight.” The song reflects the dreamy feeling of being in love, hinting at Swift’s longtime relationship with boyfriend Joe Alwyn. The song conveys the romantic pressure experienced during she and Alwyn’s relationship, how they had to avoid far-fetched rumors that were distributed by the press. She says,“All they keep asking me is if I’m gonna be your bride / the only kinda girl they see is a one-night or a wife.”

Anti-Hero, the third track on the album, reflects Swift’s frustrations at the heavy scrutiny of her public image, with Swift singing “You see I’m tired of trying to justify every decision that I make.” The (iconic) music video is shot as a horror movie embodying these frustrations. In a clip posted to her Instagram, Swift revealed Anti-Hero was one of her favorite songs she’s ever written because of its honesty. “We all hate things about ourselves, and it’s all of those aspects of the things we dislike and like about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we’re going to be this person. So I like ‘Anti-Hero’ a lot because I think it’s really honest,” she said. 

The eighth track of the new album nostalgically ties into Swift’s Reputation, with lyrics like “don’t get sad, get even,” and “Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge” standing out from the other songs. The tone of this song in particular juxtaposes the dream-like, detached nature of tracks like Lavender Haze, displaying to the audience how melancholy can often transform into vengeance, a coping mechanism for Swift’s anxiety and anguish. 

One of the later songs of the album is “Karma,” which acts as a message to those who have wronged Swift in the past, Swift singing “Addicted to betrayal, but you’re relevant.” She continues, “And I keep my side of the street clean, you wouldn’t know what I mean,” a nod to Scooter Braum and Kanye West, two individuals who have betrayed Swift in previous scandals. “Karma” serves to showcase how Swift is thriving despite the turmoil brought onto her, and she’s thanking karma for giving her justice.

As a special feature, the track Snow on the Beach featured Lana del Rey, an artist whom Swift believes is “the most influential artist in pop,” which was news that sent both Swifties and fans of Del Rey into a frenzy of excitement for the album’s release. The track’s lyrics, almost vague with imagery, leave Swifties with a treasure trove of interpretation. It adds an ethereal element to the album, describing love in an abstract way: “Can this be a real thing? Can it? / Are we falling like / Snow at the beach / Weird but it was beautiful.” 

Each song of this unique album brings a distinctive brushstroke into the image of Swift’s life, painting anguish, love, and heartbreak in gorgeous detail. Midnights does what music does best: it conveys feeling, and makes you feel exactly like Taylor Swift, unable to sleep as the clock strikes at midnight. As Swift herself says, “Midnights is a collage of intensity, highs and lows and ebbs and flows. Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic, or lonely. Just like Midnights.”