Taylor Swift opens her long-awaited album Midnights by inviting listeners to “Meet me at midnight.” And goddamn it, we will be there, ma’am. We will be there with 13 bells on.
Fans have been dying to know which direction she’d be travelling in next, sonically, following the slow and steady vibes of folklore and evermore.
Well, 1989 girlies will be happy to know that the party pop vibes of her “Wildest Dreams” era are back, fused with the maturity and depth of her recent releases.
It’s fitting that the theme of the album is ~midnights~ given that this is her darkest album yet.
The stories she weaves depict wild events that could only occur around the witching hour.
There’s more adult themes than we’re used to, including lots of swearing, references to booze, hell, at one point she even sings about a treacherous man “doing lines”.
Like with all albums, Taylor Swift unlocks the gates to her soul and lets us take a peek inside but I find that she’s more open and honest than ever before.
Taylor’s always been incredibly self-aware and in tune with what people are saying about her and she always riffs on her public perception through song. She has a whole album called Reputation, for Christ’s sake.
But on this album she’s not just self-deprecating, she actually leans into what people are saying.
On “Anti-Hero”, she admits that perhaps she is the drama as she sings, “It’s me, hi! I’m the problem, it’s me.”
At one point she even likens her own narcissism to that of a congressman which is really bloody saying something.
It’s incredibly evident that in her time away she’s done a lot of inner work and self-reflection and she’s totally owning and embracing her flaws.
She’s not just in on the joke, she’s actually cracking them herself and in the most artful way possible.
As she sings on the closing track “Mastermind”, “What if I told you that none of it was accidental? … What if I told you I’m a mastermind?”
We’ve been craving some dreamy pop beats from Tay and she well and truly delivers with songs like “Lavender Haze,” “You’re On Your Own Kid” and “Karma”.
With each album comes undeniable growth and progression in both her experiences and her songwriting. Said growth is highlighted in both subtle and literal ways. For example, 10 years ago, she was singing about “burning red”, now she’s singing about the more aged maroon of the sky under which she kisses her lover. She’s found happiness and you can hear it in her voice and dissect it in the lyrics.
What I love about Taylor Swift as an artist is that she doesn’t shut her fans out. Sure, she’s not as active on social media as her legion of followers would probably like for her to be. While other celebrities are posting everything from their morning coffee to their brand endorsements to their clap backs at other celebrities, Taylor’s page is inactive for long stretches of time.
But that’s totally fine because she has her own way of connecting with her fans: through music. She’ll go from gatekeeping her life to literally handing over her diary to give us the intimate details like how “cheap-ass rosé” once resulted in an absolute belter of a night. Yep, you read that correctly. One of the greatest songwriters of all-time used “cheap-ass” in a song. She really is one of us.
Or rather, she’s like a friend who you might not see for a while because you’re both busy living your fabulous lives but when you finally catch up, it’s like no time has passed. She’s such a brilliant storyteller that you feel like you’ve been with her every step of the way.
I’ve really come to admire and respect Taylor Swift’s approach, both to music and to celebrity.
After all the shit she’s copped, she’s decidedly removed herself from the minutia that comes with being a celeb and only engages with the public on her own terms: every few years through her albums.
She’ll live her best life in private then come out of the woodwork to flex her creative muscles, let us know how her relationship is tracking, throw shade at her enemies and provide her thirsty fans with a flowing stream of water in the form of her sweet songs and cryptic clues for us to devour.
When your talent is as profound as Miss Swift’s, you don’t need constant promo to keep you relevant. Albums like Midnights will do it for ya.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to spend my midnights hearing about the ones Taylor Swift has had.
Midnights by Taylor Swift is out now!
Matty Galea is the Senior Entertainment Editor at PEDESTRIAN.TV, as well as our resident astrologer who pens our weekly horoscope series, ‘Your Horos Are Here’. He also Tweets about pop culture and astrology and posts spicy content on Instagram.