“Midnights”: record-breaking lyrics and production

by Katherine Winton (’25) | November 18, 2022

Art by Katherine Winton (’25)

On October 21, Taylor Swift released Midnights, her first original album since Evermore in late 2020. After the album announcement on August 29, many people waited in anticipation for the expected thirteen tracks. Three hours after its midnight release, Midnights was followed by Midnights (3am Edition), a collection of the original thirteen songs plus seven bonus ones. The album, which became the most-streamed album in a single day in Spotify history, has much to offer, from its lyrics and vocals to its production.

Throughout the album, Swift uses her extensive vocal range, showcasing her abilities as a singer. These vocals accompany varying rhythms throughout the tracks, with some upbeat and some slow songs. The rhythms appropriately reflect the subject matter of each of the songs, whether it be love or revenge.

Another aspect of the album is that the lyrics of its tracks are more mature than those of Swift’s other albums. Specifically, Swift doesn’t shy away from sensitive topics, such as self-hatred and eating disorders in particular (which are discussed in “Anti-Hero” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid”). Similarly, “The Great War,” one of the bonus tracks, uses war as an extended metaphor to convey her feelings towards a past relationship.

Aside from the vocals, Midnights’s production marks another significant change from that of previous albums. In the album, the use of synthesizers and vocal modulation is especially pronounced, so much so that it feels as if Swift is trying out new techniques. This change has elicited both positive and negative feedback from people who either support the change of style or prefer the more subdued production of her previous pandemic albums. But despite any criticism, the new songs are tremendously popular; for example, “Midnight Rain,” in which the vocal distortion is especially prominent, held the fifth spot on the Billboard Hot 100 list the week of November 5.

Aside from breaking the Spotify record for the album with the most streams in a single day, Swift also broke the record for the most-streamed artist in a single day. Within the first week of its release, Midnights also sold over a million copies (digital and physical sales combined). Additionally, the album sold 575,000 vinyl copies, the most of any album since at least 1991. But what may be the most impressive is the fact that Taylor Swift became the first artist to ever claim all top ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100 list, with the remaining three songs of the album placing 13th, 14th, and 15th. (The seven bonus tracks all placed within the top fifty spots.) This monumental achievement also marked the first time a male artist has not been in the top ten on the list.

In short, the album is certainly worth listening to. Slightly over an hour long, bonus tracks included, the album has something to offer everyone, with a wide range of topics, melodies, beats, and more.

Categories: Entertainment

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