- Sophia Xie
Taylor Swift’s New Album
Taylor Alison Swift, a famous American singer/songwriter, started writing and singing country music and eventually branched into pop. Swift began writing songs at 12 years old and has had over 25 songs ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
She has broken many records in the music industry. She holds the distinction of being youngest artist to write and perform a No. 1 song on the Hot Country Songs chart, the youngest person to win Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, the youngest artist ever to receive an Album of the Year, and the first woman to ever win the Grammys twice. She has won the most American Awards in history (34, surpassing both Michael Jackson AND Whitney Houston), and holds the record for most number one hits on Billboard US Digital Song Sales Chart. She also represents the first woman to win Album of the Year three times. She also has an acting career. She had a voice role in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012), during which she released a new album, Red. She later appeared in a supporting role in The Giver.
Swift had many controversies in 2016, including when Taylor was called a “b**ch” by Kayne West in his song “Famous,” which he claimed Taylor Swift had given consent to. In 2017, she filed a lawsuit against David Mueller. Later, when she left the label Big Machine and signed with Republic Records & Universal Music Group, the master recordings of her first six albums (Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation) were sold to Scooter Braun.
Taylor Swift tried negotiating with Braun for ownership of her recordings, but he sold them to a private investment firm. Trying to regain control of her songs, she began to re-record her albums, resulting in Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version).
Now she has released a new album called Midnights on October 21, 2022, at exactly midnight. Midnights has over 1.3 million equivalent album units and is her eleventh chart-topping album. Critics have praised the album, scoring 85 in 23 reviews on Metacritic, a number that suggests an almost universal acceptance of Midnights.
Some people said that the recurrence of similar refrains in her songs stems from her editor, John Antonoff. Antonoff is known to have a very recognizable sound, with some "digital tinkly stuff” (as said by Caleb Gamman).
I think her new album is an excellent combination of all her previous albums and is also slightly repetitive. Midnights is a bit darker than her other albums, with more mature words and lyrics. The story in her songs is always part of what makes them unique, with “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled” talking about Taylor from different angles. “Anti-Hero” talks about her insecurities, saying, “It's me, hi/ I'm the problem, it's me.” “Bejeweled” talks about how through lyrics, she “can still make the whole place shimmer.”
“I definitely think that Midnights is an acquired taste…the more I play it, the more I fall in love with it.”
Many students have commented on how the first time they listened to the album Midnights, they felt that it was not as good as Swift’s previous work, but as they kept listening to the album, it grew on them and became slightly better in their opinions. The tunes are catchy and boast great lyrics and stories. An anonymous student said it well: “I definitely think that Midnights is an acquired taste…the more I play it, the more I fall in love with it.” Other students have said that the story-telling wasn’t as intricate as her older work and included a lot of repetition and similar-sounding melodies. Her collaboration with Lana Del Ray in “Snow on the Beach” was thought of as “underwhelming” by some and thought of as “GODLY” (Zahra S’s term) by others.
Taylor Swift will always be a wonderful songwriter and singer, with countless awards under her belt. Midnights is a mix of all of Swift’s previous work. While around thirty of the almost eighty responses from students have said that Midnights is not as good as her previous work, most still think that it’s one of Swift’s most distinct albums.