HAWK NEWS

Midnights, Taylor Swift’s new album

By: Kaitlyn Morris

Taylor Swift released her 10th studio album “Midnights” on October 21st, 2022. This pop album takes a tour through Swift’s lyrical strengths, enhanced by strong yet refreshing instrumentals, as arguably her most personal and revealing album to date. According to Swift, the concept for the album was “what keeps you up at night” as she journeys into her deepest insomniac thoughts.

How it Started

The album was first announced in August at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA).  Swift announced the album during her acceptance speech after winning video of the year, best long-form video, and best direction for the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” short film.

The announcement of an entirely new album was a shock to Swifties (the self-chosen name of Swift’s fan base) who were expecting Taylor to announce another rerecording. Swift had been in the midst of re-recording and re-releasing her first six albums after she lost the rights to her masters. Swift had already re-recorded her albums “Red” and “Fearless,” calling them “Taylor’s Version.” While there are sure to be more re-recordings to come, and with it more unreleased “From The Vault” songs, Swifties were ecstatic for a full album of new music.

After the announcement, Taylor posted on her social media to explain the concept for the album, the cover art, and some promotional pictures. Then, Taylor utilized TikTok to announce each title for the 13 tracks, in a segment she called “Midnight’s Mayhem with Me.” At Midnight each night, Swift used a bingo method to roll a ball numbered 1-13 from a metal cage, which then decided which track title should be revealed next.

Another Surprise

When the clock struck midnight on October 21st, Taylor Swift finally released her very anticipated “Midnights.” While a new studio album came as a shock anyways to fans expecting another re-recording, Swifties that stayed up until 3:00 am were greeted with yet another surprise, as Taylor also dropped the extended version of the album. These tracks were called the “3am Edition,” since Taylor explained that they felt more like 3 am than midnight.

Additionally, Swift released a bonus song called “Hits Different” that is only available for shoppers to listen and purchase at Target.

Breaking Records

On the first day of the album’s release, Swift was accredited with “breaking” Spotify when the platform crashed. This was due to the large onset of fans logging on to listen to the new album and causing site traffic in masses.

Even so, “Midnights” had a stand out first streaming day, breaking a record with 184.6 million streams on Spotify within 24 hours, as well as breaking a second record for the most day-one streams of an album on Spotify. This was over 30 million more streams than the previous record holder, Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy.” Additionally, Swift broke a third record as the most streamed act on Spotify in 24 hours, with 228 million streams.

Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey broke another Spotify record, for most single-day streams of an all-female collaboration, for their song “Snow on the Beach.” The song amassed over 15 million streams within the first day. All 13 tracks from Midnights debuted in the top 13 spots on Spotify globally.

“Midnights” also broke records on Apple Music, as the biggest pop album of all time by first-day streams. Also, on Amazon Music, the album claimed two more records: the most first-day album streams globally of any artist, and the most Alexa requests ever.

This album marks Swift’s biggest debut, selling 1.58 million copies across multiple formats in the album’s first week, making it the best-selling album of 2022 so far. 575,000 vinyl copies of the album were sold in the first week, breaking another record for single-week vinyl sales in the US.  Taylor is the only artist in history to have five albums that sold over 1 million copies within a single week.

Swift also made history as the first artist to claim the entire top 10 on Billboard Hot 100. The charts were led by her single, “Anti-Hero.” In fact, all 20 songs from the “3am Version” charted on the top 100, with the lowest being “Dear Reader” at No. 45. This gave Swift the third-most charting hits, with 188 songs, as well as the most top-10 hits in the chart’s history for women, with 40 top-10 hits throughout her career.

This is also the fourth time that Taylor has simultaneously had a song and an album both debut at No. 1. Swift is the only artist in history to have debuted a song and album at No. 1 on four separate occasions. Including her re-recordings and nine of her official studio albums, “Midnights” marks Taylor’s 11th number 1 album, with her debut album being the only album to have not reached the number 1 spot. She now ties Barbara Streisand for most number 1 albums overall. However, Swift is the first female artist to have 11 albums debut at number 1. Swift also ties with Ariana Grande for the most No. 1 song debuts among women, each having done it five times.

Setting Trends

Not only has “Midnights” been topping charts, but it has also been taking over TikTok and other social media platforms with fans making trends and jamming out to the new songs.

One trend was started by Swift herself, on YouTube shorts, called the “anti-hero trend.” Swifties are urged to use her song to reveal their ‘anti-hero’ traits, posted with under #TSAntiHeroChallenge.

Other songs have become very popularized on TikTok, such as “Karma,” “Midnight Rain,” “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” “Bejeweled,” “Lavender Haze,” and “Mastermind.”

Music Videos and Tours

Thus far, Taylor has only released two music videos for her “Midnights” album, for her lead single “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled.”

The “Anti-Hero” music video is a creative characterization of the very thing that the song delves into. Through the video, we follow Taylor as she struggles with fitting in, feeling pretty enough, and when to listen to her inner “Anti-Hero,” characterized by a seemingly party-version of herself.

The music video for “Bejeweled” takes a twist on Cinderella, as Swift journeys from being the bullied stepsister, to shining as bright as she sings in the song.

Three years after the “Loverfest ” tour for her 7th album, Lover, was canceled due to the pandemic, Swift will finally be touring again. Taylor’s new tour, “The Eras Tour,” will start off in the United States, on March 18, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. The US leg of the tour will last until August 5, with international dates to be announced later on. Special guests for the tour include both familiar and more undergrounded artists, with the likes of Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, girl in red, MUNA, HAIM, GAYLE, Gracie Abrams, and OWENN each joining Swift at different performances throughout the US portion.

 My Review

Taylor Swift’s album ‘Midnights’ is one of my favorite albums of all time. Possibly her most emotional and personal album to date, it rises far above the music of modern day. Not only is this apparent in her global record and streaming success, but the intricate metaphors and intimate lyricism paired with the delicate yet striking instrumentals combine together in every song to create a beautifully cohesive album. As Swift’s album continues to break more records, it is clear that I am not alone in my love for the album.

While Swift has previously had a phenomenal career in pop, “Midnights” takes a twist on the genre in a way that Swift hasn’t fully committed to before. While some elements have been found in previous songs, the entire album as a whole uses elements of dream pop, synth pop, and even electronica to craft layered and impactful instrumental.

The composition of the album blends together in such a powerful way that entrances the listener to want more. The 3 am edition pairs together with the original 13 tracks to melodically mesmerize fans. Each song is a unique piece of the puzzle, telling their own story with intelligently crafted lyricism that all fits smoothly together as a whole.

Overall, I would rate the album a 9.5/10. As a whole, “Midnights” pieces together masterfully to paint the entire picture of a midnight spent awake, and pairing it with the 3 am edition tracks creates an addictive listening experience. Still, each song remains distinctive and a joyful listening experience when played on its own. While there are some stand out songs, and even very few that don’t pique my interest, each song on the album is produced with such high quality that it’s impossible to not find a song to fit your tastes.

While “Midnights” is the perfect album for overthinkers, analysts, and insomniacs, the captivating rhythm and flow is sure to make the album great for even a casual listener. Once the final song plays, it’s nearly impossible to not press replay and revisit Swift’s midnight thoughts over and over.

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