Students Share Mixed Feelings About Taylor Swift’s 10th Studio Album, ‘Midnights’
On Thursday, Taylor Swift made a comeback with her 10th studio album, “Midnights.”
“Midnights” is the fourth album that Swift personally owns after a public row with famed manager, Scooter Bruan, who bought Swift’s music catalog in 2019. Quick Claims his former label, Big Machine Records, never gave him the opportunity to own his music before it was purchased by Braun.
The album has already broken streaming records. It broke the record for the most streamed album in a single day in Spotify history. Swift didn’t stop there, though — Midnights also broke the record for biggest pop album of all time on Apple Music by day one streams.
Sophomore journalism student Nora Fleming said she thought “Midnights” was a nod to Swift’s 2019 album, “Lover.”
“I think ‘Midnights’ kind of went back to the ‘Lover’ era, where there were fun songs but not really a cohesive story unit,” Fleming said. “It wasn’t my favorite album of all time. I don’t think it was awful. … There were some good songs but it’s not something like me, “it’s so iconic,” like singles from “1989” or “Lover,” even. … ‘Midnights’ isn’t going to rack up as high compared to his previous albums.”
Public relations sophomore Ryan McMillan said the record wasn’t among his top three favorites for Swift, but it wasn’t bottom either.
“I’ve listened to it a few times so my opinion will change in the future, but so far I really like the album,” McMillan said. “I really like the sound and what she was doing for. … She’s not going to stick with the same thing for the rest of the time, which I think a lot of people were expecting.”
At the time of publication, all 13 songs on the standard version of “Midnights” held the top 13 spots on the Spotify Global Chart, making the 13 songs the biggest female debuts in history.
“I really liked the song ‘Question…?’ … What I enjoyed most about this album were the informal phrases she uses,” Fleming said. “It was kind of a reflection on a relationship gone bad and you have questions for someone, obviously, after a relationship ends. I thought it was pretty on point.”
McMillan’s favorite track comes from “Midnights (3 am edition)” which Swift dropped just three hours after the standard version was released.
“I think my favorite song right now is one of the bonus tracks, ‘Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve’,” McMillan said. “I think the way it’s written is very interesting and it’s a very interesting story. It’s very different from the standard edition songs but I think it really stands out from the others.”
Swift’s lyrics are usually at the forefront of conversations with fans after a new release, leading to analysis, relationship, and deep dives into ties to what Taylor may be referring to.
“I really like one of the lines from one of the tracks on the 3am version, … ‘Could have, could have, should have’,” said Jenna Drew, an environmental science junior. “I love when she says ‘Give me my childhood, it was mine first. … It’s very impactful and it’s kind of like she’s taking back her youth that was stolen from her.”
Swift announced “Midnights” at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards and revealed the albums track listing via a TikTok segment named “Midnights Mayhem With Me.” Closer to the release, she shared the lyrics to the record on billboards around the world.
“I think a lot of his marketing was Taylor Swift, dropping hints but not giving you everything,” Fleming said. Swift is known for dropping “easter eggs” or hints of upcoming work.
McMillan thinks Swift’s decision to let listeners go blind was effective. The album had no mainstream singles before its release, leaving fans left wondering what the album would sound like.
“There were no direct clues as to how something was going to sound, … so I was ready to hear anything,” Mcmillan said.
Although Swift just released “Midnights,” she’s still re-recording her catalog. Drew thinks Swift avoids oversaturation with her use of subtle Easter eggs.
“I think the Easter egg stuff that she does really keeps people into it because they’re always guessing things,” Drew said.
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