Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album begins with the words “meet me at midnight”; the album is true to its title. Midnights is very similar to her pandemic albums Folklore and Evermore in that it is a collection of different stories and feelings. However, it has the pop-synth production of 1989 and Reputation. The album does not have one singular theme or trajectory such as that of her pre-Folklore albums. For example, 1989 centers around being young and free in a city like New York, while also dealing with a chaotic and unstable situationship - which we famously know was between Swift and Harry Styles. On the other hand, Red deals with the trajectory of a relationship that ultimately falls apart. Midnights is as Swift described, “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.” This entire album is new music and draws on different times in Swift's life. 

I have divided the album into three types of broader categories: love songs, revenge songs, and songs about Swift’s unhealed wounds and insecurities. The album begins with a “love” song. The track “Lavender Haze”, which is incredibly emblematic of reputation, is about wanting to stay in the haze of being in love despite being heavily criticized. However, this album at its core is not about being in love. For one of the first times in Taylor Swift's discography, love is not at the center of this album but rather referenced in reflection.

Throughout the album, Swift references experiences with double standards and being pigeonholed into caricatures. “Mastermind" seems to be about her own experiences being labeled as someone who calculates every decision. But Swift exaggerates in order to poke fun at the idea that women are “masterminds” and manipulate relationships to work out how they want. Swift states, in reference to plotting, “you see all the wisest women had to do it this way ‘cause we were born to be the pawn in every lover’s game.”

Despite Swift’s writing about different nights in her own life, Taylor Swift's power resides in her ability to make any song relatable to her listeners. Women are told that in order to succeed, we must plot out the entirety of our lives. From the minute we are little girls we are asked, “when do you want to get married?” or “how many children do you want to have?”

The relatability of this album extends beyond gendered stereotypes. One of the most powerful tracks, in my opinion, is track 19 on the 3 AM version of the album: “Would’ve Could’ve Should've”. This song seems to be another song about unhealed wounds. Many think the track is about Swift’s previous relationship with John Mayer; she describes losing her girlhood because of this relationship, and reflects on dating “a grown man” when she was essentially still a child. Swift says, “I would have never danced with the devil at nineteen” and lost herself in this relationship. Many can relate to the feeling that comes with being in an exploitative relationship.

There are truly songs for everyone in this album. The lead single "Anti-Hero" centers around Swift’s intrusive thoughts and self loathing. Anyone with the occasional bad day can relate to feeling inadequate. There are also songs for those who are happily in love; “Sweet Nothing”, written with her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, describes the feeling of coming home to someone who does not expect anything out of you and who you can simply be yourself with. For those of us who are seeking revenge on those who hurts us, we can turn to “Vigilante Shit”.

Midnights are the thoughts you have after you get home from a late night out; those intrusive thoughts you have in the dark. The thoughts of does he truly loves me? Will I ever reach my goals? Am I too big for my small town? Why did they take advantage of me when I was so young? Will I ever get revenge? All of these thoughts that we have during sleepless nights are those that Swift tries to answer in this album. There is a song on here for everyone, because we all have these thoughts. We all have those moments of laying in the dark and realizing all of your insecurities. Taylor encapsulates these feelings perfectly in her tracks where we meet her at midnight as she looks back at the sleepless nights that have changed her life.