Midnight has long been associated with magic and mystery, with transformation, imagination, rumination, and dark nights of the soul. Or in Taylor Swift's case 13 of them. On her 10th studio album, Swift examines 13 midnights, on a concept album that she explains shines a light on "the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.
Her 10th studio album is an understated, beguiling look into the mind of one of the biggest pop stars of our age The days of Taylor Swift simply releasing an album are over, it seems. The run-up to Midnights was more of a countdown to an event – no advance tracks released, simply some snippets of information: it was a vague concept album consisting of tracks written during bouts of insomnia in the night-time hours, lyrics would appear on a Times Square billboard, Lana Del Rey guested on one track, and there was the now ubiquitous co-writing/producer credit for Jack Antonoff. Now that the album is with us, it’s clear that Midnights is the sound of Swift subtly moving back to the light synth-pop of 1989 and Lover.
13 songs, 44 minutes, 8,293.54 pats on the back
Taylor Swift has done well from her dizzying range of concurrent guises. She's a superstar, an idol, a god; she's an ordinary person with ordinary anxieties, affections and heartbreaks. She's a duality of symbols: on the one hand, a 2D caricature of superficial emotions and humdrum celebrity gossip; on the other, a gloriously visible model of success, aspiration and candour for young women the world over.
A diary entry always exists at a point of compromise: it is made to be read, and it is made to be never read. It bursts at the edges where stories relayed to friends and confidantes merely swell, a hush gathered in pages rather than whispers. For Taylor Swift, an artist who has always worn her heart on her sleeve and her sleeve on her limited-edition vinyl , it may come as little surprise that 'Midnights' feels both voyeuristic in its exposition and brash in its execution.