When I was in high school, I made fun of Taylor Swift. She was so cheesy, so embarrassing, and she sang country music. Yuck. Then, Speak Now came out and…I decided I liked Taylor Swift. Now, my love of Taylor Swift is wrapped into my entire personality. If you only know a few things about me, one of them is probably that I love Taylor Swift. People respect her now because her music is more nuanced, grown-up, and appeals to more than just teenage girls. But if you’ve been paying attention, she’s always been excellent.
I started ranking Taylor’s albums as a joke beginning with Red, which gradually became an expectation. So, without further ado, here is my completely unedited, official Midnights Taylor Swift review. Oh, and it’s also non-negotiable.
20. Snow on the Beach– Snooze fest. I’m so sorry. This is a watered-down version of both Lana and Taylor. Next!
Favorite lyrics: These lyrics spoke to my little Enneagram 3 heart.
My smile is like I won a contest/And to hide that would be so dishonest/And it’s fine to fake it ’til you make it/’Til you do, ’til it’s true
19. Labyrinth– It’s nice.
Favorite lyrics: I thought the plane was goin’ down/How’d you turn it right around?
18. Paris– It’s fine. I feel like she’s written this song a thousand times, and this one didn’t really tell me anything new. I still like it.
Favorite lyrics: I wanna brainwash you/Into loving me forever
17. Glitch– I keep forgetting this song exists.
Favorite lyrics: A brief interruption, a slight malfunction/I’d go back to wanting dudes who give nothing
16. Bigger Than The Whole Sky– Did anyone else think this sounded exactly like Daylight when it started?? This song might be too sad for me, idk. We almost get a little country twang in the instrumental which was exciting!!!!
Favorite lyrics: Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye/You were bigger than the whole sky
That just sends shivers down my spine, it’s so simple and so sad. Ugh. Love you Taylor.
15. Midnight Rain– It’s ok. Lots of parallels to Lover– it sounds like it could be inserted right after False God. I do like the bride line tying us back to Lavender Haze. Basically I feel like I spend this song recovering from track 5.
Favorite lyrics: He wanted a bride/I was making my own name
14. Question…?— Listen, I don’t want to blame it all on Jack Antonoff, and I know he’s this great producer and whatnot and he and Taylor are the best of buds, but I guess my main thought after this one is just…all of his instrumentals sound the same. And it makes Taylor sound like everybody else. I liked the lyrics, I just am growing tired of the musical homogeny, that’s all. Maybe I am a snob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like this song fine.
Favorite lyrics: Half-moon eyes, bad surprise/Did you realize out of time?
13. Sweet Nothing– It’s New Year’s Day all over again. I’m a sucker for these sweet portraits of domesticity. V nice.
Favorite lyrics: And the voices that implore, “You should be doing more”/To you, I can admit that I’m just too soft for all of it
12. High Infidelity– I have a rule where I don’t look up other reviews or media about Taylor’s new album before I write my ~official~ review because I don’t want other peoples’ thoughts to cloud my own, but this is where I expose myself as not a true Swiftie. I love her music, but I don’t keep up as intensely with the media surrounding her–so– WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED ON APRIL 29!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is literally going to be the first thing I look up after I post this review. BUT! I love this song. It’s a jam, and she’s not making herself the victim which she’s been accused of doing in the past.
Favorite lyrics: You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love/The slowest way is never loving them enough
11. Mastermind– Technically, this is the closing track. HOWEVER!!! There are more because Taylor is a songwriting machine. It reminds me of Long Live, actually. Very “us against the world.” And when she sings “I sweeeaaaaar” it reminds me of Rent for some reason which is always a good comparison in my nerd brain. The doodle doodle doodle doodle in the instrumentals is very fun.
Favorite lyrics: No one wanted to play with me as a little kid/So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since/To make them love me and make it seem effortless
10. Vigilante Shit– Damn. This song is sexy. This song is wearing assless chaps with nothing underneath. It sounds a bit Billie Eilish-esque with the ~spooky vibes~ but I mean….this is what we wanted from Reputation, right?? Don’t get sad, get even!!!!! Lots of lines from this one that will be Instagram captions for sure. I loved how sparse the instrumentals are, but the bass just echoes. It’s like she’s just whispering to us. NO BODY NO CRIME BABY!!! Shiversssss down the ol spine.
Favorite lyrics: I don’t start shit, but I can tell you how it ends/Don’t get sad, get even
9. The Great War– Bonus track number one slaps, as the kids say!! War metaphors abound. Besides just the overall appealing sound of the piece, I like that she sings about working through a huge conflict that doesn’t end in a breakup. It’s a new arena for our girl.
Favorite lyrics: Somewhere in the haze, got a sense I’d been betrayed/Your finger on my hairpin trigger
8. Lavender Haze- So Taylor talked about “Lavender Haze” as 1950s slang for a new love. I love how she bounces back and forth between the romanticism of the ~lavender haze~ and the expectations of behaving like a woman from the 1950s, which some people think women should still embody. She even plays with the Madonna/whore complex!!! Obsessed with this concept. I love that her album openers are very much a vibe-setter. We know what we’re getting– a sound bath that mixes the ethereal quality of evermore with the biting lyrics of Reputation. Rock n roll, baby, let’s GOOOOOOO!!!!! One critique: that weird duck/coo-sounding noise? Basically, anything I don’t like, I’m just going to blame Jack Antonoff. It’s distracting.
Favorite lyrics: All they keep asking me/Is if I’m gonna be your bride/The only kinda girl they see/Is a one-night or a wife
7. Dear Reader– Wow, just a beautiful end to a beautiful album. Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart– it just ties up her self-reflective album with a bow. This piece feels similar to Call It What You Want.
Favorite lyrics: Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart!!!
6. Maroon- Taylor Swift is obsessed with rose and red wine, and she knows we are too!!! This lady needs to stop spilling wine all over herself!!! She is tying in previous songs with this, and of course, Red. We know how Taylor feels about the color red– she once said in an interview that red evokes strong emotions, so she’s painting us an intimate scene packed with intense feelings. I also really enjoy the relentlessness of this song? It kinda just keeps going and going like a run-on sentence. It reminds me of when I wake up in the middle of the night, and a pervasive memory or thought won’t leave my brain. A bop.
Favorite lyrics: WE LOVE A TAYLOR BRIDGE!
And I wake with your memory over me/That’s a real fucking legacy
5. Bejeweled– I really liked this one! You know me, I need a bop. I need a beat. Taylor has described herself as a jewel before– I’m personally still recovering from the 10 minute version of All Too Well. A pop anthem.
Favorite lyrics: They ask, “Do you have a man?”/I could still say, “I don’t remember”/Familiarity breeds contempt
4. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve– HOLY SHIT?!? I never would’ve danced with the devil at 19…is she seriously giving us a JOHN MAYER DISS TRACK IN 2022?!?!??!!?!?! This will be the second thing I look up after posting my rankings. This has Dear John written all over it. I REALLY wish we would’ve gotten a bit more country in the instrumentals. I also get mad woman vibes. I REGRET YOU ALL THE TIME?!?!?!?!? I mean, she just keeps slapping us in the face. Wow. I’m going to be embarrassed if I’m wrong about this, but she didn’t just drop that 19 years old for nothing ok, it HAS TO BE JOHN.
Favorite lyrics: Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts/Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first/This is when my eyes really welled up with tears, just incredible songwriting.
3. You’re On Your Own, Kid– Track 5!!! The build on this song is incredible. I kind of feel like this is what The Archer was meant to achieve (and I liked The Archer! It just always felt like it was missing something). We begin with a thumping but subdued beat and Taylor’s breathy vocals, but it’s relentless. By the time we get to the chorus, there is a build of instrumentals that continues through the piece that underscores her climb to fame beautifully. I almost can’t handle how introspective Taylor is in this album; it’s inspiring and sad and beautiful all at once. I had a couple tears at the end of this piece, which is JUST HOW I LIKE IT!!! BATTI BATTI BEL TAYLOR!!!!! DESTROY ME!
Favorite lyrics: TAYLOR WITH THE BRIDGE I mean seriously just…*insert Viserys from House of the Dragon saying Gods Be Good here*
From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes/I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this/I hosted parties and starved my body/Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss
2. Karma– Karma is such a recurring theme in the Taylor universe, and I really, REALLY love this song. The beat is incredible. I love how she personifies karma through the chorus. I am also just cackling because Kanye is a complete and utter clown and it’s become really hard to defend him at this point— y’all Taylor ALWAYS COMES OUT ON TOP ok??
Favorite lyrics: Karma’s a relaxing thought/Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?
1. Anti-Hero– Ok I’m sorry I feel very basic because I think this is the song Taylor is ~intending~ to sell us as a hit and let me tell you why it is because it IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMETIMES I ALSO FEEL EVERYBODY IS A SEXY BABY!!!! This song has it all. It bops like 1989. It cuts like reputation. It’s a sad vibe like folklore. She is incredibly vulnerable in this piece, acknowledging her personal failures which felt very close to home at this time. I broke my own rules on my first listen of this album and repeated this piece three times. It’s just too good. I get that this is supposed to be relatable, especially to millennials, but every lyric felt like a read on my entire brain (hey, I didn’t catch the sexy baby line as a 30 rock reference despite my obsession with that show in high school, but now that I know what that is, I’m like yep, can relate) My favorites tend to shift over time (cardigan definitely did not remain my favorite off of folklore) but I think this one is here to stay. She is simply an icon. All hail Taylor.
Favorite lyrics: There are so SO many– “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me” is bound to become a meme or something. But I have to go with:
Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism/Like some kind of congressman?
Overall: I love this album, but I was bound to love it. There were a few tracks that I don’t appreciate as much– yet. Sometimes the slow ones grow on me. My main critique is I wish we got more variety in her vocals– she goes with an ethereal, breathy tone for the entire album, and we know she can do so much more. I think Anti-Hero, Karma, You’re On Your Own Kid, and Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve are four of her best songs ever, period. Taylor remains on top for another album. Can’t wait to make these pieces my entire personality for the foreseeable future.
Official album ranking 2022
(For those of you who keep track, yes, the official album ranking has changed, her rerelease of Red was a reawakening for me)
It’s also getting really hard to rank these?? All of her music is so incredible the album rankings are based on my mood more than anything.
10. Taylor Swift
2. Speak Now