Music Review: 13 Sleepless Night with Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has come out with her 10th studio album after two long-awaited years by many “swifties” (what Taylor Swift fans call themselves). The release of Swift’s new album ‘Midnights’ has spread a lot of controversy throughout the pop culture community, with mixed emotions about the album. Taylor released a promo on Twitter for ‘Midnights’ describing it as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.”

In just one day of sales ‘Midnights’ became the top-selling album of the year. This album broke records on the music streaming app called Spotify for the most streams in one day, and today the top 10 songs of Apple Music and Spotify are from this album.

Released on October 21st at, you guessed it, Midnight. Swift included 13 tracks on her new album ‘Midnights’. This tracklist includes:
1. Lavender Haze
2. Maroon
3. Anti-Hero
4. Snow-On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Ray)
5. You’re On Your Own, Kid
6. Midnight Rain
7. Question…?
8. Vigilante Sh*t
9. Bejeweled
10. Labyrinth
11. Karma
12. Sweet Nothing
13. Mastermind

After releasing this album, Swift dropped a 3 a.m. edition with seven bonus tracks, these songs include:
14. The Great War
15. Bigger Than The Whole Sky
16. Paris
17. High Infidelity
18. Glitch
19. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
20. Dear Reader

Before releasing this album, Swift brought attention to the social media site Instagram to share the name of each album on the tracklist. When Swift released this track list, she was struck with controversy, or as some would call it “Midnight Mayhem” over the song title ‘Lavender Haze’, with many claiming that she was “queer baiting” and or “appropriating queer culture.”

After these accusations, Swift came to Instagram to explain why she used this term as the title of her song, saying, “I happened upon the phrase ‘Lavender haze’ when I was watching Mad Men, and I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool, and it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the 50s where they would just describe being in love, like if you were in the ‘lavender haze’ then that meant that you were in that all-encompassing love glow, and I thought that was really beautiful.”

All of Swift’s songs seem to paint a story or talk about something she has gone through in her life. A song that caught my eye on the album is track number 11 titled “Karma”, my theory is that this song is about rapper Kanye West and talent manager Scooter Braun. For background information, in 2009 at the VMA’s, West came on stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for video of the year, and interrupted by saying “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best of all time!” Then in 2016, West included vulgar lyrics aimed at Swift in his song ‘Famous’, claiming that Taylor had approved of the lyrics.

Swift’s feud with Scooter Braun, stems from her Master Records being sold to Braun in 2019 for 300 million dollars with no rights to Swift. This upset Taylor because according to U.S. copyright law when an artist records music, they have rights to the master recordings and publishing rights. Swift came to the social media site Tumblr to release a statement calling Braun a “manipulative bully.” While this situation was all happening, West was being managed by Braun, so I think she decided to include both of them in the same song.

In the first lyrics of this song, Swift uses the line “You’re talking sh*t for the hell of it/ Addicted to betrayal, but you’re relevant”, immediately throwing shade at what I would assume to be Kanye West. Another lyric that fits the description of West interrupting Swift during the 2009 VMAs in this song is, “You’re terrified to look down ‘cause if you dare, you’ll see the glare of everyone you burned just to get there.” She later uses the lyrics “Trick me once, Trick me twice”, I believe this refers to the two major feuds she had with West.

When Swift uses the lyrics “spider boy, king of thieves”, I noticed that the word Spider-Boy hides the initials of Scooter Braun (SB), and including king of thieves, I believe she is referring to Braun stealing her master records.

Track number eight, ‘Vigilante Sh*t’, I also believe it could be about rapper Kanye West. When she uses the lyrics “Now she gets the house, gets the kids, gets the pride/ Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife.” I feel as if she is referring to the divorce of West and his ex-wife. Court documents have shown that West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian got to keep their $60 million home. After their divorce, Kim Kardashian was spotted driving a Mercedes Benz, which I believe she is referring to when she uses the lyrics “she looks so pretty drivin’ in your Benz.”

On Swift’s 3 a.m. edition of the ‘Midnights’ album, track number 19 ‘Would’ve, could’ve, Should’ve’, has a very deep meaning behind it. When Swift was 19 years old, she dated 32-year-old songwriter John Mayer. I believe this song is about being groomed by an older man using the lyrics, “I damn sure would’ve never danced with the devil at 19… Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” Ironically Swift released this song as track number 19 at 32 years old, the age that Mayer was when she dated him at 19 years old.

If Swift is referring to these individuals in these songs, I think this was an iconic power move on her part, turning something negative into a great success.

When Swift came to Instagram to announce the song title to track number four, ‘Snow-On The Beach’ featuring Lana Del Ray, many fans were super excited about this collaboration. When the album was released, fans were left disappointed in the song, due to the fact that Lana was just used as back-up vocals in the song and not given a verse. I personally still enjoyed this song, but I think it would’ve sounded nice if Lana Del Ray’s vocals were made more clear and included a verse in the song.

My favorite song on Swift’s new album is track number six ‘Midnight Rain’, this song features a mysterious voice at the beginning of the track, which is actually Swifts voice being pitched down. This song throws all of her songs about being heartbroken to the side because in this song she is now the one doing the heartbreaking, using the lyrics “he wanted it comfortable/ I wanted that pain/ He wanted a bride/ I was making my own name/ Chasing that fame/ He stayed the same/ All of me changed/ Like midnight.” I believe that she is referring to choosing her own career over a relationship she had in the past, she left a “comfortable” relationship for her career.

As an avid fan of Taylor Swift or so-called “swiftie”, if I had to rank my top five favorite songs from this album, I would choose

1. Track six ‘Midnight Rain’
2. Track 11 ‘Karma’
3. Track one ‘Lavender Haze’
4. Track nine ‘Bejeweled’
5. Track seven ‘Question…?’

When asking fellow “Swiftie” student Ellie Nickoli her opinion on the album, she responded with “Midnights is a wonderful blend of everything she is good at. The album has the lyrical complexity of folklore, the synth-pop of 1989 and the angst of reputation. She spends most of the album reflecting on all of the different choices she made, why, and how they affected her. Some of my personal favorites from the album aren’t on the standard edition, but the “3 AM Version.” A deluxe version where she worked with The National’s Aaron Dessner. In the song titled, ‘Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve’, she reflects on the relationship she had at age nineteen with a thirty-two-year-old John Mayer. She goes into how a relationship like that affects you into your adulthood. ‘Bigger than the Whole Sky’, where it touches on grief and what it’s like to live without someone you thought you would get to have. Many women have taken comfort in this song as it reminds them of what could have been after having a miscarriage. The album covers a number of different emotions and has a song for a number of different situations humans experience. There is a song for everyone on this album.”

Other students had different opinions on the album, “I honestly wasn’t blown away by it, but my favorite song is ‘mastermind’,” said Ashland University student, Bella Fredritz.

“I think it was more of a moody vibe from her. It’s for people who are wanting a calm, poetic reflection on certain feelings. My favorite song from the album is ‘you’re on your own, kid’ because it just hits home in some ways I can heavily relate to,” said Ashland University student Lauren Gulden about the ‘Midnghts’ album.

Overall I think this album is a success and has very similar vibes to Swift’s previous album ‘1989’.

Rolling Stone Magazine called ‘Midnights’ an “instant classic”, giving it a five-star review.

I would also go as far as saying I give this album a five-star rating.

You can now stream ‘Midnights’ on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Pandora Music.