CCA Pulse Magazine
Meet Me at Midnight | Willa Norvell
The highly anticipated album “Midnights” was released on October 21st at exactly 12 am eastern time. Taylor Swift has teased us far too long for this, from easter eggs in her commencement speech at NYU to using BINGO to reveal song name. Millions of fans across the world waited on Spotify, crashing the largest music streaming service with the eagerness of being summoned to their leader. I myself was sitting in the crowd of a Conan Gray concert and at exactly 9 pm, there was a cacophony of scattered shrieks and cheers, followed by a collective sigh of relief. Here is a breakdown of each of the original thirteen tracks and my personal thoughts:
Lavender Haze - As the first track on the album, Lavender Haze sets the mood for what listeners should expect of the piece. Midnights is a piece about love, insecurities and reflection, or as Swift has revealed, those thoughts that keep us from falling asleep at night. In comparison to her past work, this song sounds like it may have been sampled off of I Think He Knows from the Lover album.
Maroon - It is clear that someone once told Taylor that red was her color and she stuck with it. Maroon has puzzled many fans though, causing them to struggle in theorizing who the number is about. In my opinion, the most likely answer is Jake Gyllenhal after his association with the Red album, but it could also be a general piece written in inspiration of all her past relationships.
Anti Hero - Being the most played song universally, Anti Hero has presented some interesting one liners, such as “Sometimes I feel like everybody’s a sexy baby” and “It’s me (dramatic pause) Hi.” The first line is a 30 Rock reference, explaining her struggles with body dysmorphia and visual insecurity. The second phrase has been criticized as a moment of cringe worthy writing, but even so, other excerpts balanced it with brilliance. One example of this is a subtle reference to “mirrorball” when she says “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror.”
Snow On the Beach - To everyone’s surprise, this exciting collaboration with Lana Del Rey somehow seemed to avoid Lana Del Rey all together? Some fans claim to hear her breathe in certain parts of the chorus, but overall, her participation seemed minimal to non-existent. Hopefully, in the future Taylor’s co-writers at least get a single verse.
You’re On Your Own, Kid - The bridge of track five is heartbreaking, resonating with every single person who never felt like they truly fit in one place when they were little. I also feel as though this song will be closest to the hearts of many high school seniors who are moving on in their lives this year to college and other independent landmarks in life. One of the best sobbing in your room moments from this work.
Midnight Rain - After listening to the album multiple times, the intro to Midnight Rain reigns superior to all other beginnings. What some listeners fail to recognize is that one reason Taylor has stayed on top is her willingness to experiment and take a chance on new music styles, and a new tech based theme worked in her favor immensely. Other pop artists could certainly take notes on how to mix it up occasionally.
Question…? Fans believe that this song was sampled off of Taylor’s Out of the Woods from 1989 album, the same release that revolved around Harry Styles. However, many listeners have brought up the suggestion that Taylor is hinting at Karlie Kloss, a former best friend who was rumored to be romantically involved with Swift. The true story behind the track is entirely unknown as of right now, but it is possible that the genius will speak soon about its meaning.
Vigilante Sh*t - Vigilante sounds almost as if it was accidentally cut from the original list of reputation tracks. Nonetheless, its addition to Midnights must be purposeful, contributing a darkly motivated side of Taylor that has been latent since 2017. Time to get out your sharp eyeliner and bodycon wardrobe because she is dressing up for revenge.
Bejeweled - Her pop hit “Bejeweled” was ridiculed nearly immediately by fans for allegedly being the next Me!, but while the two songs sound similar, I would never group them. Me! featured Brendon Urie, a male vocalist who created the romantic dynamic. Bejeweled is a self confidence number where Taylor reconciles with what she really deserves, realizing her true worth.
Labyrinth - Personally, this song did not stick out to me. In fact, it is almost my skip song because of how generic the concept is. I expected a track with a title so psychologically adjacent to be slightly more complex, but it took the same love course as always. It’s a pass for me.
Karma - This song is for every girl getting over a horrible relationship and knows that she has nothing to worry about because karma is on her side. To Taylor, “Karma” is a direct dig at Scooter Braun, her past manager and controlling figure in the beginning of her career. After leaving his advisory, Braun’s career has become seriously tainted, so she has absolutely no issues taunting it. After all, she’s got a reputation to carry on.
Sweet Nothing - As enlightened as the public believes themselves to be about Taylor and Joe Alwyn’s relationship with one another, this song captures her admiration for her partner in a simple, loving verse. Sweet Nothing reveals when she realizes that a relationship should not expect anything in return, just the loving presence of a partner.
Mastermind - I do not think that the placement of this song could have been any better. Taylor is a mastermind, and she’s just reminding us that her pocketbook agenda does not have an ending page. Everything from her career to her love life is planned out so far in advance that the planets have to change the course of their rotations to astrologically align with the vibe of her future albums. Her lyrics somehow acted as a cliffhanger for more hidden clues to come.
I’m sure that all of my opinions are going to change within the next 24 hours, and then again the next day, but her music will always be record breaking. To all of those who are going to argue that this piece was a let down, keep in mind that she is still a pop musician. There will likely not be another album like folklore or evermore, and her experimentation is one reason she has remained relevant and admired. Congratulations Taylor, and we will meet you at midnight sometime again.