After two years of re-recording her music, Taylor Swift has finally returned with original songs for her 10th studio album, Midnights. In a historic release, Midnights has already smashed streaming records and has become this year’s best-selling album. Swift has proven once again that she is on top of the music industry, whether it be re-recording albums from a decade ago, randomly dropping a surprise release, or releasing an album she canceled years ago. She has shown that she will always come out on top.
Swift was inspired by 13 sleepless nights in her life for the production of her latest release. She described the journey with her album, saying, “These 13 songs are a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams.” Midnights emphasizes reflection more than innovation, as Swift returns to pop to describe the trials and tribulations of love, life, and navigating her insecurities and self-criticisms. She invites us to hear the introspection of her deepest feelings, as she painfully states that “life is emotionally abusive.”
Midnights is Swift’s first album to be recorded entirely with Jack Antonoff, whom she has worked closely with for years. It plays with a mixture of electronica, synth-pop, dream pop, and chill-out music to create a moody, reflective vibe. This is seen throughout the setlist as she experiments with grooves and vintage synthesizers in tracks like “Lavender Haze” and “Midnight Rain.” Drawing from 1970s fashion and aesthetics, Swift creates a glamorous visual effect for this album through her music videos. Differentiating from her folkish style on her previous sister albums Folklore and Evermore, Swift brings back the glitz and glam for Midnights.
After two months of building up anticipation for her newest album in a traditional roll-out through a TikTok series called Midnights Mayhem, where Swift revealed the album’s track list through one random selection at a time, Swift added to the excitement by teasing a “very chaotic surprise” that would occur hours after the release of Midnights.
This surprise manifested into an extended version of the album, titled Midnights, (3am Edition). It features seven new songs that were written for but ultimately excluded from Midnights. Swift could not help but share them as her fascination with “vault” songs has led her to spoil her fans with tons of new tracks with each new release of an album. Arguably the most beloved song coming from these tracks is the gut wrenching “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” which many are claiming to be her best song from the entire album.
Midnights had the biggest first week for any album this year, as it almost doubled the number of sales of the previous title holder, Harry’s House by Harry Styles. Coming in with a high of 72.5 million streams, Midnights absolutely smashed the Spotify record for the most single-day streams for an album on the first day of its release. It now holds the title for the third most streams in a single week by an album ever. In the U.S., Midnights has become 2022’s fastest and best-selling album, along with logging the highest vinyl sales week of the 21st century.