Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” lands as boldest, most personal project to date

Trisha Dasgupta, General Life & Arts Reporter

In her tenth studio album “Midnights,” released Oct. 21, Taylor Swift delivered 20 pop songs  exploring passionate stories of love, heartbreak, revenge and grief.

Created in collaboration with frequent writing partner and producer, Jack Antonoff, “Midnights” provides a sonic continuation of sounds that Swift and Antonoff first explored in 2017’s “reputation” and 2019’s “Lover.” Heavy on the synths, the album draws clear inspiration from other collaborators of Antonoff’s, such as Lorde and The 1975. 

The album’s lead single “Anti-Hero” lyrically reminds audiences of Swift’s country roots. Singing about her insecurities and struggles with mental health on songs like “Anti-Hero” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” Swift does what she does best — sing about her most personal experiences while invoking the most shared, universal emotions. 

The standouts of the album include “Maroon,” “Labyrinth” and “Mastermind” that impress sonically and lyrically. These tracks show Swift at her absolute best, with strong vocals and even stronger lyrics over perfect pop melodies. 

However, that’s not to say that the album doesn’t slip into the corniness that sometimes taints Swift’s poppiest songs. Songs like “Vigilante Shit” and “Bejeweled” make low points of the album with lyrics such as “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man” that seem like Swift pulled the words off of a corporation’s Twitter account or a design on a Target coffee mug. 

Of the seven bonus tracks, “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” makes a clear highlight. Swift’s passionate vocals coupled with remarkable production from Aaron Dessner make for a stunning track. Swift pens some of her most personal lyrics, battling even 2021’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” on this song, singing “Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts / Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.”

Throughout the past decade and a half, Swift released hit album after hit album, cementing herself as an artist known for her intimate lyricism and genre bending productions. Swift’s tenth studio album holds some of her riskiest choices to date. While some of those risks pay off and others don’t, they show her ability to constantly evolve and grow as a songwriter and musician. “Midnights” is possibly Swift’s most personal and daring project to date, with bold confessional pop that any long-time Swiftie or pop enthusiast will find thrilling. 

3.5 snow-covered beaches out of 5.