Jessai Flores

Minutes blur into each other as the clock reads 4:37 a.m. Insecurities that we put to bed years ago continue to haunt us. The silence of the world is deafening. 

We’ve all been here, experiencing our own sleepless nights. And in “Midnights,” Taylor Swift encapsulates these experiences in 13 tracks, inviting us to take an inside look at the things that keep her awake. 

Like her last two albums, Taylor Swift’s newest collection does not necessarily follow dominant pop trends. Instead, her musical and lyrical genius is unique to the stories of her life; it references the other chapters in the Swift-metaverse through a delicious assortment of musical genres. 

Without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of the album’s sexy babies and monsters on the hill.

Lavender Haze

As the starting track of the album, the intro of “Lavender Haze” serves as the introduction of the entire album: “Meet me at Midnight.” The title of the song, as well as its lyrics, refers to the haziness and enthrallment of falling in love, a mood reflected in the sweet and pulsing melody. As Swift croons, “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say,” she alludes to the media attention on her romantic history and declares that she just wants to stay in this immersive cloud of love. 


This is not the first time Swift has titled her songs after a color. But unlike her single “Red,” “Maroon” bears a darker, more sensual tinge to her usual love story. Following the bridge, Swift drops an octave and huskily sings the chorus, delivering the lyrics as if they were dialogue. 


Beautifully described as a “guided tour” of the parts Swift hates about herself, “Anti-Hero” declares bluntly: “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem.” Anti-Hero is arguably the most representative song of the album, with Swift openly discussing how her personal struggles continue to bleed into her life, causing her “midnights [to] become [her] afternoons.” It’s also the song where Swift’s lyrical prowess shows the most: “When my depression works the graveyard shift, all of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room.” However, the use of “sexy baby” in one line received mixed reviews. In my opinion, the line is edgy enough to get its point across: the shock factor is what ultimately grabs our attention and keeps it. 

Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)

While not a personal favorite, “Snow On The Beach” is significant, as it contains the only feature of the album and is a meeting of two talented songwriter/musical storytellers. While Del Rey’s vocals remain almost too minimal to consider it a feature, her soft vocals are heard poignantly in the last chorus. Lyrically, the track compares the moment of falling in love with the “weird but fucking beautiful” image of snow on the beach. Its musicality echoes its lyrical content, as Lana Del Rey and Swift’s layered voices create a dreamy and haunting effect. 

You’re On Your Own, Kid

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is Track 5, a spot often held by the most emotionally honest and tear-jerking song of each Taylor Swift album. The song fulfills this legacy, as Swift tells her younger self: “Everything you lose is a step you take. So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.” This lyrical introspection is a trademark asset of Swift’s, one that is afforded only by her 15-year reign in the spotlight, a weighty feat in the industry. 

Midnight Rain

Like her past two albums, “Midnight Rain” echoes Swift’s mixture of fictional storytelling and references to her own life in her lyricism. Characters from past songs, such as the pageant queens and hometown boys, also make cameos in this song. Lyrically reminiscent of “I Bet You Think About Me” and “The Way I Loved You,” Swift sings of a past lover and the “what-if” scenarios that haunt her: “I never think of him, except on midnights like this.” 

Vigilante Shit

Another kind of haunting appears at night: when Swift isn’t looking back on past romances, her regrets and hurt accumulate into a form of vengeance. “Vigilante Shit” is a revenge anthem, with heavy synths and percussion to rhythmically reflect the anger in the lyricism. Evocative of energy from her Reputation era, “Vigilante Shit” is a reminder to listeners that though Swift has risen above her histories with Scooter Braun and Kanye West, she recognizes their impact on her music and her life. While musically and contextually interesting, “Vigilante Shit”’s lyricism is not Taylor Swift’s best: “Now she gets the house, gets the kid, gets the pride. Picture me as thick as thieves with your ex-wife.” To be frank, it’s a little cheesy. 

Sweet Nothing

After the sequence of vengeful, bad-bitch anthems, Swift switches the atmosphere with a song dedicated to Joe Alwyn, her significant other. One can’t help but view the placement of “Sweet Nothing” as intentional; let’s be honest, what isn’t intentional with Taylor Swift? After focusing on her enemies, Swift sings about the restful and simple nature of her romantic relationship. While the world of “industry disruptors” and “soul deconstructors” is fatiguing, Swift can lower her guard with Alwyn, who expects nothing but “sweet nothings.” 


Yes, another love song — allegedly — dedicated to Alwyn. Through the lyrics, “What if I told you I’m a mastermind? And now you’re mine,” Swift cheekily says to Alwyn: Gotcha! You’ve now succumbed to my love! While Swift orchestrated this romantic destiny, “Mastermind” as the final song to the album suggests that Swift is the dominant mastermind of her artistry, as well. After all, what other artist could fill up the entire Top 10 on the Hot 100? 

And don’t even get me started on the “3am Edition.”