At midnight on Oct. 21, Taylor Swift released her new 13-track album entitled “Midnights.” Shortly after, a “special very chaotic surprise,” as Swift called it, of seven more songs — titled the “3 am Tracks” — were then unsurprisingly released at 3 a.m. Together, the two come to form ‘Midnights: 3am Edition,” a collection of 20 new songs that are a truly spectacular set of stories representing those nights when thoughts leave you staring at the ceiling.
Anyone looking for the “old Taylor” will find artifacts of her old albums throughout this new one, but “Midnights” truly represents how Swift has grown as an artist and a person.
Swift has gone through hell from the media and public perception of her character, and as a result, the last few years have shown several reinventions of her music from “Reputation” to “Red (Taylor’s Version).” However, with the releases of “Folklore,” “Evermore” and now this album, a steady trend has come from her music, showing a growth from the jilted love songs of old to a new artist who uses her music to tell stories through shattering lyrics.
While I have been a fan of Taylor Swift all my life, “Folklore” and “Evermore” were my top favorites — however, they now share the title with “Midnights: 3am Edition.” The 20 new songs might not beat out my love for “Folklore,” but they prove Swift’s talent lies not only in her singing but also in her writing.
One of the more impressive feats of the album is how these new songs perfectly encapsulate the feelings of lying awake at night, feeling lonely and overthinking; then, the next second thinking about all you love. Really any thought that has kept you up at night feels like it’s represented in these songs.
The way the songs are ordered feels like a story in itself, following the trainwreck of thoughts someone can swing between in one sleepless night. The story behind this album is Swift’s own sleepless nights where thoughts kept her awake. As a result, the album feels like a look into her own life. Any listener can find at the very least one song they relate to, if not multiple, especially when they stop and let the lyrics wash over them.
A good representation of this is my personal top three songs out of the 20. For once, it wasn’t hard to pick favorites because of how strongly I resonated with these three, which speaks even more to how someone can find a song or songs they relate to at an emotional level. Even for the ones that weren’t in my top list, I was able to pick out lyrics that resonated with me.
For my favorites, though, the lyrics jumped and yelled, “This is you!” Like in “You’re On Your Own, Kid,” with the lyric, “everything you lose is a step you take;” "Anti-hero" with the line, “when my depression works the graveyard shift, all the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room” and “Dear Reader” with the lyric "never take advice from someone who is falling apart."
The songs on “Midnights: 3am Edition” aren’t party tracks like “Shake It Off,” but instead are more like audiobooks that you curl up with under a blanket with some tea and just soak them in. Upon first listening, it doesn’t sound like a groundbreaking album (although it did break the Spotify record for most streamed in a single day in less than 24 hours). Still, if a listener takes the time to hear the lyrics, they’ll understand the album's magnificence.
Elizabeth Secor is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @esecor2003
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