By Paige Duane
Midnights by Taylor Swift marks the first entirely new album the singer has released since beginning the rerecording process of her earlier works. With songs detailing the romances, scandals, and triumphs of her career, Swift once again demonstrates her masterful storytelling skills through her music. The following list will rank each of the songs, including the seven bonus tracks that were released following the initial publication of the album.
20. Vigilante Sh*t
A declaration of vengeance, Vigilante Sh*t boldly calls out her opponents for
Delving into darker sounds and lyrics, Vigilante Sh*t is sonically reminiscent of her sixth studio album, Reputation. Many fans praise it for its unique nature, seeing as it differs greatly in tone compared to other songs on the album. However some of the lyrics, especially the opening line “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man” fall flat and come off as dated. For this reason, it is last on the list.
19. Dear Reader
One of the 3 am bonus songs, Dear Reader is an exploration of Swift’s past experiences. Posing her anxieties as warnings for the audience, she cautions her listeners to avoid the pitfalls she faced in her career. A melancholic reflection of her life, lyrically Dear Reader is strong, however gets lost amidst the experimental sounds of the album.
The ninth track on the album, Question…? is a catchy song about regret. It juxtaposes a memorable track with the universal anxiety of looking back on past choices. In an hypothetical conversation with a former partner Swift imagines how he would respond to a recap of their relationship. It is a fun, but contrite scrutinization of how different choices led to their parting of ways.
17. Midnight Rain
A retrospection of a love lost, in Midnight Rain Swift looks back on a path that she turned down in pursuit of fame. This song analyzes the relationship between Swift and a former partner, comparing him to “sunshine” and herself to “midnight rain”. Weighing both her options, Swift decides that in the end that she made the correct choice, but acknowledges that she sometimes wishes that she could change her decision. This song is perfect for moments spent agonizing over what could have been.
16. Sweet Nothings
A soft piano ballad, Sweet Nothings bears a striking difference to the other up-tempo songs on the album. One of the final two songs on the standard version of the album, Sweet Nothings does a good job of wrapping up Midnights. It eases the listeners into the conclusion of the album with simple lyrics and gentle music.
A fun song about the beauty of a love hidden from the public eye, the song Paris harkens back to the cheerful synth pop sounds of her 1989 era. Its bubbly lyrics mirror the giddy eagerness of a relationship in its early stages. It stands out from other songs on the album as a song about a relationship unburdened by fear and hesitation.
Another 3 Am bonus track, Glitch is about falling in love despite all odds. Sampling music from “Hard Feelings/Loveless” by New Zealand pop singer Lorde, Glitch is one of the more experimental sounding songs on the album. It pairs unconventional sounds with heart-felt lyrics to make one of the most unique songs on the album.
An upbeat electro pop song, Karma is the most playful song on the album. It juxtaposes her positive view of karma with her enemies at last receiving comeuppance for their misdeeds. Flaunting her success and happiness, the song is about confidence and accepting positive energy.
With bubbly and vibrant lyrics, Swift proves in this song that despite her 3 year hiatus in the genre, she still can create a catchy pop song. Bejeweled is a bubbly anthem about understanding self-worth. It definitely deserved to be featured in the singer’s latest music video.
11. Lavender Haze
The opening song for the album, Lavender Haze starts the album on an upbeat note. It mix-matches 1950’s expressions with 2022 ideals, creating a timeless love song with a modern feel. Though it may not be the best song on the album, it was definitely the perfect choice for the opening track.
Sultry and smooth, Maroon describes a love characterized by passion. Swift’s vocal performance within the song is absolutely stunning, showcasing her lower range. The song is an interesting tonal shift that helps transition listeners into the moodier songs on the album.
9. Bigger Than the Whole Sky
Bigger than the Whole Sky is definitely the saddest song on the album. Describing a brief, but meaningful encounter, the song tells the story of a relationship cut short by external factors. Many have interpreted it to be about the loss of a loved one or the end of a friendship. It perfectly captures the regret of losing a valued connection.
Anti-Hero is a song for all those who stay up late overthinking interactions and agonizing over decisions. A vulnerable deep dive into Swift’s insecurities, the song draws to mind odd, nightmarish visuals. The fever dream-esque lyrics help convey feelings of alienation that Swift has endured throughout her career.
7. High Infidelity
With clear influences from Swift’s album Evermore, High Infidelity tells the story of blurred lines and star crossed love. Its quick tempo but tragic lyrics are a familiar hallmark of Swift’s writing. Its complex lyricism makes it one of the strongest bonus tracks that were included in the 3 AM addition of the album.
A song full of metaphors and double meanings, Labyrinth details a nerve racking descent into love. The ethereal production and soft vocals masterfully convey the depth of the lyrics. It is a touching moment of insight into Swift’s current relationship.
5. The Great War
Comparing love to a battleground, Swift describes the nuances of her relationship through an extended metaphor. Mimicking the sound of revolutionary era battle drums and field trumpets, the music further ties into the theme of her relationship being a war. It describes the conflicts and chaos of romance, however ultimately concludes on the positive note as she calls a truce with her partner and they begin to make reparations. The Great War is definitely one of the strongest bonus tracks and stands out for its originality.
4. Snow on the Beach
Though many listeners were disappointed to see that Lana Del Rey only sang backup vocals on the song, her song writing influence is very prevalent in Snow On the Beach. Combining elements of Swift’s album Evermore and Lana Del Rey’s Norman F**king Rockwell, Snow on the Beach evokes dreamlike imagery to describe the subtle, but strange feeling of falling in love. Its storytelling is both engaging and visceral.
Mastermind details the effort and anxiety involved in creating a relationship. Swift describes hours spent “scheming like a criminal” and “laying the groundwork” for her desired relationship. Anyone who has ever meticulously planned out interactions will definitely relate to this song.
2. You’re on Your Own Kid
You’re on Your Own Kid delves into the awkward stage in between adolescence and maturity. Reflecting on the anxieties of youth and peering into the isolation of adulthood, Swift recalls her fear of coming of age in the public eye. As the song progresses to the bridge, the music builds, amplifying the anger and loneliness embodied by the lyrics.
1. Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve
A soul crushing song about Swift’s experiences as a young woman in Hollywood, the fact that this song isn’t on the main album is a crime. Reflecting on her early career, Could’ve Would’ve Should’ve is a retrospective piece released thirteen years after the events she discusses in the song. Encapsulating her anguish, vulnerability, and regret, the bonus track allows us insight to a memory that keeps her up at night. Including gut wrenching lines such as “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” and “now that I know, I wish you’d left me wondering”, the song perfectly expresses her suppressed anger about the manipulation she experienced in her early years as a singer.
Honorable mention: Hits Different
Hits Different is a bonus track exclusive to the Target Editions of the CDs and Records. The song is yet to reach streaming services, however the clips that have surfaced on social media sound promising. A catchy song about the peaks and pitfalls of romance, the lyrics are fun and upbeat. The song will definitely be worth a listen once it is released on all platforms.