American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift just dropped her latest studio album ‘Midnights’ on October 21, 2022, and if you didn’t think it was possible for her to break even more records on her 10th one, you were entirely wrong. Though her albums ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ just came out recently in 2020, Swift announced at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards that another album was in the works, and boy did it come fast. The album hasn’t even been out for a week and it has already broken two Spotify records (most streamed album in a single day/most streamed artist in a single day) and has surpassed 1 million streams in the U.S in just three days. The album is a reflection on ‘13 sleepless nights’ throughout Swift’s life and experiments with sounds such as dream pop and hip hop rhythms, noticeably steering away from the alternative folk sound Swift nailed in ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’. Not only did she release ‘Midnights’, but she also released an additional album titled ‘Midnights (3 am Edition)’ that included an extra seven tracks to the original 13, creating a total of 20 tracks. In the United States the album achieved the largest vinyl sales of the 21st century and finished just its first day as the best selling album of 2022.
Swift heavily promoted the album for about a month before its actual release by slowly unveiling the tracklist through a TikTok series titled ‘Midnights Mayhem with Me’ that lasted from September 21 to October 7, 2022. A trailer teasing the visual art for the album as well as a surprise release of seven additional tracks came out on October 20th, just a day before the album was released. The record had been highly anticipated by fans since the initial announcement and they were not at all disappointed by the beautiful work between Swift and her main collaborator Jack Antonoff. Antonoff has been Swift’s collaborator on more than just ‘Midnights’, with his collaborations going back even as far as her fifth studio album ‘1989’ which released back in 2014 before Swift had even left her original record label, Big Machine Records.
In February of 2020, Taylor Swift left her longtime record label Big Machine Records and signed a global publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group. In doing this, Swift began re-recording her back catalog. Since re-recording she’s rereleased albums such as ‘Fearless’ and ‘Red’ and kept the original album title but added ‘(Taylor’s Version)’ onto each record. Though she’s only re-recorded ‘Fearless’ and ‘Red’, Swift plans on re-recording all of her previous albums to get them under her name and not Big Machine Records. This started after Swift had a public dispute with ex-manager Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records when they wouldn’t allow her to purchase the masters of her back catalog, only doing so if she exchanged one master for a brand new album under their name. Swift refused and instead re-recorded the albums under her own name, which drew fans to stream ‘(Taylor’s Version)’ over the originals.
Fans of her albums ‘Reputation’ and ‘Lover’ will find that her new record, ‘Midnights’ shares some of the same lyrical and instrumental qualities. The pop side of Swift is prominent in ‘Midnights’ though she definitely touched on more of the dream pop genre, giving the album an airy, chilled out persona compared to her past two records, which were more folk/alternative with even a splash of country. The record brought light to issues such as self-criticism, anxiety, insecurity, and self-assurance and fans immediately clicked with her relatable lyrics and captivating sounds. Swift found a way to draw light to the fact that, though she is the biggest female artist in the music industry, she still has the same feelings that any average human being has. She’s just as normal as her audience and just because she has the money and the fame, doesn’t mean she gets away without having feelings of insecurities and self-criticism. The album drew her audience even closer to her than they already were before and she gave them another reason to fall in love with her and her lyricism all over again.
Categories: Arts & Culture