This latest album from the singer/songwriter is about her reclaiming the type of music she wants to make and to do it on her own terms.
Understated but filled with quality in terms of the songwriting skills that are once again on display, it is clear from this album that while Taylor Swift is subtly returning to the genre of pop – this is not an album that is about getting as many number ones as possible. This is a record that is about making music for the love of music and doing it on her own terms.
Midnights is filled with a blend of songs, many of which have a haunting and poetic quality about them that feels slightly similar to ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’ but with a slightly warmer rhythm to them that keeps the listener on their toes. With songs such as ‘Lavender Haze’ and ‘Maroon’, it is clear that she is still filled with inspiration and her use of language to express feelings and emotions in a unique and distinctive way – but there is also a sense that you need to listen to this album more than once in order to really delve deep into the meanings of these songs. I do feel in particular on these two tracks there is slightly too much reliance on synth sounds that while effective to an extent threaten to overpower her delicate vocals.
Elsewhere, there is a sense of more of an edge and sharpness to the album that makes the listener sit up and pay attention. In particular, songs such as ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Question…?’ feel more challenging and a little bit more catchy, adding extra depth to an album that can on occasion be in danger of feeling slightly cold. This is not to say that there is not emotion to be found in the lyrics and of course it is credit to Swift’s strong songwriting capabilities that the album is engaging to listen to – but in terms of the way in which the songs have been produced can be soulless in places.
This being said, there are some stellar songs that are particularly enjoyable to listen to including the catchy ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid’ – which is never overpowering and soars in just all of the right places to make it consistently enjoyable. This could also be said for the dazzling ‘Bejeweled’ that fits into the album nicely and proving to be one of the album’s strongest songs.
Overall, it is an album that is filled with pleasing contrasts and it is distinctive in contrast to so many albums that are being released at the moment and feels extremely original.
By Emma Clarendon