Midnights (3am edition) album review


Lydia Tong

Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album, released Oct. 21, 2022, with 13 tracks. It had been 679 days since she released her last non-rerecorded album, “Evermore”.

Lavender Haze

Ella: The excitement I felt while listening to a brand new Taylor Swift album distracted me from finding any flaws with this song on my first listen. To me, the track feels less like an instant classic and more like an upbeat way to begin the Midnights era. It sets the tone for the rest of the album as distinctly pop, and Swift’s lyrics provide an update on her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn and how they block out distractions to stay in a “Lavender Haze” with each other.
Favorite Lyric: “I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say”

Rating: 5/10

Lydia: This song got a lot of hate online for being the opening track; however, I think the first lyric “Meet me at midnight” tied in perfectly with Swift’s 2022 VMA speech and satisfied Swifties’ listening experience. “Lavender Haze” has a similar melody to “I Think He Knows”, one of my favorites from Swift’s Lover album, and I look forward to seeing how she incorporates the songs during her tour. Unfortunately, the lyricism in this song is a bit messy (especially in the verses), but the overall rhythm brings a majestic and fantastical feel (just like Lover).
Favorite Lyric: “Talk your talk and go viral / I just need this love spiral”

Rating: 5.5/10


Ella: This was immediately one of my favorites from the album. It was interesting to view the song as the definition of the word maroon (a darker red) and also a darker version of Swift’s 2012 song “Red.” (Also, both “Maroon” and “Red” are track twos, and Taylor Swift doesn’t do things by accident). The slow bass in the verse had a sadder feel, but then the soaring chorus brought the song to a new level. The descriptions of New York City and dark lyrics perfectly told the story of the tumultuous relationship in this song.
Favorite Lyric: “Laughing with my feet in your lap / Like you were my closest friend”

Rating: 8.5/10

Lydia: Top five for sure. This song was so perfectly crafted, the melody is better than life itself, and I’m still in love with it. Swift creates an environment where one moment you’re living vicariously through a “perfect” relationship, but in just a second, you feel anger, resentment, and humiliation. Swift has always given me a rollercoaster of emotions, but this one was over the top, and I loved everything about it. A lot of people (ahem Ella) say “Maroon” fits Swift’s Red album; however, “Maroon” is 100% from Reputation. I stand by this. The darkness of the lyrics, combined with Swift’s (lovely) harsh tone is brought out by this song. I screamed and cried when I heard this for the first time. Also, “Maroon” is strikingly similar to “King of My Heart” from Reputation, also one of my favorites.
Favorite Lyric: “The mark they saw on my collarbone / The rust that grew between telephones / The lips I used to call home / So scarlet, it was maroon”

Rating: 100/10


Ella: I loved the music video for this song, but I’m sad to admit that I’m slightly sick of the song itself. However, I suspect that my rating will increase once I get a break from the “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem” clip that’s gone viral on TikTok. The idea behind this song is so interesting and even though being one of the most famous people in the world is a pretty unique struggle, Swift still maintains her signature relatability with lyrics about anxiety and self-hatred. Jury’s still out for this one.
Favorite Lyric: “I’ll stare directly in the sun but never in the mirror”

Rating: 5.7/10

Lydia: Now, I’m not going to lie, whenever I hear the opening beats (which are oddly familiar to Sunflower from Into the Spider Verse), I want to rip my ears out. That might seem a little bit harsh, but Swift’s lyricism stoops to an all time low, like what is “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.” I am beyond disappointed with this song, but I do bop my head sometimes. The 3 in my rating is extremely generous.
Favorite Lyric: “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby”

Rating: 3/10

Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)

Ella: I knew this song would be incredible as soon as Swift announced the Lana Del Ray feature. Of course I was sad when I could barely hear Lana whispering in the chorus, but now that I’ve listened to the song no less than a million times I’ve come to terms with it. The plucky sounds at the beginning of the song remind me of falling snowflakes and the entire song feels like I’m floating around in a cloud. One of my favorite things about this song is the irony in Swift singing the f-word with such delicate, enchanting vocals (“Weird but f***ing beautiful”). At the end of the day, no bad could ever come from a Taylor Swift/Lana Del Ray collab.
Favorite Lyric: “Stars by the pocketful / You wanting me / Tonight / Feels impossible”

Rating: 10/10

Lydia: When I saw Lana featured on the track, I screamed. Like my mother ran and asked if I was okay. Was I thoroughly disappointed when Lana was just on the back track? Yes. Was I still glad her voice was somewhere on the track? Yes. Did I cry the whole song? Yes. Did I burst into more tears when I heard Lana’s very brief and muted voice? Yes. So, overall, Swift could’ve done so much more with Lana, but I am grateful they wrote it together. It’s giving folklore.
Favorite Lyric: “I’ve never seen someone lit from within / Blurring out my periphery”

Rating: 8.2/10

You’re On Your Own, Kid

Ella: I’m very relieved that this song isn’t the total track five sad girl anthem I was expecting. I’m not a huge fan of the melody in the first verse, (hence the -.2 deduction) but the rest of the song completely made up for it. My jaw dropped when I heard the bridge for the first time. The lyrics are still devastating, but in typical Swift fashion end with an encouraging message: “You’re on your own, kid /Yeah you can face this.” Even without knowing the backstory behind every lyric (such as “I searched the party of better bodies” – a reference to Swift’s body image struggles discussed in her Miss Americana documentary), the song’s general themes of loneliness and longing are universal.
Favorite Lyric: “I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss”

Rating: 9.8/10

Lydia: When I heard this for the first time, I immediately thought of Red. The rhythm, the lyrics, everything about it reminds me of my favorite album. From when the “sprinklers started splashing,” I started bawling. This song wrecked me. The lyrics detail how you can put your every effort into being fine, yet still end up a complete mess. It mentioned Swift’s reported eating disorder, and how societal pressure can cause a person to crumble. Also, the last note is the exact. same. as 400 Lux by Lorde’s beginning note. Try the crossfade on Spotify, it’s ethereal. Thank you Jack Antonoff.
Favorite Lyric: “I gave my blood, sweat, and ears for this / I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss”

Rating: 1000/10

Midnight Rain

Ella: I normally can’t stand songs with pitched down vocal effects, so I wasn’t sure how to feel about my favorite artist using a distorted voice. The song is definitely growing on me, but it’s still a relief when she switches back to her natural singing voice in the second chorus. As long as I don’t think too much about James Charles (thanks Lydia), the song is a great combination of Swift’s masterful storytelling and upbeat production.
Favorite Lyric: “I broke his heart cause he was nice”

Rating: 7/10

Lydia: Like many people, I immediately thought of James Charles when I heard Swift’s pitched down voice. Swift is definitely being experimental with musical techniques, including that snare drum (that’s in every single song), and I think it’s really cool how “Midnight Rain” comes together. I think this was in reference to Swift’s childhood boyfriend (from Taylor Swift) or Taylor Lautner. Both “stayed the same” while Swift was “making her own name” in Nashville (P.S Taylor-Taylor reference in making her own name). I also think “Midnight Rain” has the same meaning and lyricism as “The Way I Loved You” in Fearless. The only diminishing factor was Swift’s low pitched voice; it got old fast.
Favorite Lyric: “He wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain / He wanted a bride, I was making my own name / Chasing that fame, he stayed the same”

Rating: 7.892/10


Ella: I love the conversational feel of this song, and while lyrics like “Good girl, sad boy” are a little overdone, a lot of the simpler lyrics like “Can I ask you a question?” are what make the song shine. I agree with Lydia – the applause after “clapping” felt too on the nose. Other than that, no complaints. This song has been stuck in my head for weeks now.
Favorite Lyric: “Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room”

Rating: 9/10

Lydia: Once again, we’re back to good old Harry Styles. We can rewind to New Year’s Day, where Taylor and Harry “kissed in a crowded room”, and “every single of [his] friends were making fun of [him]”. This song also has a very similar cadence and melody with “Out of the Woods”, arguably also about Harry. I loved the rhythm of “Question…?” as well as the lyricism, but the main thing that brought this song’s rating down was the random applause that Swift played after “but fifteen seconds later they were clapping too.” It was aimless and personally, it ruined the flow of the whole song.
Favorite Lyric: “We had one thing goin’ on / I swear that it was somethin’”

Rating: 5.23/10

Vigilante S***

Ella: The sudden bass at the beginning of the song immediately brought me back to being 10 years old, listening to “Look What You Made Me Do” and thinking that it was the greatest song in the world. 10 year-old me is screaming about this callback to reputation era Taylor Swift. This song was what I was expecting “Karma” to be. However, something feels off about this song. My guess is that the verses feel empty with just the beat behind Swift’s voice. Plus, the line “cat eye sharp enough to kill a man” always makes me cringe.
Favorite Lyric: “He was doing lines / And crossing all of mine”

Rating: 7.8/10

Lydia: Oh my god. When I heard the first line of this song, I screamed. Loudly. I was prepared for any sort of reputation song, but I wasn’t ready for this. Even though so many people hate on this song, it’s actually one of my favorites. The lyricism 100% reflects Swift’s relationship with Scooter Braun, whose wife recently divorced him (“Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife”). Braun has also been accused of stealing Swift’s music and money, so we are not fans of him (You can read more about him on our website!). The constant bass and the scattered bits of harmony (“Don’t get sad, get even”) is just bliss to my ears.
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t start s***, but I can tell you how it ends”

Rating: 9.1/10


Ella: A more perfect strutting song has never existed. Out of all the times I’ve listened to Midnights so far, this is one of the only tracks on the album that still feels as fresh as it did the first time I listened. I’m amazed at Jack Antonoff’s ability to make a song feel shimmery. Anyone who denies the pop perfection of this song is lying to themselves. (Runway walk recommended but not required for optimal listening experience.)
Favorite Lyric: “Best believe I’m still bejeweled / When I walk in the room”

Rating: 9/10

Lydia: Wow. Just wow. The Lover that radiates off this song is unreal. The beginning “bejeweling” notes make me so happy, and the whole song just reminds me of Joe x Taylor. This song grew on me a LOT. It didn’t really stand out to me the first time I listened, but after the third listen, I was hooked. Swift does such a good job with the chorus and incorporating the gem-like background sounds. Listening to this never fails to make me smile, and it is the perfect song off this album to blast while driving with the windows down.
Favorite Lyric: “They ask, ‘Do you have a man?’ / I could still say, ‘I don’t remember’”

Rating: 9.7/10

Swift released her “3am Edition”, three hours after “Midnights”. This edition contained seven additional tracks to her album. (Lydia Tong)


Ella: I want to love this song so bad but I simply don’t have the attention span. It really reminds me of “The Archer” which I’m also sometimes too impatient for. I still think it’s a beautiful song, but I have to be in the right headspace to really enjoy it. I’m not a huge fan of the occasional keyboard notes either- they take me out of the song too much. The only real appeal of this song is the poetic lyrics.
Favorite Lyric: “ I thought the plane was going down / How’d you turn it right around?”

Rating: 4/10

Lydia: This song is folklore. And if you know me, you know I love folklore. I actually started sobbing when I listened to this for the first time. Swift’s graceful voice and the little electronic notes ties this whole song together. Listening to this in noise canceling headphones was just a transcendental moment. To make things even more unreal, Swift’s phenomenal brain planned out her NYU commencement speech to feature some of “Labyrinth’s” lyrics (which my mom is a big fan of: “Breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out”). Like “Bejeweled”, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this song when I first listened, but it quickly became one of my favorites.
Favorite Lyric: “Breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out”

Rating: 7.47/10


Ella: I’m still confused about the lyrics in this song. I sing along every time but they’re so different from her writing style on folklore / evermore that it was a little bit of a shock. I appreciate the comic relief after “Labyrinth” though. I expected a lot from this song after seeing Swift’s giggle when announcing the title, and while I don’t hate the song, it’s not the intense rock ballad I was secretly hoping for. At least I now know what to name my hypothetical pet cat. (Karma, after “Karma is a cat, purring in my lap cause it loves me.”)
Favorite Lyric: “Ask me why so many fade, but I’m still here”

Rating: 3.75/10

Lydia: I’m not going to lie, this song got overplayed. To provide some context, I listened to Midnights over and over and over again, but most of the songs didn’t grow old. This one did. Even though “Karma” fits into Lover, I’m not feeling the love. I do enjoy the beginning electronic/glitchy sounds; however, it seems too amateur for Swift.
Favorite Lyric: “Karma is a cat purring in my lap ‘cause it loves me”

Rating: 6.159/10

Sweet Nothing

Ella: Awwwwwww. Taylor Swift and “William Bowrey” (the pen name of Joe Alwyn) songs will always be a step above any other song in existence, ever. The sweet, gentle piano was the perfect break in between all the other uptempo pop tracks. Swift describes the beauty of simplicity and the comfort of having a stable relationship, and the escapist lyrics make the song feel like a lullaby.
Favorite Lyric: “On the way home / I wrote a poem / You say ‘what a mind’ / This happens all the time”

Rating: 7/10

Lydia: I have nothing to say but WILLIAM BOWERY. I REPEAT. WILLIAM BOWERY. I LOVE YOU JOE! Also, unpopular opinion: “Sweet Nothing” is Reputation, it’s so similar to “New Year’s Day.” Fight me on this.
Favorite Lyric: “”You took my heart, and you held it in your mouth”

Rating: 8.3/10


Ella: It’s about time Swift claimed the title of Mastermind. I’m deducting a point because I misheard the lyric “I’m only cryptic and machiavellian cause I care” as saying “machiavellian cause I can be” and I prefer my misheard lyric better. I’ll never get tired of songs with a happy ending, but this one was particularly satisfying. Swift narrates the anxious and strategic thoughts of someone trying to be the “mastermind” in a relationship, only to find out that their partner was aware of their scheming and loved them anyway, not because of some elaborate plan.
Favorite Lyric: “And the first night that you saw me / Nothing was gonna stop me”

Rating: 9/10

Lydia: Ugh, this song is actually a dream. The way Swift sets up this song as a “too good to be true” scene, but we find out through the song that it actually was too good to be true; Swift is a genius. A love matching and musical genius. This song brings a cheek-to-cheek grin to my face, and I strive to be a mastermind like Swift.
Favorite Lyric: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail / Strategy sets the scene for the tale”

Rating: 9.598/10

3 AM

The Great War

Ella: I was just starting to process Midnights when Swift surprise released SEVEN MORE SONGS; so I was slightly lacking in coherent thoughts when I heard this song. Aaron Dessner (the song’s producer) brought the feel of a folklore or evermore song to a 1989 style album which was a perfect transition to the more contemplative “3am Edition” of Midnights. Swift reflects on her past mistakes in her love life and is relieved that “the great war” has finally passed for her and her partner.
Favorite Lyric: “All that bloodshed / Crimson clover”

Rating: 7.6/10

Lydia: I mean, what a song. After a ten minute freakout at 7 a.m. (Swift released these seven songs at 3 a.m.), I started bawling to “The Great War”. Swift creates a narrative where she is the antagonist in this “Great War” of love with her partner. She carries an “ego” and “[draws] the curtains closed”. It’s a devilish and deceptive song, and I’m in love with it. Fortunately, and not in complete Swift fashion, “The Great War” ends on a positive note, with “Cause we survived the Great War” and “I vowed I will always be yours.”
Favorite Lyric: “Broken and blue, so I called off the troops / That was the night I nearly lost you”

Rating: A numerical rating does not exist for this song

Bigger Than The Whole Sky

Ella: This song was immediately added to my mental list of Taylor Swift songs with lyrics so devastating that they physically hurt me to hear; joining songs like “Ronan” and “Soon You’ll Get Better.” I saw a theory online about this song being written about a miscarriage, and honestly I still haven’t recovered. Swift uses simple phrases to narrate a time of deep despair, and articulates how I’ve felt during a loss better than I ever could. Would be a solid 8/10 if it weren’t so depressing to listen to.
Favorite Lyric: “No words appear before me in the aftermath”

Rating: 6.7/10

Lydia: This was one of the iffys. I did not like this song when I first listened to it. I’m not sure if it’s because it had to follow “The Great War” or if it’s just not the best song, but either way, the rating increased just a smidge after listening to it a lot, and I kind of grew into it. Definitely not top 10 though.
Favorite Lyric: “Every single thing to come has turned into ashes”

Rating: 5.9/10


Ella: I can’t hear this song without smiling. This song serves as a reminder that Swift is the queen of making catchy pop songs that still feel original and unique. I laughed at the reference to “You Need to Calm Down” with the line “in the shade, and not the kind that’s thrown.”
Favorite Lyric: “I want to brainwash you into loving me forever”

Rating: 9/10

Lydia: This song flew me to Paris. I think it’s the only song on Midnights with a 1989 feel to it, so I admire Swift’s bravery in the writing process. It has a Y2K feel to it, with Swift’s folklore voice, and I absolutely love it. This bridge was out of this world (further than Paris), and I can’t stop singing.
Favorite Lyric: “I want to transport you to somewhere the culture’s clever / Confess my truth in swooping, sloping, cursive letters”

Rating: 8.791/10

High Infidelity

Ella: I’m slightly embarrassed that the first time I listened to this I thought she was announcing that she and Joe were finally married. No judgments please, I was very tired at this point and I took the lyric “good husband” too literally. However, I now know that she is telling the story of leaving a boyfriend after falling for someone new. (Lydia explains this much better than I do) Problematic maybe but at least she’s self aware. After some Googling, I learned that fidelity is defined as faithfulness, so Swift’s title was most likely meant to mean the opposite: disloyalty to a partner.
Favorite Lyric: “Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life”

Rating: 8/10

Lydia: I’m absolutely adoring Swift’s rebellious and illicit side. After doing some research, it seems pretty clear that this song is about Calvin Harris and how their relationship started deteriorating after 15 months. A crucial line in this song is “Do you really want to know where I was April 29th”, which implies an affair. Swift has said before that one of Harris’s interviews made her feel disrespected and was her breaking point in the relationship. Coincidentally, that interview was about Harris’s then-recent single, “This Is What You Came For,” released April 29th. On the flip side, Swift met her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, at Gigi Hadid’s 21st birthday party, which continued through to the early hours of April 29th.
Favorite Lyric: “Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?”

Rating: 7.69/10


Ella: This song is cute. It’s catchy; not my favorite, but I could see myself really enjoying it if I was in the right mood. A highlight of the song for me is when she says “situation-ship.” I can’t decide if I like the lyric or not. Does it feel too casual for a song or do I just need to work on thinking of Taylor Swift as a normal human who can use words like situation-ship? The reference to “2,190 days” (the same amount of days since her relationship began) is my favorite part of the song.
Favorite Lyric: “But its been 2,190 days of our love blackout”

Rating: 5.7/10

Lydia: Not the biggest fan of this song, mainly because it can’t compare to the other songs on this album. That’s how simple it is. I do love the electronic “glitches” Swift and Antonoff insert into this song, and I appreciate their willingness to explore a different side of music.
Favorite Lyric: “Depending on what kind of mood and situationship I’m in / And what’s in my system”

Rating: 4.1/10

Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve

Ella: AGHHHHHH TAYLOR SWIFT this song is so good it should be illegal. The minor details are what make this song so perfect; such as the song being track 19 – the same age as Swift when she “danced with the devil” aka John Mayer. The guitar and the “Oh” at the beginning of the line “Oh, all I used to do was pray” makes me feel like the main character in a movie, preparing to fight someone to the death. The chorus is impossible to listen to without at least one dramatic scream. “Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” ARE YOU KIDDING? The emotional damage in this song is insane.
Favorite Lyric: “The tomb won’t close / Stained glass windows in my mind / I regret you all the time”

Rating: Literally broke the scale /10

Lydia: Four words: screw you John Mayer.
Favorite Lyric: “God rest my soul / I miss who I used to be … Give me back my girlhood / It was mine first”

Rating: 1000/10

Dear Reader

Ella: If this song had the “Daylight”-esque voice memo situation that I was expecting, it would have been a 10/10, no question. I don’t love the song itself- the melody is a little boring to me but I love how personal the advice feels. It makes me happy to think that Swift is mature enough to reflect on her own experiences and turn her mistakes into words of wisdom. Overall, the song is so-so but the advice brings it up a few points.
Favorite Lyric: “Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart”

Rating: 5.9/10

Lydia: Hm. I don’t really know how to feel about this song. It’s definitely a closing song! Although I don’t enjoy the rhythm and melody of this song as much, the lyrics are so impactful. Swift gives her listeners a guide to life, stuffed with advice that is personal to her. A big one was “If you don’t recognize yourself / That means you did it right,” which is an homage to “Look What You Made Me Do” from Reputation. Swift even adds a life support machine in the back to emphasize that the reinvention of herself was more important to her than we predicted.
Favorite Lyric: “If you don’t recognize yourself / That means you did it right”

Rating: 5.4/10