Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated, system-crashing new album drops and doesn’t disappoint.

Taylor Swift is a master in building interest around her music. And she put in quite a display when it came to creating buzz around her new album “Midnights.” There’s the MTV-VMA announcement of the album months before, the Tiktok teasers and track-title reveals leading to the release date that it crashed Spotify when the album finally dropped Friday last weekend.

And it is with good reason.

“Midnight” starts off with “Lavender Haze,” with its lo-fi pop and low-end buzz that puts you in the right mood. Like the vibe music on the drive on the way to the club. Next song “Maroon” is equally chill with its drone and echoing vocals.

On lead single “Anti-Hero” Swift sings ‘I have this thing where I get older but I never get wiser / Midnights become my afternoons / when my depression works the graveyard shift, all of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room.’ Later she intones ‘I should not be left to my own devices / they come with prices and vices / I end up in crisis.’

The ‘nocturnal contemplation’ part is actually the concept behind the album. It also gives a peek into Swift’s preferred time to write (nighttime of course), a time wherein all the characters in her songs seem to hang in the air waiting their turn to end up on her page. And while Swift’s vocal melodies seem inherently pop, the harmonic undercurrent of “Anti-Hero” (or the rest of the album for that matter) is morose, mostly defiant, with a hint of paranoia even. Sonically, I hear this particular track like it’s a new wave song, especially with those layers of synth melodies underneath.

Which is to say that Swift totally went synth pop for this outing. There’s the slow build and rise of “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” Meanwhile, the pulsating and elongated sounds of “Vigilante Shit” takes Swift into Lorde territory and also feature some drug references in the lyrics (‘well, he was doin’ lines and crossin’ all of mine / someone told his white-collar crimes to the FBI’). Then it segues to the full-on electronica of “Bejeweled.” In “Labyrinth,” we hear Swift counting the beat at the start before the ever-present keyboard/organ sounds and synth wobbles stacks up to build this dreamy, sonic tower.

Holdovers from Swift’s acoustic opus “Folklore” and “Evermore” includes “Snow On The Beach” featuring Lana Del Ray and charming “Sweet Nothing.”

Swift’s reliable collaborators figure heavily on this album as Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner’s names pop up again on the credits.

Originally packed with 13 songs, Swift released “Midnights (3AM Edition)” the same day and it sports an additional seven tracks that includes more synth-powered songs such as “The Great War,” dream pop tinged “Bigger Than The Whole Sky,” and the 1989-era pop of “Paris.” The bonus section could stand as an EP with its own single-worthy tracks in “High Infidelity,” the minimalist appeal of “Glitch,” alt-folk “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” and “Folklore” era “Dear Reader.”

In all, “Midnights” is one of Taylor Swift’s most massive outputs to date. It’s also one that will take her listeners some time to sift through all to decode. Which we’ll all be glad to do until the next album.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/10/24/audiojunkie-taylor-swift-turn-on-the-moody-atmospherics-on-new-set-midnights/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=audiojunkie-taylor-swift-turn-on-the-moody-atmospherics-on-new-set-midnights)