The last time I listened to Taylor Swift was in middle school. I had not stayed up-to-date with her music until I bought "Midnights." Regardless, I was interested in the album (primarily due to its name), and I went in with some expectations. After listening to the album, I would say that it met my expectations to some degree but left much to be desired.
My primary expectation was that the album would have a dreamy vibe that one would typically associate with midnight. My associations with midnight are tranquility and creativity. To some degree, "Midnights" does embody these associations, especially with songs such as "Lavender Haze," "Maroon" and "Snow on the Beach."
"Lavender Haze" is a dreamy song named after a phrase that means "to be in love." This phrase was coined by the show "Mad Men." The breathy vocals in the chorus represent the sigh of a romantic, and the instrumentals perfectly complement the song's mood.
"Maroon" is a song wrought with imagery that makes you want to lie in bed and close your eyes as your mind paints vivid images of the lyrics. One lyric that stood out to me in this respect was, "Carnations that you thought were roses, that was us." It instantly made me think of the meanings associated with both flowers, passionate love and true love. This song is a sensual dream that pulls the listener in with soft instrumentals.
"Snow on the Beach" is another favorite of mine. It is in my top spot for the best song in this album. It uses its calm instrumentals and low vocals to create a wistful atmosphere that makes one instantly think of snow. It also fits very well with the dreamy vibe created by "Lavender Haze" and "Maroon."
However, some songs conflicted with these dreamy vibes, such as "Vigilante Shit" and "You're On Your Own, Kid." When it comes to "Vigilante Shit," the vocals are powerful and have a certain sense of danger within them that moves the listener and pumps them up, but the instrumentals do not do them any justice. They are very low and reserved, contrasting the confident and energetic nature of the lyrics, making the song more underwhelming than it should be. In "You're On Your Own, Kid," the main problem lies in the transitions between the verses and chorus. The instrumentals and verses work to build suspense, but the transition to the chorus is underwhelming. I love the lyrics in this song, but the suspense leads the listener on and kills the song's vibe in the process.
Since I bought "Midnights (3am Edition)," I got seven extra songs with the original thirteen. Unfortunately, most of the songs in the "Midnights (3am Edition)" had the same problem as songs in the original edition; they were underwhelming and needed to fit better with the midnight theme. There are some good songs among the seven bonus songs, such as "Paris," "High Infidelity" and "Dear Reader," that I felt would have fit the theme better. However, the rest of the songs were underwhelming, with only a few good qualities, like the last minute and a half of "Would've, Could've, Should've."
If there is one phrase that can summarize "Midnights," it would be "weird but beautiful." Although many songs were underwhelming, some had potential. Some songs are just fine, with no good or bad qualities to write home about. A couple of songs I did like embodied the theme of midnight rather well and were compelling. This album is not the best, but there are some gems that are worth listening to.