By Taylor Kane, Staff Writer
Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, Midnights, was released on October 21st at midnight EST. It’s packed with 20 songs, 13 released in the original album and 7 in the addition Midnight (3am), establishing an obvious pun pattern in the names that I can’t help but respect. Fans – or “Swifties” – from around the school have reported that the album was objectively good, but not “good by Taylor standards”. So, out of curiosity, I sat myself down and listened to some 40-odd minutes of an artist I hadn’t heard since middle school.
I will admit that I went into the album with the expectation to not hear anything my speed, but Swift managed to pack so many different styles into just 13 songs that it’d be difficult for anyone to not find something to enjoy. I started the album from the beginning with “Lavender Haze” and, based on only the first minute of it, I settled in for an album full of snappy rhythms and articulated lyrics.
I was wrong to do so. I quickly found myself rolling through a number of sub-genres of pop music – ranging from wistful requiems to an ex in the case of “Questions…?” to “Vigilante Sh*t”, which I can best describe as a villain monologuing with inspiration from Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”. Swift also experimented with disco-pop in Lavender Haze – my personal favorite – which featured a dark, strong beat with Swift’s full voice perfectly timed to it. “Snow on the Beach”, featuring Lana Del Rey, switched gears into gentle dream-pop complete with soft voices and pleasant background music, though I do have to critique the song’s distinct lack of Lana Del Rey. I will admit that despite Del Rey’s distinct absence, Swift did manage to create a song that sounds nothing short of an homage to Del Rey’s 2012 album, Paradise.
Throughout the album, Swift switches between two styles of singing: soft and breathy, to full and rich. Between the two, I greatly prefer the latter. Swift has remarkable vocal skill and capability that I think is better showcased when she utilizes its depth and resonance. I can appreciate the effect of her feathery tones, such as in “Bejeweled” in which it exuded confidence in her own femininity and beauty, but I am of the impression that she is a stronger singer when she uses her voice’s sonorous potential.
Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the album. Even as someone that is not particularly fond of Swift’s usual brand of pop, the album’s smooth variation between styles allowed even me to personally enjoy the music beyond only an objective appreciation for skill. In fact, Midnight’s breadth of techniques makes it difficult to think that anyone wouldn’t be able to find a song they couldn’t appreciate on some level. I do recommend giving it a listen – even if you have better control over your own curiosity than I do, which is highly likely.