Taylor Swift’s 13 songs from 13 sleepless nights: Midnights rundown

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Nancy Lin ('23)

Lizzie Hastings (‘25) poses next to a Taylor Swift 1989 album cover blanket hung up on her dormitory wall. A die-hard Swiftie, Lizzie is also wearing a sweatshirt of Taylor’s Folklore album. “I will never be the same again,” said Lizzie on Taylor’s new Midnights album. Released on October 21st, the Midnights album has dominated global charts, showing the American sweetheart’s continued success in today’s music industry, supported by longstanding fans and new supporters alike.

Taylor Swift’s announcement of her 10th album, Midnights, announced August 28th, delighted fans all around the world.  

This album follows her re-recording of Red, where she regained ownership of her music after her music was sold without her consent. It is a concept album that reflects on the 13 nights where Taylor sleeplessly attempted to find herself.  

“I think of Midnights as a complete concept album, with those 13 songs forming a full picture of the intensities of that mystifying, mad hour.” @taylorswift wrote on Instagram. 

The transformative album was released at midnight on October 21st, but thanks to the California time zone, Webb students were able to start listening at 9 p.m., leaving the dedicated Swifties with plenty of time to work.  

Before we get into the reviews, let us see what Webbies have to say about the new album. 

“I liked it, I think it was a good mix between 1989, Red, and Reputation,” Emily Thornton (‘25) said. “Personally, I really liked the fact that it was an emotional roller coaster, but I think it’s up to each listener. I really liked “Anti-Hero”, and of course “Snow On The Beach,” but that’s mostly because I like Lana [del Rey] as an independent artist.”   

“I loved it,” Natalia Mosaquites (‘26) said. “Taylor Swift is a Queen! I love “Lavender Haze”, but I’m gonna have to go with “Anti-Hero” for my favorite song.” 

“I think the more you listen to it, the better it gets,” Yuki Layman (‘25) said.  

Unfortunately, not everyone shared a positive review of Midnights 

“I thought it was kind of underwhelming,” Sam Zeiden (‘23) said, “It was too ‘pop-y’.”  

“I think it’s very bland, it’s very formulaic,” said Austin Ra (‘23), a self-proclaimed ‘Real Swiftie.’ “I think she could’ve done more. We waited so long for this album, and I feel like she should’ve experimented more. It felt like a yearly album, something she just did to get out of the way. Me and all the real Swifties out there, we truly are disappointed with her.” 

“I got bored after three songs,” Maya Chin (‘26) said. 

Each song has an interesting backstory and meaning behind it, so we will share all the necessary details you need for the perfect listening party. This would be an album rating, but we already know every song is a 10/10.  

 

Lavender Haze: 

The first track of her new album starts incredibly strong with rumors of an engagement circulating throughout this love ballad. “Lavender Haze” is apparently an overwhelming feeling of love, and a song about her appreciation for an unnamed person which brings her boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn, to mind.  

The song begins with a pop beat, a tune you quickly find yourself singing along to. The first line of the song, “Meet me at midnight”, brings attention to the title of the album, and is a fun way to start the romanticizing experience. 

Best lyric: “I find it dizzying/They’re bringing up my history/But you weren’t even listening/I feel the lavender haze creeping up on me. 

 

Maroon: 

“Maroon” is supposedly an allusion to Jake Gyllenhaal, her ex-boyfriend whom she has previously referenced in “Red.” As the song’s name is a deeper version of the color red, it suggests a matured version of Taylor with a different perspective on her past relationship. In the chorus, she lists shades of dark red and the memories associated with those colors, reminiscent of “Red,” where she used an array of colors to depict stages of her breakup. This indicates growth through deeper colors.  

The verses are slower, compared to the chorus when the tempo picks up and the drums come in louder.  This song feels like a callback to her past self and a comparison to her current self.  

Best lyric: “The burgundy on my T-shirt when you splashed your wine into me/And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was. 

 

Anti-Hero: 

There is speculation that the anti-hero comes from the drama with Kanye West, as she uses her lyrics to tell us about how she regrets ghosting people, being a narcissist, and landing in a bad place due to the hate she was receiving. Her song even shares fears that the negative attention possibly damaged her relationship.  

Anti-Hero’s music video provides perfect visual explanations for the self-doubt and feelings of anger towards herself that Taylor expresses through her chorus, “I’m the problem, it’s me.” 

“I listened to it for a few times, and I watched the music video, which I really liked,”Annie Huang (‘24) said. “There were three representations of Taylor: the big one, the drunk one, and the normal one.” 

Of course, her self-directed music video where she ran from ghosts and opened the door to her duplicate was filled with hidden messages and clues, something Taylor is well known for.  

One minute in, Taylor sits at a desk and takes notes from her duplicate’s lesson: “Everyone will betray you.” This could be another hint at the stress that followed her humiliation by being featured inappropriately in “Famous” by Kanye West.  

She pins a “vote for me for everything” badge to her shirt after scaring a group of people away due to her size. This entire video brings attention to the isolation Taylor faced during her Reputation era, and the events that led up to it.  

Best lyric: “I wake up screaming from dreaming/One day I’ll watch as you’re leaving/‘Cause you got tired of my scheming/For the last time. 

 

Snow On The Beach (with Lana Del Rey):  

Track four is all about the emotions surrounding two people falling in love simultaneously, and the dreamlike music paints a picture of that moment. Lana Del Rey’s vocals are featured in the background of Taylor’s post-chorus lyrics, depicting surprise and relief, although listeners may have been expecting a full verse feature from Lana.  

The chorus explains more details in the song, such as how the snow on the beach is something unusual and rare, like a shared moment of falling in love. This song is perfect to play at a chilly sunset, for comfort at night, and for those long rainy car rides.  

Best lyric: “And it’s like snow on the beach/Weird but it was beautiful/Flying in a dream/Stars by the pocketful.”  

 

You’re On Your Own, Kid: 

This song is more emotional and provides a personal look into Taylor’s life navigating her fame. The lyrics are an amalgamation of innocent crushes, dreaming of moving away from hometowns, writing songs, and references to insecurities that were only emphasized under a spotlight.  

Taylor references her past throughout the song and criticizes herself for her attempts to move on although she now struggles with her fast-paced celebrity lifestyle. She includes details of “taking the money, hosting a party, blood-soaked gown,” all looking down upon her choices, the blood-stained fancy party dress reflecting her guilt. She then contrasts this information with “my friends from home don’t know what to say,” a possible moment of recognition where regret flickers through her mind. 

We can observe Taylor’s growth, and the struggles she has faced in both her home life and current fame through the way she presses these saddening images into our minds and tells us that “you’re on your own kid, you always have been,” making us realize how lonely the pursuit of success can make one feel.  

Best lyric: “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes/I called a taxi to take me there/I search the party of better bodies/Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare. 

 

Midnight Rain: 

Upon the first listen, the beginning is a melodic contrast to how her other songs began, as she uses a pitched-down version of her voice to express powerful sentiments of opposing views in a relationship. The same four lines play throughout the song, and as you pass through each chorus, the understanding of not settling starts to stick in your mind. 

Taylor is sharing her experience of the conflict of ‘settling’ in a relationship. She speaks from a past version of herself that struggled with the decision of staying or leaving. There are rumors that this song could be about Tom Hiddleston, and their brief 2016 relationship.  

Best 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/All of me changed like midnight. 

 

Question…?: 

We’ve noticed that this song sounds somewhat reminiscent of “Out of the Woods”, with a similar beat and a comparable message. In case you forgot, “Out of the Woods” was a song about breaking out of her relationship with Harry Styles.  

Not only does the song musically sound similar, but it also uses lyrics that were sung in “Style”, another song that drew attention with its connections to Styles. The chorus also contained details of an embarrassing kiss, which reminds Swifties of a New Year’s eve event in 2013, where Styles seemingly gave the press an unrequited love story to publish. 

Best lyric: “Good girl, sad boy/Big city, wrong choices/We had one thing going on/I swear that it was something/’Cause I don’t remember who I was before you.” 

 

Vigilante Shit: 

This song hinted to Taylor’s drama with Scooter Braun, when he copyrighted her songs and gained control of her music, which is why she began rerecording her albums. The lyrics of obtaining evidence and the wife getting “the housing, the kids, the pride,” brought attention to Braun’s recent divorce, and Taylor’s possible hand in it. 

Taylor may have gotten some form of revenge for Braun’s wrongdoings, and it is exciting to find this out in her new powerful song.  

Best lyric: “She needed cold hard proof so I gave her some/She had the envelope, where you think she got it from?” 

 

Bejeweled: 

Taylor writes about how she constantly felt overlooked in a past relationship, possibly about Calvin Harris, as she was spotted dancing with Tom Hiddleston at the 2016 Met Gala while she was dating Harris.  

She writes about a moment where she walks into a room and captures the attention of many, and when asked if she is in a relationship, she thinks about how she wasn’t treated the way she deserved and replies she doesn’t remember.  

Interestingly, Taylor continues to use the phrase “best believe that I’m still bejeweled,” indicating that somewhere in her relationship, she lost her self-confidence. We’re so happy to hear that Taylor recognized her beauty and channeled that into creating this motivational masterpiece. 

Best Song: “Didn’t notice you walking all over my peace of mind/In the shoes I gave you as a present.” 

 

Labyrinth: 

This song takes us into the workings of Taylor’s mind, and we get lost in the maze of her break ups, romantic relationships, and the weight of public expectations all whirling around her head.  

This song seems to specifically tell us about feeling heartbroken after a relationship has ended, and struggling to find love again, especially with the press holding high expectations for Taylor to immediately bounce back into a relationship.  

Best lyric: “Lost in the labyrinth of my mind/Break up, break free, break through, break down/You would break your back to make me break a smile.” 

 

Karma: 

With her talent for dropping conspicuous hints and hiding easter eggs, it is no surprise that Taylor foreshadowed “Karma” in 2016 during an interview with Vogue, in which she said, “Karma is Real.” Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but us Swifties like to believe in these farfetched theories.  

“My favorite song on the album is “Karma” because I find it catchy,” Gabby Diaz (‘23) said. “I don’t listen to Taylor a lot but this song is one of my favorites because of its fast and funky instrumentals and catchy lyrics.”  

Taylor wrote “Karma” in a perfect mindset — unbothered and happy with her current life, one that seems like a reward, or positive karma, for doing things “right.” “Karma” is a message for her haters and the scrutinizing public eye, a warning that karma will get them as she continues to thrive. 

Best lyric: Karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend/Karma’s a relaxing thought/Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”  

 

Sweet Nothing: 

“Sweet Nothing” is another tribute to her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, and how he gives her the feeling of a normal, peaceful life, with somebody who doesn’t use her for her celebrity status.  

She describes the liberating feeling of escaping the stressful paparazzi and press and how being with Alwyn brings normality to her life. He has only wanted Taylor for her, not for any material reasons.  

Favorite lyric: “I find myself running home to your/Sweet nothings/Outside they’re push and shoving/You’re in the kitchen humming/All that you ever wanted from me was/… nothing.” 

 

Mastermind: 

We absolutely adore the love story Taylor brings to life in “Mastermind.” She writes about the aligning of fates and the exciting destiny of meeting her match, Joe Alwyn. But then Taylor reveals that everything was all planned; she was the catalyst in their meeting and in their relationship.  

She thinks that she made him fall in love, like a con woman who fooled him, and in the last chorus, she flips it, and shows that her boyfriend had known all along. A perfect match.  

Favorite lyric: “So I told you none of it was accidental/And the first night that you saw me, nothing was gonna stop me/I laid the groundwork and then saw a wide smirk/On your face, you knew the entire time. 

 

Midnights is a collage of intensity, highs and lows, and ebbs and flows. Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic, or lonely. Just like Midnights. Which is out now.” @taylorswift wrote on Instagram 

This album brings comfort to Webbies, and we can’t wait to listen to this while pouring our hearts out over our college applications and homework assignments. Happy listening, Swifties!