Midnights: An Album Review and Analysis

Arielle Rivers, Writer

As we approach the end of 2022, we end the year off with a lot of great albums released by great artists: Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, Beyoncé’s Renaissance, Lizzo’s Special, etc… But the album that truly took the cake for me this year has been Taylor Swift’s Midnights, an album compiled of 13 songs to describe 13 sleepless nights. After releasing 2 albums during the pandemic and 2 re-recorded albums last year, she announced her 10th studio album at the 2022 VMAS after winning an award for her well acclaimed All Too Well short film. Leading up to the release of Midnights, there were many midnight surprises along the way: Midnights Mayhem on Tiktok, where she revealed a track name every other day, reels where she explained the concept of the album and its meaning, and merch. The biggest surprise though was her announcement at 3 AM of 7 bonus tracks that make up the album,  Midnights(3 AM Edition). On October 21, 2022, when Midnights released at 12 AM, I eagerly ran to listen to it, having no doubt that Taylor Swift has once again exceeded my expectations for the hundredth time. And as the first beats of “Lavender Haze” played, I had an epiphany that Midnights was going to be one of my favorite Taylor Swift albums, with some of my favorite songs. I’ve spent time analyzing these songs that truly stuck out to me, and I’m here to share with you two stand out songs on this album. 

The Midnights Album first gave me the vibe of being 70s inspired, based off of the cover art and pictures released leading up to the album release. But, I was pleasantly shocked when I first listened to the album. It was a mix of Reputation and Lover, two of her most popular albums, which both have pop feels to them. The album was primarily produced by Jack Antonoff, who is best known for his work with many pop artists, and has worked with Swift for 6 of her albums. Initially, Midnights did receive a lot of backlash from people who didn’t quite enjoy the album, and thought it lacked lyricism after the release of Folklore and Evermore, two albums which are regarded as her best works of lyricism. But, I enjoyed Midnights from start to finish, and see it as a no-skip album that I will continue to go back to in the future, since it’s been on repeat since its release date. Especially two songs that stuck out to me because of their lyricism and relatability: “Anti-Hero” and “You’re On Your Own Kid”.

As the lead single of the Midnights album, “Anti-Hero” has been the most popular on the album, at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100: and rightfully so. Anti-Hero is another introspective track that is one of Taylor’s favorite songs she’s ever written. Swift reveals her dark perception of herself, and her deepest insecurities of herself and her failures. I quite enjoyed “Anti-Hero” on my first listen, since it fits into my favorite genre of Taylor Swift songs: sad and self-reflective, paired with a poppy upbeat background. During my first listen, I listed some of my favorite lyrics in each song, and in “Anti-Hero”, there were two that truly stood out. The first one that made me think was “When my depression works the graveyard shift, all of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room”. In this lyric, the “graveyard shift” is used meaning the late hours of the night, which means her depression runs most rampant during midnight and the early hours of the morning. And when this happens, the people that she’s left behind along the way come back to “haunt” her in a way. This was a great description of what happens in many people’s minds, especially at midnight, giving people something to relate to immediately in the first verse. Another great lyric in this song is “Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism, Like some kind of congressman?” At first, this lyric stumped me, but after analyzing it for a couple weeks, I’ve landed on a solid interpretation. Swift is analyzing the way that media and fans have seen her activism and charity work as performative, and she is explaining how she feels insecure about how people see her “altruism” as performative and just a cover up for her selfishness. Anti-Hero is a true stand out track on the Midnights album, as she has never done a song filled with just her insecurities and fears. It is definitely relatable for many fans who feel as though no one truly likes them because they “ruin” everything, just like an Anti-Hero. 

Track 5 is an important track on every single Taylor Swift album, being that it is her most personal and vulnerable track, as seen in All Too Well, My Tears Ricochet, Tolerate It, Dear John, etc.. The song that took the track 5 spot on Midnights didn’t fall short of praise and vulnerability either, as “You’re On Your Own Kid” is a song where Taylor Swift expresses her personal feelings during her career. She recounts her past self in the beginning of her career and how she longed for love by expressing her insecurities throughout the song, and eventually she comes to the realization that she’s on her own, and always has been. In the first verse, Swift explores how she longed for love in her younger days, saying “I didn’t choose this town, I dream of getting out, There’s just one who could make me stay”. The song has such a nostalgic feel, with a sense of realization to it, with stand out lyrics such as “I search the party of better bodies, Just to learn that you never cared”. Swift repeats this line in both of her choruses, with this tone of realization, as she feels that she isn’t good enough compared to everyone else. Seeing as the whole song is a masterpiece, the bridge truly takes the cake:


From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes

I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

I hosted parties and starved my body

Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss

The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money

My friends from home don’t know what to say

I looked around in a blood-soaked gown

And I saw something they can’t take away

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

Everything you lose is a step you take

So, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it

You’ve got no reason to be afraid


The bridge is filled with a lot of figurative language and lyricism, where she explores a lot of things that have made up the person she is today. The phrase “from sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes” truly represents growing up, and is used as a good analogy going from her childhood to where she is now, and what she’s been through. Another phrase that really stuck out to me is “‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned, everything you lose is a step you take”. After over 2 minutes of her spilling out her fears and insecurities of growing up, she ends the song with an optimistic tone, by explaining how life goes on and things happen for a reason. People may leave you in life, and things may be destroyed in your life, but that’s the only way you’ll be able to grow and move into a new chapter of your life. Like Taylor Swift once said before “And if you never bleed you’re never gonna grow”. 

To conclude, let’s review: After the analysis of “Anti-Hero” and “You’re On Your Own Kid”, it is probably assumed that Midnights is a tear-jerking and introspective album. But there is so much more to this album, like songs such as Lavender Haze, Snow on the Beach, Bejeweled, Labyrinth, Karma, Sweet Nothing, and Mastermind, which explore topics like being in love, knowing her self worth and value after being mistreated, and most importantly to Taylor: karma. My personal favorites from the album include “Maroon”, “Bejeweled”, and previously analyzed, “You’re On Your Own Kid”. To end off, here’s an interview from fellow swiftie and Central Regional athlete: Shay Bevins. 


Arielle: Shay, what were your first thoughts on the Midnights album? 

Shay: It was different than I had anticipated, but it was everything I hoped for. 

Arielle: Favorite song? 

Shay: You’re On Your Own Kid, because it came at an important time in my life, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. 

Arielle: One last question…? How excited are you for Taylor’s announced Eras tour and what do you expect from her in the future? 

Shay: I’m extremely excited for the tour and I expect the re-releases to come sooner rather than 


Arielle: Thank you for your time.