Taylor Swift demonstrates her ability to evolve once more in her new album.
“All of me changed like midnight,” Halfway through her latest album, the fittingly called and somber “Midnights,” Taylor Swift admits, “All of me shifted like midnight.” Swift is at her best in this particular passage of the electrifying “Midnight Rain,” which serves as a reminder of her unmatched talent for making any feeling seem universal. “He was sunshine, I was midnight rain.” And continues: “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,” the song continues.
With her own vocals artificially lowered to an almost unrecognizably tone, Swift’s sound feels experimental.
With an indie-pop groove that sounds similar to her producer Jack Antonoff’s work on Lorde’s “Melodrama,” but is also new and compelling, it’s one of the album’s more sonically fascinating songs.
The 32-year-old pop artist confronts the topics she has grown up writing about – love, sorrow, childhood, and stardom – on her 10th original album with a maturity that shows through in sharper vocals and lyrics that are more concerned with her inner-life than her outside persona.
The opening track, “Lavender Haze,” combines a distinctive, seductive melody from Swift with a muted club beat and high-pitched backing vocals by Antonoff. With lush descriptions of rust, spilled wine, and crimson lipstick—images Swift is conjuring with greater bite—”Maroon” is a mature and weathered version of “Red,” a journey into lost love.
She admits, as only a songwriter can, that a heartbreak “only feels this raw right now, lost in the labyrinth of my mind,” on top of a track featuring electronic trills a la Bon Iver, in “Labyrinth,” demonstrating that she’s brought the best of her previous pop experiments with her.
These include the synth of “1989” and the softer alternative sounds of “folklore.”
The lyrics to “Bejeweled” sound like an upgraded, glitzy version of “Me!” and are a little too sweet. The eagerly awaited Lana Del Rey song “Snow On The Beach” is poetic, lovely, and occasionally mischievous, but it’s not as emotionally profound as the combined talent of the song’s lyricists promises it might be.
“Midnights” was created by all the Taylor Swifts we’ve met so far for a new Taylor Swift to shine. It has the vibe of both a confessional and a playground. We’re just along for the thrilling late-night trip, as always.
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