Taylor Swift is taking a break from re-releasing every song she’s already released and a million more “from the vault” to bring us her 10th album (for the first time.) And you know what that means, I am obliged to word vomit my opinions on each and every track. As an elder millennial (and I would argue, her target demo since we are the same age) I have outgrown her drop everything for a spur of the moment surprise antics. I full-on missed this album announcement because it happened at the VMA’s, an awards show for Youths that I’ve fully accepted I’m too old for on the same year that she bombards us with this. And when this album came out at midnight and then another 7 songs were dropped GOTCHA style at 3am, I was snug as a bug in a cozy Queen in a blissful state of REM. I woke up, walked the dog, and listened to the album for the first time in the shower while I got ready for work like a G-D adult. No more nonsense for me, Tay! Although I stand by the fact that this woman is a lyrical songwriting genius and deserves her megastardom because of it, I can also admit that releasing every song she’s ever written is getting to be a little overwhelming. Thirteen was a solid album and a feasible amount of tracks for me to pull original commentary out of my ass for this blog. Twenty is really pushing it and we might have to pop open a bottle of wine to get through it. But I have a job to do here, one that I created for myself nearly 8 years ago with 1989 and by God, I’ll continue to fulfill this duty for the loyal Salties.
1. Lavender Haze. In the spirit of being brutally honest, this song was a poor choice for an album opener. Other than the fact that she says “meet me at midnight” at the very beginning, I’m assuming because she wanted to introduce this album, it kind of all around stinks. As she revealed in her little gimmicky “share the track titles through a TikTok each night” bit, the phrase Lavender Haze she ripped from an episode of Mad Men because she liked how it sounded. Intentions are good because she just wanted to sing about how great it is to be in love and how everyone brings you down with their judgements. When this song started, I immediately thought oh I’m going to hate this album because if all the songs sound like this I should probably be on LSD to enjoy it. Luckily, I don’t fully hate the album and this song was just a poor lead-in. Also for all my RHONJ stans out there, this speaks directly to Teresa’s LOVE BUBBLE. So if your’e going to jam out to this song, please jam out to it with this visual because this is the happy ending that you get if you live in that lavender haze. You know what they say, the higher the hair, the more it rubs against your love bubble.
Best Lyric: I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say (Hell YEA, Live your life for yourself, QUEEN.)
2. Maroon. I heard the beat of this song through my shower speaker and was CONVINCED that Spotify did some weird shuffle thing and tossed me over to Taylor’s song with Zayn for 50 Shades of Grey. Like did they use the same track? Did she sample her own song? Is this a part 2? I had so many questions and I guess the only real answer here is that when you’re in your thirties and you’ve been a popstar since 15 churning out hits every single year, at some point they’re bound to start sounding exactly the same. (Most people would suggest that’s when you throw in the towel but I won’t suggest that because I don’t want to anger the Swifie mob.) For an ear refresher, here’s the old sexy 50 shades beat and tell me they’re not identical (not the oh’s in the beginning, obviously):
I like this song. This is more vintage Taylor and probably should’ve been track 1. Visceral storytelling lyrics about love and heartbreak with a killer bridge. That’s the gal we all know and love. Also important to note: our first F bomb of the album. And might I add, the first of many. As an avid F Bomb Thrower, normally I’d be very supportive of adult Taylor deciding to say F it to her younger fans and cuss up a storm on an album. Except that the F bombs that float throughout Midnights are the F bombs of a girl who just discovered F bombs and therefore force them into every sentence whether it makes sense or not. (Say F bomb again.) I know this girl well because I was her in middle school. And no, I’m not trying to sound cool because I realize that a 12 year old popping F bombs into every sentence is trailer trash as hell and I’m sure my parents would’ve been mortified to discover this is the language I was using in the lunchroom with my equally as foul-mouthed friends. But to be in your thirties and just entering your F-Word era is weird and embarrassing. You should know the art of a swear now and when to insert it to make something funnier or angrier. Otherwise, don’t use them at all. “That’s a real fucking legacy to leave” just doesn’t do it for me.
Best Lyric: And I wake with your memory over me
3. Anti-Hero. Her first “single” off the album if we can even call them singles anymore when you release every song you’ve ever written in a journal to the entire world and radio is essentially dead. But that’s neither here nor there. This song is PEAK genius Taylor. Pretty much every female ages 25-35 has or is currently dealing with some type of anxiety, depression, insecurity and is actively in therapy or has been or should be. And Taylor writing a song about the exact intrusive thoughts that every female battles with every single day is just good business on her part. She knows her audience like nobody’s biz and this song caters right to it and has them eating out of the palm of her giant monster hand. “It’s me, Hi, I’m the problem it’s me” will be seared into pop culture history and she damn well knows it by immediately releasing a music video and fanfare over this song. The music video was pretty weird but top cinematic quality that has come to be expected from her productions these days. Bonus points for a little comedian bit to break up the unicorn blood and hijinks.
And now I must address the elephant (monster on the hill) in the room. When I first heard her sing “sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby”, this was my reaction:
I mean I get it. According to the selection of Snapchat and TikTok filters, guys only want to bang babies and cartoons…but still, this wasn’t a visual I wanted painted lyrically. After a few more listens it’s more digestible and makes me want to puke less. Plus, I actualy am a monster on the hill who towers above everyone else. See: every single time I’ve worn heels out and been asked if I was a basketball player. Unfortch I’ve taken my first go-around on Hinge and found that every single male is averaging 5’6″ for height so I guess I’ll continue to monster on the hill alone for the rest of my life while all the sexy babies get married. (I’m the problem, it’s me.)
Best Lyric: When my depression works the graveyard shift, all of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room
4. Snow On The Beach (ft. Lana Del Ray). Apparently snow at the beach is rare just like falling in love at the same time someone else is falling in love with you. Tay Tay, girlfran, come on over to the Northeast, snow at the beach ain’t that rare, it’s called winter. But I digress, this song is light and airy and is Lana Del Ray even on this song because methinksnot. It’s like when Chris Stapleton was featured on “I Know You Think About Me” and was allowed to duet on the chorus and that’s it. No one runs the show like T.Swift. Gets top artists to come sing backups on her album. Also, it would be wrong of me not to point out another stupid use of the F word. “Rare but fucking beautiful.” Are you a stoner now, ma’am? Yooooo, look at those waves, they’re fuckin beautiful, man!
Best Lyric: Life is emotionally abusive / And time can’t stop me quite like you did
5. You’re On Your Own, Kid. This one hit hard and I wasn’t expecting it to. Buzzy pop beat with lyrics that are a real throat punch. Hey, you’ll always be on your own so get comfy with that. WOOF. This song is loneliness as an art form.
Best Lyric: ‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned / Everything you lose is a step you take
6. Midnight Rain. I’m incredibly weirded out by this synth voice that is either her voice very manipulated or Jack Antonoff’s and for that reason I’m out on this song. Also can’t really relate to a song about focusing on making a name for yourself in Hollywood instead of getting married and popping out kids in backwoods Pennsylvania.
Best Lyric: And I never think of him / Except on midnights like this
7. Question…? Big fan of asking questions over here so I appreciate Taylor trying to normalize the annoying female phrase “can I ask you a question?” Does that justify the use of “Fuckin’ situations”? Nope sure doesn’t. BUT “Fuckin politics”? YES MA’AM. FINALLY! Using the f word as an adjective in an appropriate manner. Because FUUUUCKKINNN POLITICS, BRUH. I’ll also fully support the lyric “some dickhead guy” because calling a guy a dickhead will always slap. So even though this song isn’t a 10/10, we got fuckin politics and dickhead guys and sometimes it’s the simple things that bring the most pleasure.
Best Lyric: ‘Cause I don’t remember who I was Before you painted all my nights A color I’ve searched for since
8. Vigilante Shit. Alright I know I’ve mostly sounded like a hater so far (I mostly am), but this Vigilante Shit is Good Shit. I SCRAMBLED to get to my phone to type “I don’t start shit but I can tell you how it ends.” That line has some STANK on it. Sheesh. I felt like I got knocked right back to 2017 black lipstick wearin, hood up, I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me, Taylor. I love it when she gives us badgrrl ‘tude. Get your revenge, BB! I’ve read two theories here. One is that she’s singing about ruining Scooter Braun’s life and teaming up with his ex wifey and the other is that she’s singing about ruining Kim and Kanye. I think she’d sooner saw her arms up with a butter knife than team up with Kimmy K so I’ll go with the Scooter theory because I can see her being besties with Yael. “While he was doin lines” (Scooter seems like a real big coke guy) “someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI” (she sued Scooter over selling her masters and not letting her buy them back) and apparently Scooter cheated on his wife with Erika Jayne from RHOBH (WORLDS COLLIDING) and that’s what ended his marriage. I will laugh my ass off if Taylor had a hand in his wife finding out that little nugget. Of course we will never know the truth but at least we have this badass revenge song to jam to foreva.
Best Lyric – Every lyric in this song is an A+ cold hard burn but obviously the best one is: I don’t start shit but I can tell you how it ends.
9. Bejeweled. Don’t ask me to explain this because I truly cannot but this song makes me think of the Nick Jr. show Shimmer and Shine. A flash in the pan obsession for my niece but it features some middle eastern cartoon princesses with bright jewel tone ponytails. ALL of the words in this song and the kind of peppy childlike beat to it is eerily cartoon-like.
Best Lyric: Didn’t notice you walkin’ all over my peace of mind In the shoes I gave you as a present (the only one without a reference to sparkles, jewels, diamonds, gems, etc…)
10. Labyrinth. Full disclosure I had no clue how to spell that word and when I looked at Spotify to cheat I said out loud “labby-rinth” so I would remember where to put the Y. STOP MAKING ME LOOK DUMB, TAYLOR. Obviously a real breathy number. I’m fine with it mostly because I’m scared to say I hate so many of these songs. If it hasn’t become clear to you yet, Midnights is not a top album for me overall. Plus, we get weird synthy-man voice again in this song. I wish that voice would go away. It makes me think of when a movie wants to show the character is high as balls and distorts everyone’s voices as if all of us watching the movie at home are not smart enough to notice when someone is tripping their face off without that detail.
Best Lyric: I’ll be gettin’ over you my whole life.
11. Karma. If you thought I was being a bitch on this track by track so far BUCKLE YO SEATBELTS because I’m about to throw hands over this song. Karma is listed as about 100 things in these simpleton childish goofy ass lyrics but not once does she tell the truth which is KARMA IS STUPID. This song BLOWS and of course it’s the song most likely to get stuck on a loop in your brain until the end of time. Much like the 30 second refrain from Hocus Pocus 2 that my niece wouldn’t stop singing last weekend…the only lyrics were “the witches are back” and thankfully that is now out of my head but unfortunately this trash took its place. I’m not even holding back how much this song made me want to rip my ears clean off my head. We can’t have Vigilante Shit and Karma exist on the same damn record. Vigilante Shit is BADASS we ride at midnight and kill every single man who has wronged us. Karma is pigtails and suckers skipping through the mall giggling about Steve from Language Arts passing the note to Jennifer B. when it was meant to go to Jennifer L. to ask her to the homecoming dance. Karma is my boyfriend! Lolz. BOOOOO THIS SONG. BOOOOOOOOOO. And the part where she says “Karma’s on your scent like a bounty hunter” the idiotic way she sings bounty sounds like bouncy and for probably 4 rotations of this song I was like WHAT THE HELL IS A BOUNCY HUNTER and kept picturing Elmer Fudd bouncing through the forest with a rifle and his big ole hat bopping atop his head.
Best Lyric: NONE. Every single word in this song makes me want to bang my head against the wall because me and walls vibe like that just like Taylor and Karma vibe like that EYE ROLL OF THE CENTURY.
12. Sweet Nothing. Thank the Lord we came back down to earth and got off of Bubblegum Planet for this one. Back to the basics with warm hug relationship storytelling. Taylor is in her forever relationship so we’ve been getting a lot of wistful “I finally know what true love is” types of songs. She found herself a mans who wants nothing from her but looooooooooove. Happy for her but also she can stop acting like she went through hell and back to find a man because she found her LP at 26 while us women in our thirties are fighting for our lives to get a guy taller than them who won’t send a creeptastic pervy first message. But seriously tho, happy for her.
Best Lyric: I find myself runnin’ home to your sweet nothings (this song was a whole lot of sweet nothins for lyrics so it was slim pickins)
13. Mastermind. TOTAL SPIN MOVE to go from lalala we love each other and he’s my home and it’s sweet nothings to I manipulated all of this so we ended up together. Listen this song could be fiction and playing into us thinking she’s a real witchy mastermind, but I wouldn’t put it past her to also have set her sights on Joe and MADE.IT.HAPPEN.MAMA. The best part is she waited 4 years into the relationship to drop this little nugget and now it’s TOO LATE FOR JOE TO THINK SHE CRAZY AS HELL AND LEAVE! MUHAHAHHAA. That is the work of a mastermind. Anyway, this was the end to the album until 3 hours later on Friday when Taylor was like but wait, there’s more! If I had to judge the album solely on these first 13 tracks I’d give it a thumbs down. I basically only loved two songs. Not great. But let’s dive into the extras because it might help her chances on getting a Salty Ju stamp of approval.
Best Lyric: ‘Cause we were born to be the pawn In every lover’s game
14. The Great War. Good start to the bonus songs because I like this better than half the ones that made the original album cut. Groovy beat in the chorus and the sassy uh-huh really gets me goin. Fighting that brings a couple closer together, love that journey for them. (Spoiler & self promo alert: I’m about to drop a new humor piece that directly references that. Cause what says true love like fighting?!)
Best Lyric: Spineless in my tomb of silence (There’s so many lyrics that just sound cool in this song. It’s chill of Taylor to write a song about fighting about petty shit and make it poetic as hell.)
15. Bigger Than The Whole Sky. This one pulls at the heartstrings because it’s most likely about a miscarriage, essentially losing something before you’ve even met them, mourning what could have been. It’s sweet in a ‘cry your eyes out’ kind of way. Once again, would’ve happily taken this song over any of the others on the original album, jus sayin.
Best Lyric: Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears (Could’ve said tears here but “salt streams” is just, chef’s kiss. I have no notes. )
16. Paris. Another bop, TBH. Who was advising her on what tracks would make the cutting room floor? I mean I know it’s a moot point because she releases every word she records anyway, but I’m digging the bonus tracks WAY harder than the album tracks. Not only is this fun but it also makes me think of Lauren not going to Paris and also at the same time just makes me think of studying abroad and actin a damn fool in a foreign country but calling it an education. Kicking off the song with this little ditty: “And all the outfits were terrible – 2003, unbearable – “Did you see the photos?” – No, I didn’t, but thanks, though” was nostalgia in the best way. No one wants to remember 2003 fashion and yet we’re all reminded of it BECAUSE IT’S ALL COMING BACK NOW. But seriously though, I laughed out loud at that and pictured Lizzie McGuire traipsing around Rome in her corduroy newsboy cap and low rise bell bottoms. Terrible. Cheap wine make believe it’s champagne? That sums up my entire study abroad experience. Cheap wine and kebabs. This song has transported me to so many different places (none of them, Paris)–Bravo, Tay!
Best Lyric: I wanna brainwash you Into loving me forever (We’ve all been there amirite?! Just me?! Coolcoolcool.)
17. High Infidelity. Cheating Tay is back! After a dalliance in Folklore’s Illicit Affairs, she’s dabbling again and has risen the question that EVERYONE IS DYING TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO. Where the hell was Taylor Swift on April 29th. Inquiring minds NEED to know. Honestly by the time this is published I have absolutely no doubt that her psychotic sleuth fans will have video footage and timestamped photos from that date for every single year Taylor has been alive curated into a powerpoint presentation on TikTok. (Immediately as I typed this I went back to Lyrics Genius to copy my favorite lyric of the song and found a lengthy description about how she was dancing with Tom Hiddleston 3 days before the Met Gala on April 29th, 2016 and was still dating Calvin Harris at the time.) I don’t think ya girl has it in her to be a cheater but sure we’ll play along. (I stand corrected.) Another catchy little beat. I feel like it’s important to note that I dusted the ole bike tires off this weekend and took my teal lady for a spin on the boardwalk twice since the weather finally allowed it and both times my bike ride was scored by this album. So if we’re rating these songs on ocean breeze cruising down the boardwalk vibes, they get a 10/10. What doesn’t get a 10/10 were the two wedding parties spread out taking photos mid-boardwalk and the number of families who walked five across as if they own this public stretch of wooden planks. Nothing kills a T.Swift Groovin Bike Vibe like coming to a screeching halt and having to walk your bike behind someone who has zero self-awareness and won’t get the hell out of the way.
Best Lyric: You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love / The slowest way is never loving them enough (THE TRUTH IN THIS. YIKES.)
18. Glitch. My first NOPE of the bonus tracks. Can’t get down with this one. It’s slow and clunky and I gotta be honest I’m not a big booty big ole fan of when Taylor goes into her highest octave. Sounds kinda whiny. So I’mma go ahead and pass on this friends with benefits tune.
Best Lyric: I’d go back to wanting dudes who give nothing (Oof hits a lil close to home to probably every girl singing “I’m the problem, it’s me” with their whole soul.)
19. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve. Last year was Jake’s reckoning to be dragged in 10 whole minutes of brutal and apparently now she’s firing shots at John Mayer? As Swiftie Sleuths pointed out, Taylor was 19 when she was with John Mayer (track 19) and she’s 32 now, which was how old he was at the time of their *affair*. Look, I think it’s cheap shots to double back to a relationship that happened 13 years ago (oh, I see what she did there) just to drag the guy but also I’m not going to not sit here and pop my popcorn. John Mayer went through a REAL asshole phase and has probably had to answer to that a lot in his elder years where I think he’s calmed down quite a bit but releasing brand new music (not from the vault) about a guy who probably just wanted to get laid at the time is a scooch overdramatic. I think maybe it’s time to let sleeping dogs (Jake & John) lie. Good song though for being a giant F U to Johnny. PS This would’ve been an IDEAL time to drop a real F bomb. For example: “The tomb won’t fucking close.” Now THAT packs a punch. Not saying Taylor should have me in the writers room with her but not not saying that either. If there’s one thing I have an eye for it’s where to insert a swear for dramatic effect… for proof look no further than the time I broke up with my 6th grade boyfriend on AIM and said “I’m so fuckin sorry” when he wah-wah’ed about it. Then promptly got grounded and internet was ripped from my little trashmouth fingers for MONTHS when my sister narc’ed on me. So long story short, I’ve been through the trenches and would’ve happily weighed in on how to achieve the best Parental Advisory for this album.
Best Lyric: Memories feel like weapons
Best J.May Burn: I miss who I used to be / The tomb won’t close / Stained glass windows in my mind / I regret you all the time (OoF, Johnny Boy that can’t feel good to hear)
20. Dear Reader. Honestly what the hell is this song. Respectfully. She’s trying to close out with sage life advice I guess, but if we eliminated Dear Reader in every aspect of this song I’d like it 1 zillion times better. Like we don’t need to feel like we’re reading Dear Abby while listening to your music, booboo. It also makes me think of Britney’s song Dear Diary where she literally sang “Today I saw a boy” and my God if I knew I could make millions and become famous off of the garb I wrote in my diary, I would be laughing all the way to the bank. That’s why I can’t support this lazy trope for a song. You’re better than this, Taylor. You have the ability to take an emo journal entry about a boy breaking your heart and spin it into lyrical gold. Dear Reader is beneath you.
Best Lyric: Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart (I think this is why no one comes to me for advice.)
Overall Album Notes: I mean it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out from this rambling betchfest that I’ve fallen off a little bit with Taylor and this album wasn’t really hitting for me. She’s really been inundating us with new music and I think I’ve finally reached my breaking point. I’ll say it until I’m six feet under that the chick is BEYOND talented in songwriting and taking either a simple premise or experience and telling it in 100 different relatable ways through words that just seem to roll of the tongue. HOW-EV-ER, there’s also a limit to the amount of times we can draw from the same well before it gets a touch overplayed. I don’t think I realized how eh I was about this album until I started this blog so thank you for joining me on this lengthy journey of discovering that I might be aging gracefully out of my Taylor stan era. I mean, shit, 5 albums in two years is a lot. (Yes, I’m counting Taylor’s Version albums as well because they all had new tracks on them.) I’m tired, BBGirl!