American singer-songwriter Taylor Alison Swift, known mononymously as Taylor Swift has released her highly anticipated tenth studio album, “Midnights.”
Released on October 21, 2022, via Republic Records, Midnights marks Taylor Swift’s first body of new work since her ninth studio album, Evermore (2020).
Taylor Swift announced the album at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28. A concept album conceived from her thoughts during “sleepless nights”, Midnights has been described by Swift as “a journey through terrors and sweet dreams”.
The album artwork incorporates its track-list, featuring undisclosed song titles, on its front cover. Taylor Swift began revealing the track-list on September 21, 2022, through a video series—Midnights Mayhem with Me—on her TikTok account. Her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff has been confirmed as a producer on Midnights.
After a dispute over the sale of the masters of her first six studio albums, Taylor Swift announced plans to re-record these albums. She released the first two re-recordings, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version), in 2021.
The latter spawned a 10-minute version of her 2012 song “All Too Well”, as well as a corresponding short film written and directed by Swift. Mainstream media expected her to release the third re-recording next.
Taylor Swift garnered five nominations for the short film at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2022, winning three of them. In her acceptance speech for the Video of the Year award, she announced a “brand-new” studio album scheduled for release on October 21, 2022.
Shortly after the reveal, Taylor Swift’s official website was updated with a countdown clock and a phrase that read “Meet me at midnight”. Her social media accounts were also updated with the phrase, and the canvases of some of Swift’s songs on Spotify were changed to a visual featuring the same clock counting to midnight.
That midnight,,Taylor Swift unveiled the name of her tenth studio album, Midnights, along with a written premise, and posted a cover artwork on her website and across her social media accounts. She described the album as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life”.
Taylor Swift posted a TikTok video on September 16, 2022, depicting the recording process of Midnights; it featured clips of Swift and longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff in a recording studio. Variety confirmed that Antonoff is a producer of the album, also speculating that he could be Swift’s only co-producer on the record.
The album has been made available to pre-save and pre-order on her website. On September 21, 2022, Swift posted on TikTok introducing a series of short videos called Midnights Mayhem with Me, in which the track-list is gradually revealed in a randomized order.
In the series, Swift appears in front of a curtain backdrop, accompanied by an elevator music tune. She rolls a lottery cage containing 13 ping pong balls numbered from one to thirteen, each representing a track of the album. When a ball drops out of the cage, she discloses the title of the corresponding track on Midnights. The first reveal was the thirteenth track “Mastermind”.
In the first episode, Taylor Swift stated that she chose to do the series to reveal the track-list directly, in order to “defy” her usual routine of incorporating easter eggs to hint at information.
The standard cover artwork of Midnights is minimalist. It takes inspiration from old-fashioned LP jackets whose songs were listed on the front cover; however, the tracks are currently titled with the placeholder names “Track One,” “Track Two” and so on up to 13.
The photograph of Swift featured in the artwork depicts her in a blue eye shadow, a black eye liner, and her signature red lips, observing a glimmering lighter held near her face. The album title and track list are in a blue gradient.
The vinyl edition of the cover, posted by Swift across her social media, splits the track list into an A-side and B-side, indicating a two-sided LP. Three limited-edition color variants of the physical album, featuring different cover artworks, and a Target-exclusive edition featuring three CD-only bonus tracks were also issued.
The reverse side of the standard and three alternate editions each portray a quarter sector of a dial; when assembled together and combined with a clock mechanism sold separately on Swift’s website, they form a functioning clock.
Press outlets speculated that Swift’s Moschino outfit for the VMAs afterparty—a navy blue micro mini romper embellished with silver stars—teased the album’s aesthetic.
Midnights are a recurring lyrical motif in Swift’s music, having been used in different contexts and viewpoints in her albums. The A.V. Club welcomed Midnights as a concept album that expands the “artistic motif into a full-blown album.”
Media further noted the incorporation of Swift’s lucky number 13 in the number of tracks, a tradition she had implemented in her music and career multiple times.
Time praised the track list’s length, calling it a “concise lineup” for Swift, whose last album, Red (Taylor’s Version), consisted of 30 tracks.
Variety reported that “there’s been a curiosity” regarding the album’s genre on the internet, whether Midnights would “continue in that more subdued, acoustic, Americana vein” of her 2020 records Folklore and Evermore, or return to the “pure pop” of Lover (2019) and its immediate predecessors.
The New York Times called Taylor Swift a “restless creative force” for releasing five albums within three years and expected Midnights to become one of 2022’s best-selling albums, despite its October release.
American television host Jimmy Fallon decoded the album’s alleged easter eggs as part of a skit on the September 19, 2022 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fall on. Pitchfork and Time named Midnights as one of the most anticipated albums of fall 2022.
Billboard called Swift’s unexpected announcement of the album at the Video Music Awards a “headline-grabbing” moment. Bruce Gillmer, producer of the awards show, spoke to the magazine about their viewership gains and how Midnights gave a “massive lift” to the ratings.
Taylor Swift’s official website also crashed due to heavy traffic following her first social media posts about the album. The album’s cover artwork became an internet trend, mimicked and parodied by social media users, including official accounts of brands, organizations and celebrities.
Taylor Swift Midnights Album Tracklist:
- Midnight Rain
- Vigilante Shit