Midnights was praised by critics despite not having any radio hits
Critics loved Taylor Swift‘s new album, but some said that its quiet sound means it does not have any songs that could be big hits.
Both the Guardian and the Independent gave five stars to the singer’s 10th studio album, Midnights. The Guardian said that Midnights is “cool, collected, and mature” and that it is “packed with fantastic songs.”
But some people did not like that there were not any radio hits. The Evening Standard said there was not “not a smash hit in sight.”
Due to a disagreement with music mogul Scooter Braun, Taylor Swift is currently re-recording her early albums. However, she has put that process on hold to release a new album of new songs.
Midnights is the 32-year-old singer’s first original album in two years. It has a more mainstream sound than her last two albums, which were quieter and more acoustic.
Some of the folky charms of her sister albums Folklore and Evermore are still in her new record. Both of those albums came out in 2020, during the pandemic.
But it also shows her getting back to her pop roots with lyrics that talk about more personal things. Some songs tell fans more about how the star and her boyfriend, English actor Joe Alwyn, usually keep their relationship low-key.
Swift has said that the album is “stories of 13 sleepless nights, scattered throughout my life.” In a five-star review, Alexis Petridis of the Guardian said Midnights “brings her back to electronic pop from what she called the “folkloric woods” of her last two albums.”
“There are filtered synth tones, swoops of dubstep-influenced bass, trap and house-inspired beats and effects that warp her voice to the point of androgyny,” he said. “What holds Midnights together is confidence.
Swift’s songs are full of small, brilliant details that give them a sure footing. Helen Brown of The Independent also gave the album five stars, writing,
“Over a series of murky electronic grooves (most of which were written with Jack Antonoff), the pop star unpacks her darkest dreams, most profound doubts, and cruelest thoughts.
She keeps things just vague enough to keep the tension building and the theories flying. “The subtle melodies of Midnights take time to sink their claws in,” she said.
“But Swift’s sly voice and control over her lyrics ensure she keeps your attention. Turn off the lights and listen to these songs. Just do not think you will be able to figure out what they mean too quickly.
Swift is always as hard to find as she is mysterious. But David Smyth of the Evening Standard was much less enthusiastic. He gave the album only two stars. “It’s hard to spot anything that sounds like a smash hit on Swift’s third muted collection in a row,” he wrote.
“The style is different from Folklore and Evermore, but Swift is never on time when the clock strikes twelve.” On the Bejeweled song, she says, “I am going out tonight,” but the beats are still slow and sleepy.
“The only song that seems like it could be a highlight when she comes back to the stage is “Brighter Karma,” which is likely another jab at Braun. If not, Midnights sounds like it is time for bed.”
But Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone said that the star’s songs have improved because of a subtle return to form.
“As Swift has returned to her archive to undertake the project of re-recording her previous albums, it’s clear slipping back into her past self has unlocked something brilliant and fresh in her songwriting,” she wrote.
“Midnights may surprise the most newly turned fans of her music, those who only learned to like her songwriting when it came in the traditionally respectable Folklore/Evermore package.”
Swift has a busy few months ahead of her. She hopes to be nominated for an Oscar in January either for her short film All Too Well or for her song Carolina from Where the Crawdads Sing, which is in the best original song category.
But Midnights will be her main focus for the next few months, and fans are waiting to hear if she will be going on a world tour to promote it.
Will Hodgkinson of the Times said in a four-star review, “Swift has said that Midnights was meant to be a concept piece based on 13 nights of troubled sleep, and these minimal, eerie, heartfelt, and intense songs do have a crepuscular quality that is different from her usual cheery brightness.”
“Sometimes, like on “Labyrinth,” the modern vocal effects are off-putting, but Midnights is most appealing because, despite its modern touches, it is primarily an old-fashioned singer-songwriter album about human weakness.
Hannah Mylrea of NME wrote, “After a trip into a different sound world, Swift still shines on her return to pure pop.
“She spins these new stories through sleek synth-pop, in common with [previous albums] 1989 or Lover, but the razor-sharp production of these albums is more subtle this time around.”
In his four-star review for The Telegraph, Neil McCormick praised the album’s “sensuous electro-digital sound” but also pointed out that it did not have any radio hits.
“Yet, despite the Prince-like falsetto funkiness of the opening love song Lavender Haze and the glib strut of Bejeweled (“When I walk into a room, I can still make the whole place shimmer”), there are not any obvious chart-busting bangers.
“It is almost as if she has become too mature for the meme-friendly, earworm pop brand with which she made her name.”