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Taylor Swift’s Midnights Review; The Rising Star Of A New Pop Era

Taylor Swift”s 10th album, cleverly composed of 13 sleepless nights throughout her life, moves away from earworms to more daring ground. They come with prices and vices. I end up in trouble, Taylor Swift declares in her self-deprecating new song Anti-Hero. She bemoans her condition, refers to herself as a monster, and wryly expresses concern over her “covert narcissism, which I disguise as generosity like some kind of politician.” I’m the problem, it’s me is the first phrase of the chorus, yet the upbeat melody suggests that she might not be fully serious.

To be fair, being Taylor Swift must be really demanding. The renowned singer-songwriter is so prolific it’s nearly unbelievable. She is only 32 years old, and Midnights, her tenth album, is also her sixth significant release in the last four years (she is two years younger than Adele and a year older than Ed Sheeran) (including two early albums she completely re-recorded for copyright reasons).

Every release is preceded by sophisticated marketing efforts, which are overseen by Swift with the exacting attention to detail and high standards that have characterized every stage of her climb from local sensation to a worldwide brand.

In the humorous song Mastermind, Swift reveals her aptitude for planning. “I set the groundwork/And then just like clockwork/The dominoes cascaded in order… it was all by design.”  Yet even in jest, she roots such controlling impulses in unhappiness: “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid / So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since.”

Swift captivated her loyal following as an astutely observant observer of young women’s inner lives as they fought for love and respect in a world ruled by males. Swift has been a pivotal player in the growth of the female voice in 21st-century pop music because of her knack for mainstream songcraft, which is based on the kind of meaningful lyrics and catchy melodies that have endured against all the shifting tides of musical fashion.

Although the fact that she has been in a committed relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn for six years presumably presents its own challenges for songcraft rooted in commonplace tales of dating, promiscuity, love, and heartbreak, her source material has frequently been implicitly autobiographical. Midnights’ concept is “tales of 13 restless nights,” and the album’s 13 songs are dogged by insecurities, riddled with doubts about her chosen path, or revolving around regretful recollections.

The general tone is light as if Swift is experimenting with other facets of her personality apart from the emotional content’s rawness, so it’s not quite blood on the tracks.

The music is powerful. I’d even venture to claim that Swift has never produced a subpar song, despite the fact that (despite her artistic explorations) she has extremely recognizable structures that feature frenzied cascades of rhymes given on the flip of each chord change in modulating two or three-note cadences.

Following the analog Americana of her more introspective preceding albums, Folklore, and Evermore, Midnights turns back toward popular music. There are no obvious chart-topping hits on this album, despite the sensual electro-digital sound and Prince-like falsetto funkiness of the opening love songs Lavender Haze and Bejeweled (“When I walk into a room, I can still make the whole place shimmer”). Instead, the band continues to collaborate primarily with omnipresent writer-producer Jack Antonoff (Lorde, St. Vincent, Florence & the Machine). It almost seems as though she has grown too old for the meme-friendly, earworm pop that made her famous.

As shown by their duet on the ballad “Snow on the Beach” with Lana Del Rey (another Antonoff client), the two could become interchangeable. They are both smart, funny, and daring with their music.

More intriguing is the brooding Midnight Rain, where Swift lowers the pitch of her voice to make her sound masculine during the refrain (a trick employed several times throughout the album). The song’s hook, “He Wanted It Comfortable/I Wanted That Pain,” shows Swift debating the ruthlessness and ambition that ended a young romance. “I was making my own name / Chasing the fame / He stayed the same / All of me changed.”. In the song You’re on Your Own, Kid, she portrays a younger version of herself who has neuroses and romantic delusions, saying, “I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this / I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by the perfect kiss.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0aWf7d1JUY

Fans of Swift will adore this CD since it provides a wealth of insight into their heroine through brilliant pop tunes. It also refers to a musician who is torn between writing more personal songs and getting back to making money.

Swift, a musician who has made a career out of songs about the crisis and turmoil in her personal relationships, is currently attempting to rediscover her home tranquility.

The greatest song on the album, Sweet Nothing, which captures Swift at her least dramatic—a gossamer-light, flyaway ballad where she sounds like she’s not trying too hard to construct something witty or commercial—is a result of this conundrum. “Industry disruptors and soul deconstructors / And smooth-talking hucksters / Out glad-handing each other / And the voices that implore / ‘You should be doing more / To you I can admit / That I’m just too soft for all of it.” Swift’s Midnights captures her at a pivotal moment. I’m not sure if it signifies the end of her imperial phase or the beginning of a new pop era.