Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”: A Flop, or the Introduction of a Brand-New Era?

Surpassing 300 million listeners on Spotify within a day of its release on October 21, Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” certainly made its impact—but whether or not it can maintain a lasting legacy is still up for debate.

Even the Andover verdict is uncertain; as students and faculty across campus react to the album’s release, listen to its discography, and share opinions, an uneasy debate arises. Is it more upbeat and optimistic like “Lover,” or is it pensive and deep like “Folklore” or “Evermore?” Is it something completely unfamiliar—and what does that potential change say about its quality?

Looking more towards examining the content of Swift’s recent music, many have been analyzing her recent announcements, fashion, and speeches for her signature “easter eggs” to see if they could predict the underlying themes of the album. Initially, some speculated the album would resemble her 2017 album, “Reputation,” due to her bejeweled outfit at the 2022 VMAs (MTV Video Music Awards) that resembled the album’s aesthetic. Speaking on the rumored parallels, long-time Taylor Swift fan Sage Preston ’25 expressed her views on how “Midnights” compares to previous albums.

“I really like how cryptic it is. It’s like a blend of ‘Reputation,’ ‘Lover,’ and ‘Evermore.’ It feels like a modernized version of ‘Reputation,’ but you can really hear the ‘Lover’ influence, especially in the opening track ‘Lavender Haze.’ Her lyrics are very secretive and hard to unpack, which I think is fun to listen to,” said Preston.

While the album was first dropped at midnight, Swift surprised her fans with “Midnights (3am Edition),” three hours later, which included seven bonus tracks. Though it was not part of the main release, the songs still helped contribute to the overall cohesion of the album—Lydia Mechiaga ’24 commented that she enjoyed the surprise of the “3am Edition” and the diversity of the album’s music.

“I was expecting it to be all one vibe, but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of songs. I especially thought the ‘3am’ tracks were really fun because I don’t think anyone was expecting that, and it added a lot to the entire collection,” said Mechiaga.

Yet in other aspects, the album disappointed some fans. Many found issues with the collaborations, especially Lana Del Rey’s supposed feature on “Snow On The Beach.” Though fans eagerly awaited Del Rey’s part, she only sang one line and background vocals. In addition, Mechegia shared some complaints about the order of songs.

“I think that it was weird having the first track be ‘Lavender Haze.’ I thought it would be a weird decision to open with that song, and I think there could’ve been better ways to open the album. Also, there are parts in some songs that give off teenage rebel, and I don’t like that too much,” said Mechegia.

The release of “Midnights” succeeds Swift’s past two complete albums released in 2020: “Folklore” and “Evermore.” These previous two albums had a folky and melancholy feel, standing in contrast with the subtle pop undertones in “Midnights.” Preston discussed her surprise at the change of genre.

“I was surprised. Especially after her last two albums, I was expecting her to continue that folky-type instrumental and stray away from pop and electronic music, but I like how she switched it up. We’ve already had two of those types of albums and they were both really good, but I like how she’s blending the genre of those albums with aspects of her previous albums to give us something new,” said Preston.

However, feelings on this change in style are mixed. Erica Nork ’16, Teaching Fellow in History and Social Science, disagreed with Preston’s statement, as she felt let down by the sudden change from Swift’s older releases.

“I think part of me is disappointed that it wasn’t in the same vein as what she was going down, but it’s interesting to see her go back to her older elements, even if it’s not the choice I would’ve made. Some of the lyrics are just not it, but I think that’s also what’s charming about it because it’s so Taylor Swift,” said Nork.

Although many felt disappointed in the switch of musical style, Swift did stick to her usual style of lyrics: intimate and relatable. Swift fan Alex Giarnese ’25 commented that he liked the personal lyrics, especially in the way that they gave greater insight into her life and personality.

“I think this album does a good job paving her personality as a songwriter and as a regular person. In ‘Anti-Hero,’ she talks a lot about her personal issues and indirectly mentions her eating disorder and other struggles. The songs are very powerful and discuss her tryouts as a person among other more vague and bigger issues. I appreciate listening to songs that I know have meaning behind it, so I really enjoyed ‘Midnights,’” said Giarnese.

Despite the powerful lyrics and stylish diversity within the album, “Midnights” still hasn’t satisfied all Swifties and music lovers. Maybe it’s just meant for sentimental late nights for us to relish in vague melancholy and the nostalgia of Taylor Swift.