Review: Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ will put you to sleep

Midnights contains the stories of 13 sleepless nights throughout Taylor Swift's life, plus seven bonus songs from the "3 a.m. Edition". Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

At the risk of poking the bear that is the Taylor Swift fandom, it must be said that “Midnights,” Swift’s 10th studio album, is not exciting. It’s an album full of songs that sound the same, and not in a conceptual, purposeful way. Some tracks are good, but the majority are excruciatingly boring.

Swift claims this is a concept album. I disagree. “Midnights” having a theme doesn’t make it a concept album, especially when that theme is “what keeps Taylor Swift up at night.” Those things being her relationships, her past and whatever she talks about in therapy … the exact stuff she’s been writing about since forever.

I have a “Question … ?” What about “Midnights” differentiates it from the rest of her body of work?

At some point, the pendulum shifted from a bandwagon of hate against Swift to it being a crime against feminism to criticize her. Well, call me a bad feminist, but I think songs like “Vigilante Shit” are overdone, especially by Swift. She already has “I Did Something Bad,” “mad woman,” “no body no crime” and “The Man” in her repertoire, so do we need another song about getting revenge and a “cat eye sharp enough to kill a man?” Please, not another girlboss anthem!

Swift has leaned too much on revenge anthems in the past, and “Midnights” is barely any different, not to mention that many of these songs revolve around the general idea of being a baddie with sharp eyeliner and black clothing, and not taking disrespect from men.

Frankly, I don’t want to hear that from someone who is willingly working with infamous director David O. Russell, who admitted to police to touching his 19-year-old niece’s breasts and has been accused of abusive behavior on his sets.

My only other criticism of this album is that much of it sounds the same and is skippable. Songs like “Labyrinth” and “Sweet Nothing” are simply snooze fests all the way through.

“Midnights” isn’t all bad. I adore songs like “Anti-Hero” for its raw and deeply-felt lyricism on feeling like the bad guy. Swift may not be perfect, but she’s no villain, and “Anti-Hero” is a wonderful outlet for that feeling. It’s also just a really beautiful and enjoyable pop song. Another really good one is “Question…?,” for its atmospheric sound and unique take on a common topic (your guy isn’t over his ex, and that causes problems for the two of you).

What Swift does best in her lyrics is not the kind of banal revenge anthem that she so often throws in to allow her fans who have never confronted anyone in their life to feel empowered and edgy. The album instead is introspective and sensitive songwriting like the stuff on “folklore,” “evermore” and “Lover.”

This is the perfect album for fans of records like “1989” and “Reputation,” but if you’re a fan of her folksy singer-songwriter vibe of the past few years, I’m sorry to say you may be in for a disappointment.

Hopefully, her fans who believe theories about a double album release are correct, because I think “Midnights” needs a do-over.