‘God rest my soul’ because Taylor Swift just killed me

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Photo Courtesy of Twitter

On Oct. 21, Taylor Swift released her tenth studio album “Midnights” two months after its initial announcement. Yet again, Swift dazzled in both marketing and creative aspects.

As Taylor Swift wrote in a recent Instagram post, “Midnights is a collage of intensity, highs and lows and ebbs and flows. Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic or lonely. Just like Midnights.” And it is, indeed, “just like Midnights.”

The star released her tenth studio album, “Midnights,” on Oct. 21 following a two-month marketing plan maximizing anticipation among her diverse audiences.

Swift is an extremely savvy marketer, leaving clues and hints to future projects years in advance. The first noted “Easter egg” to have been related to this project showed up in a 2019 music video for “The Man.” On the wall of a subway station, “Karma” is graffitied twice. Track 11 on “Midnights” is titled “Karma.”

Additionally, Swift created “Midnights Mayhem with Me,” a TikTok series where she rolls pink pong balls with numbers on them out of a Bingo cage. There were 13 balls to represent the 13 tracks on the album and these videos were released one at a time in a series of midnights. Depending on the number on the selected ball, she would reveal the name of the track title with that corresponding number. On the final night of the series, Swift dropped five videos at once. Fans went crazy.

So what? Was it worth the hype?

Yes. This is Taylor Swift. She is always worth the hype.

Right off the bat, Swift demands we “meet [her] at midnight” during “Lavender Haze” in a catchy, sassy tone, immediately encouraging her listeners to tune in to the album, reiterating her marketing slogan, “meet me at midnight.”

Long-time fans may have noted sonic similarities to “I Think He Knows,” a track from “Lover.” In fact, many “Midnights” songs nod to past songs. The backing track for “Maroon”sounds eerily similar to the “reputation” tour version of the introduction to “King of My Heart,” and the “Snow at the Beach” chorus has the same syllable structure as the “illicit affairs” bridge.

Never mind Swift is infamous for Easter eggs and clues to the past and future, her songwriting capabilities are Shakespearean. I mean, “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve?” Just read this line from the bridge: “Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts/Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” WHAT? I hate you, John Mayer. Shame.

And “Anti-Hero”—“I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror.” Way to call me out, Taylor! Thanks, queen!

On the topic of “Anti-Hero,” Swift dropped a music video several hours after “Midnights’” initial release. My heart rate, matching my excitement, beat through the roof as I watched the full five minute video. Three days later, she dropped a “Bejeweled” video with special guests Dita Von Teese, Jack Antonoff, Laura Dern and the Haim Sisters in a modern-day twist of Cinderella. This makes sense, as this album is set to be a visual album, a new venture for Swift, which generated more excitement online when it was announced.

As fans poured over the new album, many were quick to jump to social media to either gush about their love of Swift’s latest work or completely trash the album, not fully resonating with the concept. Scrolling through my For You page on Tik Tok, I noticed many complaining about how different and strange her tenth studio album was. Ultimately, they were confused and disturbed by the directive Swift had taken toward it.

Comments generally centered around how “unlike” the album is compared to previous ones such as “folklore,” “evermore,” “Lover,” “reputation” and “1989.” It was a 180 degree turn that most fans simply weren’t ready for. “Folklore” and “evermore,” as Swift mentioned on her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Oct. 24, were mostly her telling stories and exploring mythology through different characters and tales. Now, having put out some of her deepest worries and haunting fears into the public’s ears, she’s worried about what people might think goes through her mind—how will fans respond to her putting these insecurities out? Positively? Negatively? Will they finally see her as a real person?

It’s not easy to appeal to a generation that is constantly getting bored of “taboo” content, but many fans who have taken the time to sit down and fully comprehend Swift’s messages can agree that this album is some of her best work. Reading the lyrics and sympathizing with Swift’s work has allowed people to relate and better understand where she is coming from when she sings tracks such as, “You’re On Your Own, Kid” and “Anti-Hero.”

Lyrics that stood out to fans (and us, as well) from “You’re On Your Own, Kid” were “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes/I waited ages to see you there/I search the party who’ve better bodies/Just to learn that you never cared.”

And from “Anti-Hero,” lyrics such as “I wake up screaming from dreaming/One day I’ll watch as you’re leaving and life will lose all its meaning.” Swift describes the painstaking reality of losing someone so close to you in such a raw way that it makes the rest of your life seem meaningless and hollow.

Swift never fails to amaze. Whether she’s hopping from genre to genre or directing music videos full of endless creativity, she’s always surprising us with her incredible and elaborate planning to spread her messages and bring happiness to our ears and “Midnights” is certainly not an exception.

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