I am in shock. Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights is here. And now I have the gargantuan task of reviewing and ranking all these songs. Why do I do this to myself?
Before we begin, I should say that my feelings about Midnights and all its tracks are almost guaranteed to change over time. Since these are my impressions within the first few weeks of listening, there will certainly be some takes that I look back on and say “You really felt that way?”
But such is life on tylersteatime.com.
So grab your tea and meet me at midnight. We have some new music to discuss.
1. “Lavender Haze”
That is the first thing I felt when I pressed play on Midnights for the first time. Because blondie really tricked us all into thinking this album would be sad and 70s-inspired. All the promotional material had her looking pensive in corduroy on a motel floor. Trickery!
“Lavender Haze” sounds more Lover than folklore, and that’s perfectly fine! We have left the trees and the red scarves in the rearview mirror. We are in a new moment.
The song itself will probably be dead-center in my rankings. Not the best. Not the worst. It’s just fine. I do get very sexy vibes from the line “get it off my desk,” but otherwise? Not a standout.
You know I love a theme.
So for Taylor to revive and repurpose a metaphor as quintessentially her as the color red? Genius.
“Maroon” is absolutely in the upper half of the ranking for me. It screams Reputation to me, and yet that red motif is obviously drawn straight from the Red era, and the lyrics are very Lover as well.
Burgundy. Wine. Blood. Scarlet. Rust. Lips. Rubies. Our queen is a genius.
“And I wake with your memory over me. That’s a real fuckin’ legacy.” What a strong delivery. And then going straight back into a lower-register version of the chorus?
Just a few days after Midnights released, I gave “Anti-Hero” the Certified Bop award–a cherished and coveted award that I just made up. For reference, I would put “Blank Space,” “Cruel Summer,” “I Think He Knows,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” into that category too.
All that is to say: this song slaps.
I love “Anti-Hero” so much. It’s not only catchy but lyrically intriguing. Not everyone can be a sexy baby, you know. Some of us are doomed to be monsters on the hill.
When she said “at tea time, everybody agrees,” I gasped! She shouted us out! I knew my blog would make it big someday. What a proud moment.
All in all, a favorite on the album without question.
4. “Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)”
I’ll cut to the chase–this song gives me meh vibes.
It’s hilariously shady that Taylor featured an artist as popular as Lana Del Rey only to relegate her to the position of backup vocalist. Lana’s whispers do add a unique flavor to this track, but I think we were all expecting her to have her own verse.
Regardless, this one just doesn’t rise to the level of most the songs on Midnights. Sorry.
5. “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
I slept on this one badly.
But this is why we don’t write our reviews the night a new album comes out! Because after a few weeks, I realized…
“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is absolutely one of the best songs on the album.
I can think of no other song that encapsulates Taylor’s struggles through her entire career like YOYOK does. At the same time, the song feels existential in a way that brings a tear to one’s eye. It’s beautiful!
The bridge in particular is an all-time great. It should be given the credit it deserves, and I must formally apologize for skipping this song the first few times I heard it. Absolutely unacceptable behavior.
6. “Midnight Rain”
This song also gives me strong Reputation vibes. Specifically, “Call It What You Want” vibes. It’s impossible not to hear it, really.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because “Call It What You Want” is a standout from Reputation for me! And if we’re to believe that this song was written about some sleepless night in Taylor’s past, I 100% see this song being about one of the men central to the Reputation era. So perhaps the sound choices were chosen with that in mind?
“He wanted a bride. I was making my own name.” Oh, that’s absolutely about Tom, isn’t it?
Whoever it’s about, it’s an earworm of a slow jam and I love the twinkly synths in the background. They draw stars sonically in the song’s backdrop, which is very fitting for the mood.
I’m very sorry to the “Question…?” apologists out there, but this one just doesn’t do it for me the way the rest of the album does.
I think I just don’t really vibe with the repeated question-asking. It’s not interesting to me. Sorry!
However, I will remind everyone that my least favorite Taylor Swift songs are still good songs. And this one is no different. Not my personal cup of tea, but at Tyler’s Tea Time we go through all sorts of flavors. They can’t all be favorites.
8. “Vigilante Shit”
From my exposure to popular Swiftie opinion so far, I can tell you my opinion on “Vigilante Shit” is probably in the minority.
Because, duh, I love it. Anyone who knows that “Look What You Made Me Do” still holds the rank of one of my favorite songs should not be surprised.
I love lyrical violence. And our queen has never been more violent.
“While he was doin’ lines, and crossin’ all of mine, someone told his white-collar crimes to the FBI.” When I heard that line for the first time, my jaw dropped in a way it only has a few times before in her discography. She dug up Scooter’s corpse to bury him again, and that is delightful to witness as a Swiftie.
I do hear unignorable Billie inspiration in the final chorus, which leads to this song feeling a little more derived than most. But I cannot sit here and say this track isn’t a bop. I’m sorry. I can’t!
When compared to the other poppy bops on Midnights, “Bejeweled” really didn’t stand out for me at first.
But here in December, it has fully grown on me.
Familiarity really does breed contempt. So true, bestie. And maybe that explains why I slept on this song too. Because when there are so many bops to choose from, I end up selecting my top one or two, when in fact there are several that deserve my love.
And now I scream the line “What’s a girl gonna do? A DIAMOND’S. GOTTA. SHIIIIINE.”
So, “Bejeweled” gets the Best Glow-Up award. Congrats, girl. You earned it.
I want to love “Labyrinth”. I like it.
And the truth is that 75% of the time, I skip it. I’m sorry. There are simply so many better songs on Midnights, and there is no way around that fact for me.
Sadly, I just don’t really feel strongly about any part of this one. I don’t hate anything about it. I don’t love anything about it. It’s just here.
What a fun song.
Taylor gives us her most Taylor Swift metaphor in this song: karma is a cat purring in her lap because it loves her. Incredible.
This is the lightest, airiest song on the album, and therefore such an easy listen. A real pleasure every time.
Compare the lyricism and attitude here to one of her earlier petty bops, “Better Than Revenge”. The difference is stark and delightful. I love that Taylor remains the same person, yet continues to improve her craft even after ten albums. It’s so fun to hear her growth over time. Obsessed.
12. “Sweet Nothing”
Never slander this song. Never.
“Sweet Nothing” is perhaps the cutest song she has ever written. Its production is more in line with what I expected from Midnights, and its lyrics are fit for a romantic album like Lover. It does nothing wrong, so I will not be tolerating any negativity about it in my comments.
I say that preemptively because, in my daily foray through Swiftie Twitter, I have seen “Sweet Nothing” in the bottom five of the album more times than I can count. And that is deeply incorrect, I fear.
Throw “Mastermind” into that same criminally-underrated category.
I will always associate these synthy scales with those giddy moments watching the music videos teaser clip Taylor released before the album’s release. They evoke wonder, excitement, and joy. How can I punish that with a poor ranking?
“Mastermind” did nothing wrong. Change my mind.
The 3AM Chapter
To the surprise of exhausted fans everywhere, Taylor released an expansion to Midnights at 3AM the morning after release (so, just 3 hours afterward).
With that, we had 7 new tracks to digest (plus one Target-exclusive bonus track). Miss Taylor had us fed so full we were on the verge of throwing up.
14. “The Great War”
This one feels worrisome and bittersweet. What happened with her and Joe to inspire this song? We can only guess. But “The Great War” makes it sound like their relationship was really on the rocks at some point.
Whatever happened, the song finishes with the vow that she would never sink to that low again, and will forever be his.
It’s a painfully bittersweet memory that feels like something we shouldn’t know. But if there’s one thing I love about Taylor Swift, it’s her honesty and vulnerability. This one’s a very strong example of those traits.
15. “Bigger Than The Whole Sky”
Once someone tells you that “Bigger Than The Whole Sky” sounds like a miscarriage song, you can’t hear it any other way.
Is she letting us in on another personal moment, or is this an imaginary tale in the same neighborhood as folklore and evermore? It’s impossible to say. But regardless, this song feels devastating and beautiful all at once. And its subject matter puts it into a different space away from the rest of Midnights.
Perhaps not a favorite, but an essential piece of the 3am edition nonetheless.
In the shadow of “Anti-Hero,” “Bejeweled,” and “Karma,” “Paris” threatens to go completely unnoticed as a power bop it its own right.
I foresee that, in a few months when I’m ready to put “Anti-Hero” down for a minute, “Paris” could become my favorite bop on the album. It’s catchy, rhythmically interesting, and vibrant. As all good pop songs should be.
17. “High Infidelity”
This song feels ripped right from the pages of evermore–bright enough sonically to be out of place on folklore, but deep enough lyrically to have that undeniable flavor of the sister albums era.
“Renegade” and “illicit affairs” made love, and “High Infidelity” was born.
If those songs weren’t so recent in Taylor’s discography, I might appreciate this track as much as it deserves.
“Glitch” feels perfectly at home on Midnights.
The staticky vinyl underscore throughout feels unique enough for this song to justify its existence, even if its lyrics aren’t in the highest tier on the album.
It’s atmospheric in a way that lends itself to being played in the background, whether in the dining room or in the bedroom.
19. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”
My first reaction to this song was defensiveness.
That’s because within a week of release, Swifties were calling it her best song ever. And I thought, that it way too hasty of a conclusion when “ivy,” “my tears ricochet,” “All Too Well,” and “cardigan” exist. So, naturally, I had a very contrarian reaction–this song isn’t that good.
Then a few weeks went by. Then a couple months.
And now, I find myself screaming the bridge of this song every time I hear it. And “if I was some paint, did it splatter on a promising grown man?” Chef’s kiss!!!
I maintain that the chorus is repeated once or twice too many times. However, this song cuts deep and has earned its place as an instant classic in Taylor Swift’s discography.
20. “Dear Reader”
“Dear Reader” slows things down in a way that I love and hate.
On one hand, I find this song a little denotative in a way that’s kinda boring. On the other, this song has one of the best bridges on the album.
This song is almost always in the bottom 5 when I rank Midnights in my head. And yet…it’s one of the most atmospheric, ambient songs on an album that has built its identity on atmosphere and ambience.
How are we supposed to rank this song?
Midnights Review & Ranking
Midnights combines the lyricism of folklore and evermore with the pop mastery of 1989, Reputation, and Lover. It therefore has all the strengths of Taylor Swift’s discography, wrapped into one glossy, moody package.
For Taylor to produce work of this caliber on her tenth album is, dare I say, unprecedented among artists in the 21st century (and perhaps in the last as well). She continues to break and set records 17 years into her career, and I can’t praise her enough for that. It’s truly special to witness.
With all that said, here is the correct, objective ranking of all the songs on Midnights. I have listed them worst to best. And I will not be taking any questions at this time.
- Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)
- Dear Reader
- Bigger Than The Whole Sky
- High Infidelity
- Lavender Haze
- Vigilante Shit
- Sweet Nothing
- The Great War
- Midnight Rain
- Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
- You’re On Your Own, Kid
Thank you so much for reading my review and ranking of Midnights–the tenth album from our lady and savior, Taylor Swift. Come back again soon for more Swiftie discourse!
You are such a talented writer!
Thank you so much!