The Big Vibe: Taylor Swift - Midnights

We, as humans, put so much time and mental energy into thinking of our inner demons and/or intrusive thoughts during the day. Taylor Swift attempts to make sense of them with her latest masterpiece, Midnights.

Taylor Swift has released her latest album 'Midnights'.

Midnights (3am Version) - Taylor Swift
Released via Republic Records

We, as humans, put so much time and mental energy into thinking of our inner demons and/or intrusive thoughts during a regular day.

Am I a good enough person for my loved ones? A future husband? Will I ever find love? What is the point of anything when life continues to dogpile one chaotic situation after another onto a single person?

As we all know, there are no real answers to any of those questions — but Taylor Alison Swift, mastermind extraordinaire, attempts to make sense of the intrusive thoughts with yet another masterpiece of an album/return to pop, produced by Swift herself and gorgeous man and in-demand producer Jack Antonoff, of Bleachers.

Midnights tells Swift's story of "13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life", although the story stretches to 20 tracks or "sleepless nights" with the beautiful Midnights (3am Version) featuring standout bonus tracks like Glitch, Bigger Than The Whole Sky, and Would've, Could've, Should've.

Granted, the 13-track album leaked two days before release, as much-anticipated albums often do.

My friend sent it my way and I justified listening to it in full, as Swift is worth an estimated $400 million and when she inevitably comes to Australia on the tour, she will absolutely receive my monetary contribution to the greater Midnights Cinematic Universe.

Midnights (3am Version) opens with Lavender Haze, a breezy pop banger about protecting her relationship from the unique position of being one of the world's most popular musicians.

A lot of the album really leans inwards into Swift's insecurities, her anxieties, the things that, well, keep her up past midnight.

But sonically, it is a return to her 1989-Reputation-Lover pop roots, after delving into a singer-songwriter alternative sort of energy for her last two albums and my personal favourite albums of hers, Folklore and Evermore.

Other personal standouts from the first half of the album are Anti-Hero, which talks about her insecurities and how the press tends to amplify them, whether directly or indirectly (the lyric "I'm the problem, it's me" rings a little too close to home); and Snow on the Beach — featuring Lana Del Rey —, a Mirrorball-style slow jam musing about the moment the person you like likes you back.

There's also You're on Your Own, Kid, a country-pop banger about being hopeful that the lengths she would go to in the past would turn her into the Cool Girl archetype, one that her unrequited loves would end up running towards – and how meaningless those efforts ended up being.

The second half of the album is still growing on me — but the highlights here, as the highlights have been throughout this album, are truly masterworks and should be proud to be a part of Swift's larger discography or cinematic universe.

We have Vigilante Shit, a club-ready banger that has our star "dressing for revenge" while the song's antagonist's world crumbles around them.

Then at track 11, we finally reach Karma – personally my (current) favourite song on the album – where she talks about how karma has done right by her in the past, and is doing right by her in the present.

Sonically, it sounds like her album 1989 if it were made now, in 2022, and that's what made me fall in love with the song.

Then comes Sweet Nothing, a sweet little love song penned by Swiftand her partner of six years, Joe Alwyn (under the pseudonym William Bowery), and Mastermind, a fitting ending to the 13-track collection, where she discusses her plan for meeting and falling in love with her leading man and how "none of it was accidental".

After I finished my first front-to-back listen of the 13-track collection, I will freely admit the album didn't really leave a superb impression. I considered it to be an earnest, yet forgettable blip in a discography that has produced masterpiece after masterpiece.

But then I gave the album a second listen. And then a third. Then the 3am Version came out and gave the album an added seven tracks that came through and gave the album added complexity and intimacy, to an album that was already complex and deeply intimate.

Midnights (3am Version) has unquestionably grown on me.

It has directly forced me to, once again, look at my insecurities and intrusive thoughts and not only be content with the fact that they will, on some level, always exist, but be content with the fact that as I navigate through this life as a 20-something neurodivergent queer person, new experiences and challenges will bring forth new insecurities and/or intrusive thoughts.

As Swift exclaims in the chorus of lead single Anti-Hero — "I'll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror / it must be so exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero".

After all of the challenges I had with my first listen of the album – it's now my third favourite Taylor Swift album, right behind the glorious and magnificent Folklore/Evermore at first; and then the pop confection masterpiece of 1989.

There is truly so much to explore and unpack with this album – and that exploration will continue with time as Swift creates more lore within the Midnights album era.

However, I believe that the one thing about Midnights (3am Version) that resonates the most for me personally is she really believes in the art she's producing and the listener can really feel that.

Midnights (3am Version) is just another stop on the Taylor Swift Masterpiece Train Express towards a discography that truly has no peers, no need for comparison and will age like fine wine.

As Taylor Swift states for her first words of Midnights (3am Version), meet me at midnight.