Welp! Taylor’s back with the album we’ve all been waiting for – ever since Evermore became a global hit in 2021.
And it’s instantly apparent that the Laurel Canyon thing is over.
Gone, too, is the tasteful sepia, drifting-through-the-New-England-woods aesthetic. There’s nothing hippie, nor preppy, about Midnights.
This is filled with purring, growling synths and tick-tock electronic drum patterns.
It’s still unmistakably Swift. This baker’s dozen of songs – a concept album of sorts, based on ‘the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life’ – are razor-sharp.
Of a less celebrated artist, one might remark, ‘Seems like everything happens to her.’
But in Swift’s case, everything does happen to her. She’s forever flung into the eye of some storm or other. So what else should she sing about?
Here, her lyrics are still carving up those who have caused her pain, including here one former business associate, referred to as ‘king of thieves… my pennies made your crown’ (now then, who could that be?).
And ‘Vigilante S***’ – which might have been better titled ‘Dressing For Revenge’ – is classic Taylor-as-avenging-angel stuff, deliciously ruthless: ‘I don’t dress for women/I don’t dress for men/Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge/I don’t start s***, but I can tell you how it ends…’
It’s been complained that Swift doesn’t write songs so much as jams (as did James Brown, but nobody bitches about that).
She does indeed tend to compose in small, repeating loops – and at times, she’s almost a rapper.
Happily, this album is all about emphasis, punctuation, delivering the message. And boy, does she deliver.
Again. Always. Alongside Lana Del Rey (who guests here, a summit meeting), the outstanding lyricist, scene-setter, story-teller of big-time pop today.
She’s back – and how!