A Very Definitive And Definitely Not Subjective Ranking Of Taylor Swift's New Album 'Midnights'

A Very Definitive And Definitely Not Subjective Ranking Of Taylor Swift's New Album 'Midnights'
Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Midnights. Taylor Swift really did that, she reaaallllyyy did that. 21 new songs on the 21st of October, and a music video? We really are spoilt.

Just to catch everyone up, in case we SOMEHOW aren't on the same page, Dr Taylor Alison Swift came out with her 10th studio album on Friday, called 'Midnights'. Three hours after the album release, she announced 8 bonus songs, and later that same day, a music video for one of the songs on the album was released. Swifties have not known peace since then, naturally.

And since I too, am a Very Big Swiftie™, how could I not use this time to listen to the album (for the fiftieth time) and rank and review it for work? Two birds, one stone and all that. So this is my very-definitive-and-definitely-not-subjective ranking of the 21 songs from Taylor Swift's new album 'Midnights'.

I will preface this by saying the album was definitely not the genre I was expecting. The promo photos and artwork that we had been seeing before the release was giving 70s retro vibes with all the mustards and patterns and the flared pants and long hair with bangs. I was expecting the album to have a synth rock kinda feel, something like Lorde's Melodrama perhaps? The album however, is very straightforward pop, which isn't a sin or anything, but definitely not what I was expecting. Anyway, let's dive right in, shall we?

1) Snow on the Beach ft. Lana Del Rey

Okay yeah, I know that Lana is barely featured on it, apart from some haunting background vocals. But this song to me seems like an extension of Folklore's 'mirrorball', and maybe that's because of the soft gentle echoey vocals. But I love a sweet soft indie sounding love song, because I am a Libra who loves being in love. There's something cinematic and magical and romantic about this song, and it's my number one pick. I mean the way they harmonize as they sing 'Are we falling like snow at the beach' right after the bridge? Perfection.

2) Karma

The way Taylor must have been laughing at us speculating about the scrapped Karma album. The way she must have been absolutely cackling as she titled this song Karma. But it's fine it's fine. The song absolutely delivers. Very easy breezy and a genuine bop. I know people have their reservations about 'Karma is my boyfriend / Karma is a cat', but for some reason it works. Maybe it's the pacing, the inflection, the melody. It just works and the song instantly puts you in a good mood. Love it.

3) Labyrinth

Yeah yeah I'm a sucker for songs about Joe Alwyn it seems, maybe there's a theme here, maybe I will just blame it on the fact that I'm a Libra of course. But I really like this song!! Sue me!! The distant haunting clock tower bell chimes that fade out right before the chorus comes in make it sound profound and magical. And then the soft thud of realisation in the chorus that uh-oh, love. It's happening.

4) Would've Could've Should've 

Mannn Taylor really aims for the jugular with this one. Also RIP John Mayer. I think this might be the most open and raw and vulnerable writing on this album, truthfully. When she sings 'Give me back my girlhood / It was mine first' ????? Literal chills. Also because, she was literally only 19 when she was with then 32-year-old John Mayer. As the memes say, congrats to John Mayer for being the only person in history to be murdered twice, 12 years apart.

5) Mastermind

A song about Taylor Swift being a mastermind, very meta, I know. But really, this is basically an inversion of 'Invisible String' from Folklore where she sings about how fate led her to Joe Alwyn. In 'Mastermind', she's saying 'Ha ha, it was all my plan actually'. This song pulls you in, and then pats you on the head and gives you a kiss on the forehead. Interpret that however you will.

6) Anti-Hero

Jack Antonoff really amps up the Jack Antonoff-ness with this song. Of course it's super synthy and bassy, but also it sounds like a Bleachers song...which is basically saying it sounds synthy and bassy. The song is an exploration of her own insecurities, and how she feels like a failure many times. Also it has that line that everyone's going on about. Sexy baby. Yep. Who knows what it means, but you know what, she's right.

7) Sweet Nothing

She co-wrote this one with Joe Alwyn, so you know it's super super sweet. Very stripped down, compared to the rest of the album, reminds me a little bit of 'It's Nice To Have A Friend'. But the imagery is so sweet, 'You're in the kitchen humming / All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothing' she sings. It reminds me of the soft intimacy of everyday routine when you're with someone you love.

8) You're On Your Own Kid

Any true Swiftie knows that Track number 5 on a Taylor Swift album is the 'emotional and vulnerable' one, and this one is no different. Except instead of being about a romantic relationship, as many prior Track 5's have been, this one is in many ways about self-love, and realising that you're enough for yourself. Taylor tracks her trajectory from when she was in high school to when she became a big sensation and was throwing huge parties, and comes to the conclusion that she's always been on her own, and it has always been enough.

9) Maroon

Someone described this as the 'most Taylor Swift song to ever Taylor Swift', because it mentions all her familiar tropes: New York, dancing, wine, the color red and telephones. To me, it almost feels like an extension of 'Dress' from Reputation.

10) The Great War 

This one also still feels more Folklore/Evermore to me, and that's probably why I like it. I am more curious than ever about what went down in Joe and Taylor's relationship, because this isn't the first time she has written about them fighting and her being kinda unfair (think 'Afterglow' from Lover). But hey, I'm glad they survived the war.

11) Bejeweled 

This one is fun, its catchy and its a great self-affirming anthem. Also kind of a message to men to put some respect on it. It's full of sass and it's a confidence boosting kinda song. 'And when I meet the band, and they ask do you have a man / I could still say I don't remember' yeahh get it Taylor. Also very Bleacher-y.

12) Question...?

I'm not gonna get into the theories surrounding this song, but I will say, it samples 'Out of the Woods' from 1989, which is fun. And which makes me think it could be about Harry Styles? I guess we'll never know.

13) Bigger Than The Whole Sky

This is such a beautiful song, the only reason I'm putting this so low is because it is so so sad??? 'Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky / You were more than just a short time' I MEAN. Tears.

14) Lavender Haze

I wasn't a huge fan of the first track off the album, it's a bit too synthy pop-y for my liking. But a lot of people are finding parallels between it and 'I Think He Knows' from Lover, so that's fun. It's also inspired by a line form the TV show Mad Men, which I really like.

15) Midnight Rain

Yeah not a big fan of the warped modulated audio at the beginning of this song, and the pacing is slow but not a fun slow, if that makes sense?

16) High Infidelity

What makes this song fun is her calling out her ex, Calvin Harris, and being like 'Yeah do you really wanna know what I was doing that day?'. I will say, I don't know about Calvin, but I really wanna know what was going down on April 29th, apart from the release of Calvin's song 'This is What You Came For', which also has it's own drama attached to it.

17) Glitch

Also not a huge favorite, but it's a very chill vibe, could be good to put on a playlist while you study or work or something.

18) Dear Reader

Man I really don't like the T-Pain esque warpy modulated audio in this song's chorus. But overall it's another chill song.

19) Hits Different

This one is only available on the Lavender CD apparently, but might be up on streaming sites soon. But from what I've heard on TikTok, it's okay. Nothing too special, but that could change once I hear the actual song and not just a snippet.

20) Paris

This could have been an extension of New Romantics...but alas, it wasn't. It feels too...gauche if you will. Not a fan.

21) Vigilante Shit

Yeah, this one isn't for me. It's a very Reputation-era feeling song, that's a very slow burn, and thematically is a cross between 'Mad Woman' and 'No Body No Crime' from Folklore and Evermore. It's ostensibly about Scooter Braun, which is fun, but the song itself doesn't do much for me.

Khadija Muzaffar is the culture editor at The Friday Times. Previously a Fulbright scholar at NYU, she enjoys writing about society, culture, music and food. She tweets at @khadijamuzaffar, but is far more interesting on Instagram.