Taylor Swift isn’t done wreaking her early morning havoc just yet. Three hours after Midnights’ release, she unveiled a 3 AM version, containing 7 new songs. The tracks feel more like Folklore and Evermore, partially due to Aaron Dessner, who worked with Swift on the aforementioned albums, contributing to three of the songs. Is there a reason these bonus features were left off the main setlist, or are they even better?
1. “The Great War”
During the song’s first half, Swift compares her relationship to the First World War, a tumultuous mess. Despite the horrors that they went through, Swift and her lover pull through the conflict, coming out the other side stronger than ever. “Soldier down on that icy ground, looked up at me with honor and truth/ Broken and blue, so I called off the troops/ That was the night I nearly lost you,” she recounts. She ends the song by reasserting her love, singing, “I will always be yours/ Because we survived the Great War.” A heartfelt yet catchy tune all about reconciliation, this song is one you can easily leave on repeat.
2. “Bigger Than the Whole Sky”
“Bigger Than the Whole Sky” addresses lost love and discusses the wasted potential of a short-lived relationship. “Did some bird flap its wings over in Asia?/ Did some force take you because I didn’t pray?” she ponders. “Every single thing to come has turned to ashes/ ‘Cause it’s all over, it’s not meant to be.” The track’s vulnerability is haunting, echoing in one’s ears long after it fades away.
This track’s fast pace sharply contrasts with the previous two, but in the best way possible. Rather than mourning what was lost, she recalls being wrapped up in a whirlwind of love. Swift praises being in the moment and away from the media, reveling in her freedom. “Romance is not dead if you keep it just yours/ Levitate above all the messes made,” she sings, “Sip quiet by my side in the shade/ And not the kind that’s thrown/ I mean the kind under where a tree has grown.” If you’re looking for a positive banger, “Paris” is the song for you.
4. “High Infidelity”
“High Infidelity” is about being stuck in a loveless relationship, leading to an implied confession of cheating. Swift describes the slow deterioration of the pair’s love, singing, “You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love/ The slowest way is never loving them enough.” The song’s bright synths give it a cheery veneer that’s hiding a lot of disrepair, much like the relationship itself.
Swift expresses her disbelief at being in a happy long-term relationship, claiming that it must be fake, that this love is too good to be real. “I was supposed to sweat you out/ In search of glorious happenings of happenstance on someone else’ playground,” she recounts, “But it’s been two-thousand-one-hundred-ninety days of our love blackout/ Our love is blacking out/ The system’s breaking down.” Her relationship wasn’t one she intended to continue, but it was the one she needed. The song’s creative use of a guitar (possibly steel?) gives it a unique sound that will quickly develop into an earworm you just can’t be mad at.
6. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”
In sharp contrast to “Bigger Than the Whole Sky,” this song’s “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” is speculating what could’ve been had Swift never been in a relationship with an older man at 19. She doesn’t look back on this period of her life with fondness, instead asserting that she would’ve been a better person if she’d never met her ex. “And now that I’m grown, I’m scared of ghosts/ Memories feel like weapons/ And now that I know, I wish you’d left me wondering,” she sings, “Living for the thrill of hitting you where it hurts/ Give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” It’s an excellent exploration of living with the scars of past trauma and mourning lost innocence.
7. “Dear Reader”
Aimed directly at the audience, “Dear Reader” gives listeners advice while also questioning Swift’s status as a role model. “Never take advice from someone who’s falling apart,” she sings, following up later by saying, “You wouldn’t take my word for it if you knew who was talking.” She states that she isn’t someone to look up to, telling fans that they “should find another guiding light.” The perfect closer to an insanely beautiful album, Swift turns her introspective thoughts towards her fans, asking them to peer inside themselves and question their idols.