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Counting Down ‘Til Midnights: Here’s What We Know About Taylor Swift’s New Album

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

When Taylor Swift walked onto the red carpet at the 2022 Video Music Awards (VMA’s), something felt different. The autumnal vibe, pantsuits, and long hair of the Red (Taylor’s Version) era, for which she was nominated, were nowhere to be found. Instead, Taylor arrived in an Oscar de la Renta vintage-inspired, crystal-ridden short dress with bold sparkly eyeliner and a classic red lip to match. The feeling that we were on the eve of a new era was undeniable. However, with Taylor needing to re-master many of her earlier albums, including 1989 (which she has already released selected tracks from), the question became: What era is next?

VMA speech

In classic Taylor Swift style, she went on to win three awards that night and broke records along the way. For the music video/short film for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” she won best long-form video and best direction. It was the first self-directed video to win the category and video of the year, and Swift became the first artist to win the show’s highest award three times. During her acceptance speech for video of the year, Taylor decided to thank the fans for her awards by announcing her next album, saying, “I had sort-of made up my mind that if you were going to be this generous, and give us this. I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand new album comes out October 21st. And I will tell you more at midnight.”

This last phrase “and I will tell you more at midnight,” was the biggest easter-egg Taylor provided fans. As promised, at midnight sharp, Taylor took to social media to announce her tenth studio album: Midnights. The combination of the album art, Taylor’s VMA outfits, number of tracks on the album, release date, and accompanying caption on Instagram gave Swifties more than enough to begin deep dives and speculations.

Easter eggs

The first thing to jump out at Swifties was the motif of the number 13, something Taylor has done throughout her career. Not only can the digits of the release date (10/21) be added together to make thirteen, 10+2+1=13, but there are also 13 tracks on the album. In her very brief explanation of the album, Taylor describes these tracks as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights.”

The track list also intrigued Swifties, as Midnights will be a double-sided album. The theory of Taylor releasing a double-sided album first appeared with Lover, Taylor’s seventh album, and has continued to circulate since. As for the track names themselves, Taylor has taken to TikTok, in a series she named “Midnights Mayhem With Me,” to reveal the track titles one by one. The pattern of the days in which Taylor posts “Midnights Mayhem” videos has yet to be decoded by Swifties. So far, through “Midnights Mayhem”, we know track 13 is called “Mastermind,” track eight is called “Vigilante Shit,” track seven is called “Question…?,” and track six is called “Midnight Rain.”During this time, Midnights has also become available for pre-order on iTunes. This revealed that, despite some Swifties’ hope for a rock album, the genre of the album is pop, and six of the tracks are explicit.

What the album is actually going to sound like is purely speculation at this point, as no singles have been released. Whether or not a lead single will even be released ahead of the album is unclear. For Taylor’s most recent new albums, Folklore and Evermore, she dropped them with very short notice and without a single ahead of time. The only hint Taylor has really given is that Jack Antonoff will very likely be a producer on the album, as he is shown in an Instagram Reel Taylor posted which she captioned: “The making of Midnights.” Antonoff has played some sort of producer role in all of Taylor’s albums since her pop debut with 1989.

Album aesthetic

Visually, the Midnights era has a dark vintage feel with recurring themes of celestial bodies and time. The album cover itself is a close-up of Taylor with heavy glittery blue eye shadow, reminiscent of a starry night, holding a lit aluminum lighter. The image is also slightly out of focus and appears to have been shot on film, or edited to look so. The three alternate covers for Midnights carry this dark film vibe. Taylor also highlighted in an Instagram post that all four covers can be put together to create a clock, reinforcing the theme of time. Taylor’s red carpet looks since the VMA’s has continued to hold the same vibe, with vintage feeling sparkly dresses. On Instagram, Taylor has generally taken to more casual looks that are still heavily ’70s inspired.

Regardless of how Midnights ultimately sounds, there’s no doubt it will be one the top albums of the year. Taylor’s Instagram post announcing the album has already become her most liked, at over eight million likes; with Midnights pre-sales, Taylor became the first female artist in 2022 to sell over four million total album units in the US; and countless media sites predicting Midnights to be the album of the fall and/or year altogether. Ultimately, Swifties will have to follow the clues and count down until the clock strikes midnight on October 21st to discover how Midnights truly sounds.

Abby is a junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in American Studies and English with a concentration in anti-racism and social justice. Abby enjoys writing about music, sports, and her personal experiences. On campus, she is the co-captain of the equestrian team and a mentor for undecided students. Abby also works as a campus tour guide for visiting high school students. In her free time, Abby enjoys going for walks at sunset, listening to music - especially Taylor Swift, and watching dating shows with friends.