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“Midnights” Mayhem WIth Me: My Initial Ranking of Taylor Swift’s Newest Album

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

There’s nothing quite like the feeling in the air when a new Taylor Swift album is on the horizon. Midnights, Swift’s tenth original studio album, was an unexpected release of 13 brand-new tracks amidst her re-recording of her albums prior to 2019’s Lover. Most fans, like myself, were not expecting new music from her for a while. We have been in our Red (Taylor’s Version) era since last fall, and a change of pace was expected (hey, Speak Now), but not like this. In high anticipation for this album, I can say I was delving into theories, speculations, etc. as Taylor released the track list on her TikTok account leading up to the release.

In preparation, I put on my Red cardigan and watched Miss Americana until midnight on Friday, October 21. After a Spotify crash, we were able to get the album to stream. On first listen, I will admit with all honesty, I was disappointed. I was expecting a folklore-esque moody, soft-rock vibe that would make me sob. But, after removing my initial shock, I listened with complete openness, and I realized that Midnights is a return to Taylor in her truest form: a pop powerhouse with lyrics that still deliver powerful messages. She’s in love, she struggles with anxiety, she reflects and regrets, and she does it all with the wonderful production of Jack Antonoff on a project that has only grown on me and I think will only continue with time. Feel free to disagree (I probably will in another week), but here is my initial ranking of Midnights‘ original thirteen tracks.


Yeah, I said what I said. This is easily the top song on the album, and for so many reasons. The layers, the metaphors, the production, etc., everything fits so seamlessly together. The chorus pounds and makes me want to scream and cry at the same time. The verses transition from them being in love, to them fighting and breaking up, to the final verse where it drips away as the departure of her partner has left her “marooned.” “So scarlet, it was maroon,” meaning they burned too bright and passionate of a red that it darkened over time. Every reference in the chorus is maroon in color. She drops the f-bomb twice. I wish I had recorded my reaction to this song when I first heard it because nothing has changed — I knew this was going to be my favorite and it may very well go on to be in my top 13 of all time.


Now, this is Taylor Swift at her best. “Mastermind” was not at all what I thought it was going to be and in the absolute best way possible. This one was scratching an itch in my brain from start to finish. The drop in the beat into the pre-chorus is just *chef’s kiss*. I love the way she frames this relationship as if she believes she’s the one who’s in control and therefore is the one pulling the strings, but it is revealed to us that her target knew what she was plotting and went along with it the whole time. Also, who puts “machiavellian” in a pop song? Dr. Swift, that’s who.

“Midnight rain”

“Midnight Rain” was a jump scare initially that I didn’t like, however, upon my first re-listen I realized how wrong I was, and that this is one of the best on the album, in theme. Ultimately, you can decide if you think this song is about Taylor Lautner or Tom Hiddleston (personally, I believe Tom) but regardless, Taylor is extremely vulnerable here in saying she had to leave something even when there was nothing wrong with it. He wanted her for a wife and to stay comfortable, but she wanted to grow, she wanted to be challenged and change. She ultimately made the choice to leave but looks back on it fondly. This is one I feel holds personal weight as to why I rank it so high, but if you get it, you get it.

“you’re on your own, kid”

A bit untraditional for a track five, but “You’re Own Your Own, Kid” is spectacular in its own right. Taylor’s track fives are notoriously emotional, however, what I think is so special about this one is the number of different emotions it evokes. It makes me want to roll the windows down and drive at 90 miles per hour, but I also want to sob and scream into my pillow. Its buildup is powerful and beautiful and cumulates into the best bridge on the album. This one also grew on me, but now I rank it consistently within my top five as it is the ultimate growing anthem for anyone entering adulthood.


I have never heard a song that has captured the feeling of anxiety you get falling in love quite like in “Labyrinth.” The denial, fear, and finally acceptance in the chorus are just so beautifully done. This song is what getting butterflies and pangs in your chest when you have a crush feels like. I did indeed sob when I heard: “I thought the plane was going down, how’d you turn it back around?” It is slow, so I can understand why people have ranked it lower. If you enjoy “The Archer,” you’ll enjoy this one. However, I think this is one of the more underrated tracks thus far.

“Lavender Haze”

A perfect album opener. Everyone at the listening party was thrown off, but ultimately in the best way. We had to pause it halfway through and realize that we are no longer in the folklore woods. It set the tone in a perfect way and allowed us to enter the world and concept of Midnights. She is in love, she’s having fun, and I can’t quite describe the feeling it gave me when I first heard it. This was one I loved from the initial listen and have kept loving since.

“SNow on the Beach” (Ft. Lana Del ray)

I will preface this by saying I am not the biggest Lana fan, but I was hoping to hear her get a verse in this song. However, because I wasn’t largely reliant on that making or breaking the song, I didn’t let it influence my ranking. This song is heavenly, and though Lana is not as prominent as we thought she would be, the way her and Taylor’s voices harmonize is angelic, and this song makes me feel like I’m ascending. They perfectly describe the unexpected feeling of falling for someone you never thought you would fall for.


I love, love, love an upbeat song with deep lyrics that isn’t meant just to be a radio hit. Though this is the first single from Midnights, it is the perfect one, in my opinion. It says, “Hey I’m back and I’m singing a pop song again like I never left but I’m also anxious to return,” and I just eat it up. At first, the “sexy baby” lyric threw me, along with the chorus. I was thinking we were getting “ME!” part two. But, this one was also a grower. I liked it more and more upon re-listen. An extremely relatable track that also has me turning up the volume. Though I don’t know how this one will age, right now it’s on repeat on my walks to class.


“Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?” I just know Ms. Swift was WAITING to release this one. This song is for the Swifties who sat in the trenches between 1989 and reputation, and she delivered. I love it all: the cat reference, the Joe reference, etc. Again, this one is just so fun and if you can relate to it, it is just that much better. I can understand if you don’t like it, but for me, this one is an absolute winner for the day-one Taylor fans.


This is where these decisions get that much harder. “Bejeweled” in itself is so fun, so sparkly, and just overall a mood-booster for sure. It just makes me want to put on a sparkly outfit and smile. At first, I did not like it at all, but it was a grower, and it continues to be. I think with time it will be higher on the list, but I just liked the other ones more. It’s a great pop anthem and the music video was all the shiny delight I could’ve wanted on her return from her folklore/evermore exile (see what I did there).

“Sweet Nothing”

I think personally I am just not in the headspace to enjoy “Sweet Nothing,” but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. I think if I was in love it would easily be top five, but I think I don’t relate to it enough to rank it higher and it tends to be one I skip unless I want to sob. Joe Alwyn is credited as a writer alongside Taylor, and the fact they wrote this together makes me melt. It’s simplicity, sweetness, and an adorable descriptor of their relationship. I have nothing bad to say, it just wasn’t one that I fell in love with.

“Vigilante Sh*T”

I know, I know…hot take. However, I feel like I have to be in a very specific mood in order to enjoy this song. I LOVE the premise behind it — Scooter Braun, I’m looking at you — but overall, I don’t think it is where the album is at its strongest lyrically or sonically. Once you get past the initial shock of this being sung by Taylor Swift, I feel as though it loses its luster. I tend to reach more to the skip button than listening all the way through. With that being said, I ate it up upon release and I will continue to listen to it every weekend night before I go out and the third verse is one of my favorites on the album.


SOMETHING HAD TO GO LAST! I’m sorry, but this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the song. I just have felt myself leaning to skip it more so than the others. I love the song in the fact it is extremely relatable from a woman in her early twenties and a college student’s vantage point, but I just can’t get into it as much as some of the others. I also think the perspective the song is fun, and I love her use of rhetoric in the chorus. It just didn’t stick out to me as much as some of the others.

This album was extremely difficult to rank, as I don’t particularly dislike any of the songs. I just feel strongly about some more so than others. I’m sure this will change, as the album has barely been out a week! Now for those of you asking where the 3 a.m. tracks are, we’d be here all week if I had to throw those in (“Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve” would have been top though — watch your back, John Mayer). If you didn’t enjoy Midnights upon initial release, I would give it another try with an open mind, and you might be surprised by how much fun you have.

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Olivia Vadnais

U Mass Amherst '25

Hi everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a freshman at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I am very excited to join HerCampus this fall! I love reading, Taylor Swift, sports (especially basketball) and hanging out with friends and family. I am a management major and hope to end up double majoring in journalism as well.