Indiana Area Senior High School

Taylor Swift evades time and expectations with “Midnights”

By EMMA SHEERAN

Taylor Swift recently released her 10th studio album ‘Midnights’ and it took no more than a day for it to break streaming records and make history. Though there have been some differing opinions on the album, it cannot be denied that it is one of her most successful and popular releases.

Swift took the record from Adele’s “25” for the biggest weekly take for an album, selling 1,578,000 copies of “Midnights” in its release week.  She held all 10 spots on the Billboard Top 10 chart consecutively. She also took the record for the third-largest streaming week ever for an album, and it is also now the largest streaming week ever for an album by a female artist.

How she does this has always been a wonder, but one might speculate that it has to do with her unique ways of keeping her fans engaged. Her unique promotion style keeps not only her fans, but the general public engaged in the process. For “Midnights,” she endured a series of midnight announcements, during which she announced the names of the tracks, which kept the intrigue high. “The idea of 13 sleepless nights really spoke to me,” says sophomore Grace Bowersox. “The promotion for the album makes it so much better to listen to and like.”

Though her most public, this album is also possibly her most personal yet; she allows the public to see into her mind and experience her memories in the way that she once did.

“It’s so raw and emotional. She basically opened up herself to the world by releasing this album,” explains junior Kamryn Snyder. She notes how the lyrics on “Anti-Hero” and “You’re on Your Own Kid” are some of Swift’s most vulnerable yet.

Snyder is correct; in “Anti-Hero,” Swift examines her own self-destructive habits with lyrics like “I should not be left to my own devices // they come with prices and vices // I end up in crisis (tale as old as time).” This is the first time she has done something as open as this. In the past, she has been open but dually guarded in her lyricism. 

For example, in her song “Getaway Car,” she uses a clever criminal metaphor to tell the story of a time she wants to write about but doesn’t want to expose to the public completely. Now, she’s willingly exposing herself to the masses that once criticized her for doing the very things she’s now writing about. 

Another aspect of this album that made it so palpable was the interpretations it made of her old music. “ I think using very creative analogies and spins on old music really set this album as her own,” notes Bowersox. One example of this is a track on her “3 AM Version” of the album (a sort of deluxe edition released at 3 AM with extra tracks): “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.”

Fans connected this song to her 2010 “Speak Now” hit “Dear John.” There are callbacks within the lyrics, from “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”: “I…never would’ve danced with the devil at 19,” as compared to “Dear John”: “Don’t you think 19 is too young to be messed with?” Not only do the lyrics jog fan’s memories, but so does the production. 

It is modeled after that old country twang Swift used to put to use in her music–with a little bit of John Mayer, which fans theorize is a dig at the man that dated 19-year-old Swift at 32. At any rate, “[the spins on old music] really showed how much she’s grown over the years with her craftsmanship,” Bowersox follows up.

Overall, “Midnights” has proven, yet again, that Swift has an impenetrable ability to reinvent herself. By forming creative promotion tactics, examining her own habits, and returning to her roots, she has managed to break tons of records and remain on top of the music industry.

Senior Giovanna DeRosa speaks for all “swifties” when she says, I’ve always loved her; I clicked with her music. She is a very good writer who can hit issues that others can relate to, and I find that very inspiring.”

[Photo by Emma Sheeran] Caption: “Junior Kamryn Snyder decked out in her Taylor Swift merchandise.

 

Emma Sheeran

Reporter

Emma is a senior and a first-year reporter for the High Arrow. She has been intensely involved with the IHS music department for all four years of high school, including attending state-level competitions and playing with the PSO. She is looking forward to working in a journalistic setting and putting the education she receives here towards a career in journalism.

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