Mastermind (song)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"Mastermind"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Midnights
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022 (2022-10-21)
Studio
GenreElectropop
Length3:11
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Jack Antonoff
Lyric video
"Mastermind" on YouTube

"Mastermind" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 21, 2022, as the final track on the standard edition of her tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). Written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff, the track has lyrics about a protagonist confessing to her lover that she in the past had carefully initiated a plan to make him love her. The production consists of swirling arpeggiators, layered vocal harmonies, and expansive bass. The track peaked within the top 20 in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States, and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Global 200.

Background and release[edit]

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28.[1] On a video via her Instagram account on September 6, 2022, titled "The making of Midnights", Swift revealed that Jack Antonoff, who had worked with her before on her five studio albums since 1989 (2014), was the producer on the album.[2] Starting from September 21, 2022, exactly a month before Midnights's release, she announced a thirteen-episode short series called Midnights Mayhem with Me on the social media platform TikTok.[3] The series' purpose is to announce a song title every episode by rolling a lottery cage containing thirteen ping pong balls numbered one to thirteen, each ball representing a track.[4] "Mastermind" was the first track title Swift revealed.[5]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Musically, "Mastermind" is a subdued electropop song.[6] In line with other Midnights tracks, it incorporates a bleeping electronic groove, swirling synth arpeggiators, an expansive bass, and layered vocal harmonies.[7][8] The bridge features cinematic strings.[9] Ilana Kaplan from the Alternative Press compared the opening synths to the "jittery" opening of the Who's song "Baba O'Riley" (1971).[10]

The lyrics are about reflecting upon one's past and declaring that the protagonist is the mastermind behind everything that happened.[11][12][13][14] The song opens with, "Once upon a time, the planets and the fates and all the stars aligned/ You and I ended up in the same room at the same time", which Time interpreted as a throwback to Swift's 2008 single "Love Story", in that both reference William Shakespeare's trope of star-crossed lovers.[7] Throughout the verses, Swift's character paints herself as the grandmaster scheming a plan to "assess the equation of you".[7] The refrain contrasts with the theme of love guided by fate and destiny on Swift's past songs (such as "Invisible String" or "Long Story Short") and asserts that "none of it was accidental", depicting the narrator as the person responsible for everything that has happened ("What if I told you I’m a mastermind? And now you’re mine/ It was all by design").[7][15][16]

Some critics commented that the song's confessional and openly personal sentiments are representative of Midnight's overarching lyrical theme.[9] Jon Caramanica from The New York Times described the track as Swift's "villain origin story", highlighting the lyrics, "No one wanted to play with me as a little kid/ So I've been scheming like a criminal ever since/ To make them love me and make it seem effortless."[17] Hannah Mylrea from NME considered the cited lyrics a personal revelation that only comes to light "in the wee hours".[9] According to The A.V. Club's Saloni Gajjar, the track also makes fun of Swift's public image and dating history.[18] In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood wrote that in addition to being a confession of Swift's love life, "Mastermind" is also about her career maneuver from a teenage country musician to a global pop star ("I laid the groundwork/ and then just like clockwork/ the dominoes cascaded in a line").[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

Upon the release of Midnights, all tracks of the standard edition debuted inside the top 15 of the Billboard Global 200 chart simultaneously; "Mastermind" was at number 13.[19] In the United States, it also debuted and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.[20] The song peaked on the Canadian Hot 100 chart at number 12 and was certified gold from Music Canada on November 24, 2022.[21][22] "Mastermind" appeared on record charts of various territories, at number 12 in Australia,[23] at number 13 in the Philippines,[24] number 14 in Singapore,[25] number 18 in Malaysia,[26] number 33 in Portugal[27] and Vietnam,[28] number 51 in Lithuania,[29] number 52 in Czech Republic,[30] number 56 in Sweden,[31] number 62 in Slovakia,[32] and number 80 in Spain.[33]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Pitchfork.[34]

Recording
  • Recorded at Rough Customer Studio (Brooklyn) and Electric Lady Studios (New York City)
  • Mixed at MixStar Studios (Virginia Beach)
  • Mastered at Sterling Sound (Edgewater, New Jersey)
  • Bobby Hawk's performance was recorded by Jon Gautier at Sound House Studios (Lakeland, Florida)
  • Evan Smith's performance was recorded by herself at Pleasure Hill Recording (Portland, Maine)
  • Zem Audu's performance was recorded by himself at Audu Music Studio (Brooklyn)
  • Michael Riddleberger's performance was recorded by himself at Moultrie Studios (Brooklyn)
  • Mikey Freedom Hart's performance was recorded by David Hart at Big Mercy Sound (Brooklyn)
Personnel
  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Jack Antonoff – songwriter, producer, recording, drums, programming, percussion, Juno, Minimoog, electric guitars, background vocals
  • Evan Smith – synths, saxophone, recording
  • Bobby Hawk – violin
  • Zem Audu – saxophone, recording
  • Michael Riddleberger – drums
  • Mikey Freedom Hart – programming, Minimoog
  • Megan Searl – assistant engineer
  • Jon Sher – assistant engineer
  • John Rooney – assistant engineer
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing engineer
  • Bryce Bordone – assistant mix engineer
  • Randy Merrill – mastering engineer
  • Laura Sisk – recording
  • Jon Gautier – recording
  • David Hart – recording

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "Mastermind"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[23] 12
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[21] 12
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[30] 52
Global 200 (Billboard)[19] 13
Greece International (IFPI)[35] 23
Lithuania (AGATA)[29] 51
Malaysia International (RIM)[26] 18
Philippines (Billboard)[24] 13
Portugal (AFP)[27] 33
Singapore (RIAS)[25] 14
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[32] 62
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[33] 80
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[31] 56
Swiss Streaming (Schweizer Hitparade)[36] 60
UK Audio Streaming (OCC)[37] 15
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 13
Vietnam (Vietnam Hot 100)[28] 33

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "Mastermind"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 40,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martoccio, Angie (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Announces New Album Midnights: 'A Journey Through Terrors and Sweet Dreams'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  2. ^ Shanfeld, Ethan (September 16, 2022). "Taylor Swift Confirms Jack Antonoff as Producer on Midnights in New Behind-the-Scenes Look". Variety. Archived from the original on September 16, 2022. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  3. ^ Jones, Damian (October 7, 2022). "Taylor Swift reveals all song titles on new album Midnights". NME. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  4. ^ Aniftos, Rania (September 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift Announces Next Midnights Song Title & It's Spicy". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  5. ^ Hudak, Joseph (September 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift reveals first Midnights song title 'Mastermind'". Rolling Stone UK. Archived from the original on November 9, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  6. ^ DeWald, Mike (October 20, 2022). "Album review: Taylor Swift strikes Midnights on her return to pop". Riff Magazine. Archived from the original on November 15, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Chow, Andrew R.; Gutterman, Annabel (October 21, 2022). "A Close Read of Taylor Swift's 'Mastermind'". Time. Archived from the original on November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (October 21, 2022). "Out of the woods, Taylor Swift's Midnights heralds the return of a pop-music mastermind". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c Mylrea, Hannah (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift – Midnights review: a shimmering return to pure pop". NME. Archived from the original on November 26, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  10. ^ Kaplan, Ilana (October 21, 2022). "Review: Midnights is Taylor Swift's darkest, most self-reflective work to date". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  11. ^ Dwyer, Matthew (November 4, 2022). "Taylor Swift's Midnights Is the Solution and the Problem". PopMatters. Archived from the original on November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  12. ^ Clark, Meredith (October 28, 2022). "Taylor Swift fans reveal how they tricked their partners with 'Mastermind' trend". The Independent. Archived from the original on November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  13. ^ Washington, Jasmine (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift Reveals Joe Alwyn Relationship Origin Story in Her 'Mastermind' Song". Seventeen. Archived from the original on November 9, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Spanos, Brittany (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift Lets Us Into Her Darkest Dreams on Midnights". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  15. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (October 21, 2022). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's Midnights". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  16. ^ Johnson, Ellen (October 20, 2022). "Taylor Swift Deals in Dark Magic on Midnights". Paste. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  17. ^ Caramanica, Jon (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift, Caught Between Yesterday and Tomorrow on Midnights". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  18. ^ Gajjar, Saloni (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift seeks to reclaim her glittering pop era in Midnights". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  19. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Canadian single certifications – Taylor Swift – Mastermind". Music Canada. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Mastermind". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Philippines Songs)". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 17, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "RIAS Top Charts Week 43 (21 - 27 Oct 2022)". RIAS. Archived from the original on November 1, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Top 20 Most Streamed International Singles In Malaysia Week 43 (21/10/2022-27/10/2022)". RIM. November 5, 2022. Archived from the original on November 5, 2022. Retrieved November 5, 2022 – via Facebook.
  27. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Mastermind". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  28. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Billboard Vietnam Hot 100)". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  29. ^ a b "2022 43-os savaitės klausomiausi (Top 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. October 28, 2022. Archived from the original on October 28, 2022. Retrieved October 28, 2022.
  30. ^ a b "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 202243 into search. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  31. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Mastermind". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  32. ^ a b "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 202243 into search. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Mastermind" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  34. ^ Hussey, Allison; Monroe, Jazz (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift Releases New Album Midnights: Listen and Read the Full Credits". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  35. ^ "IFPI Charts". ifpi.gr. Archived from the original on November 2, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  36. ^ "Streaming Charts Top 100" (in German). Schweizer Hitparade. Archived from the original on November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  37. ^ "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 28, 2022.