Midnights

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Midnights
Cover artwork for "Moonstone Blue" edition of "Midnights" vinyl records: White background, with a square image of Taylor Swift in makeup holding a lighter on the bottom right corner, occupying two thirds of the image. There is a track list on the left of the image, featuring undisclosed track titles.
Temporary version of standard vinyl LP cover
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022 (2022-10-21)
LabelRepublic
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Red (Taylor's Version)
(2021)
Midnights
(2022)

Midnights is the upcoming tenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, set to be released on October 21, 2022, via Republic Records. It marks her first body of new work since her ninth studio album, Evermore (2020). Swift announced the album at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28. A concept album conceived from her thoughts during "sleepless nights", Midnights has been described by Swift as "a journey through terrors and sweet dreams".

The album artwork incorporates the track list on its front cover, but with undisclosed song titles. Swift began unveiling the track list on September 21, 2022, through a video series—Midnights Mayhem with Me—on her TikTok account. Additionally, her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff has been confirmed as a producer on Midnights.

Background[edit]

After a dispute over the sale of the masters of her first six studio albums in 2019, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced plans to re-record these albums.[1] She released the first two re-recordings, Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version), in 2021.[2] The latter included the 10-minute original version of her 2012 song "All Too Well", as well as a corresponding short film written and directed by Swift.[3] Mainstream media expected her to release the third re-recording next.[3]

We lie awake in love and in fear, in turmoil and in tears. We stare at walls and drink until they speak back. We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren't—right this minute—about to make some fateful life-altering mistake. This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching—hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve ... we'll meet ourselves.

— Swift, introducing Midnights on her social media[4]

Swift garnered five nominations for the short film at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2022,[5] winning three of them.[6] In her acceptance speech for the Video of the Year award, she announced a "brand-new" studio album scheduled for release on October 21, 2022.[4] Shortly after the reveal, Swift's official website was updated with a countdown clock and a phrase that read "Meet me at midnight".[4] Her social media accounts were also updated with the phrase,[7] and the canvases of some of Swift's songs on Spotify were changed to a visual featuring the same clock counting to midnight.[8] That midnight, Swift unveiled the name of her tenth studio album, Midnights, along with a written premise, and posted a cover artwork on her website and across her social media accounts. She described the album as "the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life".[4]

Writing and production[edit]

Jack Antonoff has been confirmed as a producer on Midnights.[note 1] Swift wrote the third track, "Anti-Hero", detailing her insecurities, such as struggling with "not feeling like a person".[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

Title card of Taylor Swift's Midnights Mayhem With Me video series
Title card of Midnights Mayhem with Me, a series of TikTok videos by Swift in which she reveals the track list, one song per episode.

Midnights is scheduled for release on October 21, 2022.[4] The album has been made available to pre-save and pre-order on her website.[11]

On September 21, 2022, Swift posted on TikTok introducing a series of short videos called Midnights Mayhem with Me, in which the track-list is gradually revealed in a randomized order. In the series, Swift appears in front of a curtain backdrop, accompanied by an elevator music tune.[12] She rolls a lottery cage containing 13 ping pong balls numbered from one to thirteen,[13] each representing a track of the album. When a ball drops out of the cage, she discloses the title of the corresponding track on the album, through a telephone. The first reveal was the thirteenth track "Mastermind".[14] Swift stated she chose to do the series to reveal the track-list directly, to "defy" her usual routine of incorporating easter eggs to hint at information.[12]

Cover artwork[edit]

The standard cover artwork of Midnights is minimalist.[15] It takes inspiration from old-fashioned LP jackets whose songs were listed on the front cover; however, the tracks are temporarily titled as "Track One," "Track Two" and so on up to 13.[16] The photograph of Swift featured in the artwork depicts her in a blue eye shadow, a black eye liner, and her signature red lips,[15] observing a glimmering lighter held near her face.[17] The album title and track list are in a blue gradient.[15] The vinyl edition of the cover, posted by Swift across her social media, splits the track list into an A-side and B-side, indicating a two-sided LP.[18] Three limited-edition color variants of the physical album, featuring different cover artworks, and a deluxe edition featuring three bonus tracks were also issued.[note 2] The reverse side of the standard and three alternate editions each portray a quarter sector of a dial; when assembled together and combined with a clock mechanism sold separately, they form a functioning clock.[20]

Media response[edit]

Press outlets speculated that Swift's Moschino outfit for the VMAs afterparty—a navy blue micro mini romper embellished with silver stars—teased the album's aesthetic.[21][22][23] The midnight is a recurring lyrical motif in Swift's music, having been used in different contexts and viewpoints in her albums.[note 3] The A.V. Club welcomed Midnights as a concept album that expands the "artistic motif into a full-blown album."[25] Media further noted the incorporation of Swift's lucky number 13 in the number of tracks, a tradition she had implemented in her music and career multiple times.[26][27] Time praised the track list's length, calling it a "concise lineup" for Swift, whose last album, Red (Taylor's Version), consisted of 30 tracks.[28] Variety reported that "there's been a curiosity" regarding the album's genre on the internet, whether Midnights would "continue in that more subdued, acoustic, Americana vein" of her 2020 records Folklore and Evermore, or return to the "pure pop" of Lover (2019) and its immediate predecessors.[16] The New York Times called Swift a "restless creative force" for releasing five albums within three years and expected Midnights to become one of 2022's best-selling albums, despite its October release.[29] American television host Jimmy Fallon decoded the album's alleged easter eggs as part of a skit on the September 19, 2022 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[30] Pitchfork and Time named Midnights as one of the most anticipated albums of fall 2022.[31][32]

Impact[edit]

Billboard called Swift's unexpected announcement of the album at the Video Music Awards a "headline-grabbing" moment. Bruce Gillmer, producer of the awards show, spoke to the magazine about their viewership gains and how Midnights gave a "massive lift" to the ratings.[33] Swift's official website also crashed due to heavy traffic following her first social media posts about the album.[34] The album's cover artwork became an internet trend, mimicked and parodied by social media users, including official accounts of brands, organizations and celebrities.[note 4] A five-star, boutique hotel in France—Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa—offers a special luxury package inspired by the album called "The Royal Sleep Experience"; a 13 percent discount will also go into effect for 13 days following the album's release.[36][37]

Track listing[edit]

Tracks are temporarily titled as "Track One", "Track Four", and so on, except those that have been revealed by Swift on her TikTok series, Midnights Mayhem with Me.[38]

Midnights – Standard edition
No.TitleLength
1."Track One" 
2."Maroon" 
3."Anti-Hero" 
4."Track Four" 
5."Track Five" 
6."Midnight Rain" 
7."Question...?" 
8."Vigilante Shit" 
9."Bejeweled" 
10."Track Ten" 
11."Track Eleven" 
12."Track Twelve" 
13."Mastermind" 
Midnights – Deluxe edition[39]
No.TitleLength
14."Bonus Track One" 
15."Bonus Track Two" (remix) 
16."Bonus Track Three" (remix) 

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for Midnights
Region Date Format(s) Edition Label Ref.
Various October 21, 2022 Standard Republic [40]
United States
  • CD
  • vinyl LP
Target [39]
Brazil November 30, 2022 CD Standard Universal Music Brasil [41]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Antonoff has produced one or more tracks in seven Swift albums—every album since 1989 (2014).[9]
  2. ^ The standard, widely available artwork of Midnights is called "Moonstone Blue". The limited edition covers are namely "Jade Green", "Blood Moon", and "Mahogany". The deluxe edition, which is a Target-exclusive in the US, is titled "Lavender".[19]
  3. ^ Examples include songs "You Belong with Me" (2008), "Untouchable" (2009), "All Too Well" and "22" (2012), "Better Man" and "Nothing New" (2021), "Style" and "You Are in Love" (2014), "...Ready for It?" and "New Year's Day" (2017), "Daylight" (2019), "The Last Great American Dynasty" and "Happiness" (2020).[24]
  4. ^ Such as the International Basketball Federation, the United States women's national soccer team, HBO Max, Fruit by the Foot, Heinz, Dairy Queen, and America's Got Talent's Terry Crews, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofía Vergara.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rothman, Michael (August 22, 2019). "Taylor Swift will re-record her old music next year after ownership dispute". Good Morning America. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  2. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (June 18, 2021). "Taylor Swift Announces Red As Next Re-Recorded Album, November Release Date". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 19, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Willman, Chris (November 13, 2021). "Taylor Swift Offers Peek Into Her Past With 'All Too Well: The Short Film'". Variety. Archived from the original on December 18, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e 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 August 29, 2022.
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick, Emily (July 26, 2022). "Taylor Swift Receives Five VMA Nominations For Her Self-Directed "All Too Well" Music Video". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  6. ^ Grein, Paul (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Is First Artist to Achieve These VMAs Feats, Plus Other 2022 Record Setters". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  7. ^ Fisher, Kelly (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Reveals New Album Release Date During 2022 MTV VMAs". WQLX. iHeartMedia. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  8. ^ Fowler, Bella (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift to release 10th studio album, Midnights". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  9. ^ 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 September 16, 2022.
  10. ^ Huff, Lauren (October 3, 2022). "Taylor Swift says new 'Midnights' track 'Anti-Hero' is 'a guided tour' of her insecurities". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  11. ^ Bailey, Alyssa; Puckett-Pope, Lauren (August 29, 2022). "Everything Taylor Swift Revealed About Her 10th Album, 'Midnights', Out October 21". Elle. Archived from the original on August 28, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  12. ^ a b McArdle, Tommy (September 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift Begins Revealing 'Midnights' Song Titles — Starting with 'Track 13, Because of Course'". People. Archived from the original on September 25, 2022. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  13. ^ 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 September 23, 2022.
  14. ^ Gallagher, Alex (September 23, 2022). "Taylor Swift shares song title 'Vigilante Shit' in 'Midnights' tracklist reveal series". NME. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c Sanchez, Chelsey (September 1, 2022). "A Comprehensive Guide to Midnights, Taylor Swift's Upcoming 10th Album". Harper's Bazaar. Archived from the original on September 3, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Willman, Chris (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Announces All-New Album, 'Midnights,' Set for October". Variety. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  17. ^ Dailey, Hannah (August 31, 2022). "Heidi Klum & Sofia Vergara Parody Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' Album Cover: 'Midnightsnacks'". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  18. ^ Garcia, Gretty (August 29, 2022). "Everything to Know About the Major Bombshell Taylor Swift Dropped on Us Last Night: Her New 'Midnights' Album". Cosmopolitan. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  19. ^ Brandle, Lars (September 13, 2022). "Taylor Swift's 'Lavender Edition' of 'Midnights' Includes Three Bonus Tracks". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 14, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  20. ^ Brandle, Lars (September 16, 2022). "Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' LPs Assemble to Make a Clock". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 16, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  21. ^ Perry, Whitney (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Kicked Off the Midnights Era With a Starry Micro Mini". Glamour. Archived from the original on September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  22. ^ Bonner, Mehera (August 29, 2022). "Fully Convinced Taylor Swift's VMAs After Party Look Is Teasing Her 'Midnights' Era". Cosmopolitan. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  23. ^ Rowley, Glenn (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift's 2022 VMAs Afterparty Look Is Perfectly on Theme With Upcoming Album 'Midnights'". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  24. ^ Ahlgrim, Callie (September 3, 2022). "Every time Taylor Swift has sung about 'sleepless nights' ahead of her new album 'Midnights'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on September 30, 2022. Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  25. ^ Kate Carr, Mary (August 29, 2022). "A brief history of Taylor Swift's midnights, in honor of her new album". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on August 31, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  26. ^ Enos, Morgan (August 29, 2022). "Everything We Know About Taylor Swift's New Album 'Midnights'". Grammys. Archived from the original on August 31, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  27. ^ Gibson, Kelsie (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Shares Details on Upcoming Midnights Album: 'The Stories of 13 Sleepless Nights'". People. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  28. ^ Zornosa, Laura (August 29, 2022). "Everything We Know So Far About Taylor Swift's New Album Midnights". Time. Archived from the original on August 31, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  29. ^ Sisario, Ben (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift Announces 'Midnights,' a New Album Written After Dark". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 30, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  30. ^ Dailey, Hannah (September 20, 2022). "Jimmy Fallon Turns Into a Mad Taylor Swift Scientist While Dissecting 'Midnights' Easter Eggs: Watch". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  31. ^ "The 13 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2022". Time. Archived from the original on September 26, 2022. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  32. ^ "The 34 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2022". Pitchfork. September 21, 2022. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved September 26, 2022.
  33. ^ Grein, Paul (August 31, 2022). "Producers of 2022 VMAs on Why They Think the Ratings Ticked Up This Year: 'All the Stars Aligned'". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 31, 2022. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  34. ^ Cain, Sian (August 29, 2022). "Taylor Swift announces new album, Midnights, to be released in October". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 29, 2022. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  35. ^ Burke, Sammi (September 3, 2022). "The Internet's Best Parodies of Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' Album Cover". Parade. Archived from the original on September 5, 2022. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  36. ^ Montanez, Abby (September 26, 2022). "A 5-Star Hotel in France Is Offering a Taylor Swift-Themed Experience, So Pack Your Red Scarf". Robb Report. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  37. ^ Gross, Michelle (September 27, 2022). "This Hotel In France Is Offering A Royal Taylor Swift Inspired Sleep Experience". Forbes. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  38. ^ Swift, Taylor. "Taylor Swift Official TikTok". TikTok. Archived from the original on September 28, 2022. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  39. ^ a b Midnights Target-exclusive formats:
  40. ^ Midnights release formats:
  41. ^ "CD Midnights - Taylor Swift". UMusic Store (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on August 30, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.