Sweet Nothing (Taylor Swift song)

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"Sweet Nothing"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Midnights
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022
Studio
Length3:08
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Lyric video
"Sweet Nothing" on YouTube

"Sweet Nothing" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from her tenth studio album Midnights (2022). Written by Swift and Joe Alwyn (under the pseudonym William Bowery), the former produced it with Jack Antonoff. "Sweet Nothing" is a 1970s-inspired ballad, the protagonist describes their lover as a calm presence amidst the chaos outside.

Music critics praised the song's lyrics, melody and subtle production, with some picking it as one of the better songs on Midnights. Commercially, it charted within the top-twenty of single charts in Australia, Canada, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.

Background[edit]

On August 28, 2022, Taylor Swift announced her tenth studio album when she won Video of the Year for All Too Well: The Short Film at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, set to be released on October 21, 2022. Shortly after, Swift revealed the title, Midnights, and its album cover but the track-list was not revealed.[1] British actor and partner, Joe Alwyn has previously worked with Swift on two of her 2020 studio albums, Folklore and Evermore under the pseudonym, William Bowery. On 2022, Alwyn was enlisted in her new album as a co-writer of "Sweet Nothing".[2][3] Jack Antonoff, a long time collaborator of Swift, who had worked with her since her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014), was confirmed as a producer on Midnights by a video posted to Swift's Instagram account on September 16, 2022, titled "The making of Midnights".[4]

On September 21, 2022, a month before Midnights release, she announced a thirteen-episode short series called Midnights Mayhem With Me that will be released on the social media platform TikTok. The video series purpose is to announce a song title through a telephone every episode by rolling a lottery cage containing thirteen ping pong balls numbered one to thirteen, each ball representing a track.[5][6] On October 7, "Sweet Nothing" was announced as the penultimate track of the standard edition along with "Lavender Haze", "You're on Your Own, Kid", and "Labyrinth" a few hours after.[7]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Swift and Joe Alwyn, credited as William Bowery,[8] wrote the song with the former producing it with Jack Antonoff. It is the only Midnights track other than "Vigilante Shit" that Antonoff had not co-written.[9] "Sweet Nothing" is a tender, dreamy ballad, driven by electric piano and saxophone,[10][11][12] imitating 1970s ballads.[13] The climax includes horn stings.[11]

The title of the song references the expression of "sweet nothing", an unmeaning romantic gesture that occur between lovers.[14] "Sweet Nothing" is a love song, describing the protagonist's lover as a calm and reliable presence, contrasted to the hectic stardom outside.[15][12][16] The song opens with a vivid picture of a pebble being picked up in the shores of Wicklow, an Irish county where Alwyn filmed the Hulu show, Conversation With Friends.[17] In the bridge, it's about the celebrating the sharing of your most vulnerable feelings and fears with your partner.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Alex Hopper of American Songwriter described the song as "buoyantly free" and "delightfully naive", calling it a "simple gem".[18] Ranking every Midnights' track, Billboard journalist Jason Lipshutz placed it as the album's eighth best song, saying Swift's subtle gestures is one of the album's most affecting.[12] Entertainment Weekly's Marc Hirsh called the song "charming" for portraying Swift devoting to someone who demands nothing for her.[19] Courteney Lacrossa of Insider dubbed the song "the softest and most sensitive" song because of its specificity. Callie Ahlgrim alongside Lacrossa selected it as the Midnights track that "gives me chills everytime".[20] Rick Quinn from PopMatters picked "Sweet Nothing" as one of the songs that showcases Swift's ability to "enunciate and play with where the emphatic accent falls become rhythmic instruments."[21] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph hailed the "gossamer-light, flyaway ballad" as the album's best song.[22] Esquire selected "Sweet Nothing" among the 45 best songs of 2022.[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

After Midnights' release, "Sweet Nothing" entered the Billboard Global 200 at number 14 alongside the standard edition's 12 other tracks, all of which debuted inside the top-15 of the Global 200.[23] In the United States, it debuted and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.[24] "Sweet Nothing" charted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number 15 and was certified gold from Music Canada on November 29, 2022.[25][26] "Sweet Nothing" appeared on various single charts, at number 12 in the Philippines,[27] number 14 in Australia,[28] number 15 in Singapore,[29] number 16 in Malaysia,[30] number 27 in Vietnam,[31] number 34 in Portugal,[32] number 59 in Sweden,[33] number 66 in Czech Republic,[34] number 70 in Switzerland,[35] number 72 in Lithuania,[36] number 78 in Slovakia,[37] and number 89 in Spain.[38]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Pitchfork.[9]

Recording
Personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "Sweet Nothing"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 14
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 15
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[34] 66
Global 200 (Billboard)[23] 14
Greece International (IFPI)[39] 30
Lithuania (AGATA)[36] 72
Malaysia International (RIM)[30] 16
Philippines (Billboard)[27] 12
Portugal (AFP)[32] 34
Singapore (RIAS)[29] 15
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[37] 78
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[38] 89
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[33] 59
Swiss Streaming (Schweizer Hitparade)[35] 70
UK Audio Streaming (OCC)[40] 18
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 15
Vietnam (Vietnam Hot 100)[31] 27

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "Sweet Nothing"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[26] 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 17, 2022.
  2. ^ Sources on recognition of Alwyn as Swift's "partner"
    • Malone Kircher, Madison (December 11, 2020). "Thank You, Taylor Swift, for Making My Sad Yuletide Gay(er)". Vulture. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021. For "betty", it was "William Bowery" a.k.a. her partner Joe Alwyn who, according to Swift's folklore concert film, plays the piano "just beautifully" and roams the house singing fully formed songs.
    • "Netflix's Miss Americana Unveils a New Taylor Swift". Slate. January 24, 2020. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2021. Although Swift credits much of her recent evolution to her long-term relationship with Joe Alwyn...
    • "Paul McCartney & Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. November 13, 2020. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2021. McCartney: So how does that go? Does your partner sympathize with that and understand? Swift: Oh, absolutely.
  3. ^ Mier, Tomás (October 18, 2022). "See Which 'Midnights' Song Joe Alwyn Is Listed as a Co-Writer on With Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 25, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  4. ^ 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 17, 2022.
  5. ^ "Taylor Swift Begins Revealing 'Midnights' Song Titles — Starting with 'Track 13, Because of Course'". Peoplemag. Archived from the original on September 25, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  6. ^ 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 17, 2022.
  7. ^ 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 24, 2022.
  8. ^ "This 'Midnights' Song Will Forever Be Part Of Taylor & Joe's Love Story". Elite Daily. Archived from the original on November 16, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Releases New Album Midnights: Listen and Read the Full Credits". Pitchfork. October 21, 2022. Archived from the original on October 22, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  10. ^ 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 January 7, 2023.
  11. ^ a b Willman (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' Marks a Return to Electronic, Confessional Pop That's Worth Losing Sleep Over: Album Review". Variety. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 24, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (October 21, 2022). "Every Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's 'Midnights'". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 24, 2022.
  13. ^ Wilson, Carl (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift's Midnights Is the Right Kind of Concept Album". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  14. ^ McDonald, Adam (October 26, 2022). "Taylor Swift - Sweet Nothing | Lyrics Meaning Revealed". Justrandomthings. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  15. ^ 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 November 25, 2022.
  16. ^ a b McNeal, Bria; Hassan, Ammal; Miller, Matt (December 2, 2022). "The 45 Best Songs of 2022 (So Far)". Esquire. Archived from the original on December 8, 2022. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Is Taylor Swift And Joe Alwyn's 'Midnights' Song 'Sweet Nothing' About Them?". news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on November 27, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  18. ^ Hopper, Alex (October 21, 2022). "Review: Taylor Swift Delivers Her Dreamiest and Most Introspective Album to Date with 'Midnights'". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on October 31, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  19. ^ Hirsh, Marc (October 21, 2022). "Taylor Swift sleeps to dream on the moody, intimate 'Midnights'". EW.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  20. ^ Larocca, Courteney; Ahlgrim, Callie. "We regret to inform you that Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' is not very good". Insider. Archived from the original on January 15, 2023. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  21. ^ Quinn, Rick (November 2, 2022). "Taylor Swift: Midnights (Album Review)". PopMatters. Archived from the original on November 4, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  22. ^ McCormick, Neil (October 21, 2022). "On Midnights, Taylor Swift kisses goodbye to the crowd-pleasing hit". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Canadian single certifications – Taylor Swift – Sweet Nothing". Music Canada. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  27. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Philippines Songs)". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 17, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  28. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Sweet Nothing". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  29. ^ a b "RIAS Top Charts Week 43 (21 - 27 Oct 2022)". RIAS. Archived from the original on November 1, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  30. ^ 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 19, 2022 – via Facebook.
  31. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Billboard Vietnam Hot 100)". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  32. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Sweet Nothing". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  33. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Sweet Nothing". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ a b "Streaming Charts Top 100" (in German). Schweizer Hitparade. Archived from the original on November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  36. ^ a b "2022 43-os savaitės klausomiausi (Top 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. November 19, 2022. Archived from the original on October 28, 2022. Retrieved October 28, 2022.
  37. ^ 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 December 6, 2022.
  38. ^ a b "Taylor Swift – Sweet Nothing" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  39. ^ "IFPI Charts". ifpi.gr. Archived from the original on November 2, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  40. ^ "Official Audio Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 19, 2022.