Taylor Swift Reinvents Pop Music Once Again with Midnights

Marissa Bishop, Editor in Chief

When the clock struck midnight on Oct. 21, 2022, Taylor Swift released her groundbreaking 10th studio album Midnights: a thematic album centered around songs she wrote during sleepless nights throughout her life. 

The weeks before the album’s release, including the release day itself, were hectic and sleepless for fans as Swift rolled out announcements and surprises. The biggest of which is an added seven songs to the already announced 13. The seven surprise songs were added to a bonus album called Midnights (3 am Edition).

Swift’s past two studio albums, folklore and evermore had a very different sound than her usual synth-pop music, instead embodying the styles of more folk and alternative music, with a heavy emphasis on poetic and meaningful lyrics. These two albums struck a chord with fans, for her unique and prose-filled lyricism offered groundbreaking storytelling and songwriting. Swift’s fanbase, often referred to as “Swifties,” have always resonated with lyricism and meaning over all else, so when Midnights was announced, it was expected that Swift would return to the beloved sounds of folklore and evermore. However, Swift returned to the pop genre seen in albums such as 1989, Lover, and Reputation. 

Midnights covers a wide range of topics, including romance, heartbreak, self-loathing, growing up, vengeance, loss, and many more. Listeners from any background or experience can find relatability and comfort in Swift’s unique storytelling. 

The fifth track on any Swift album is emotional, relatable, and touching. Midnight’s fifth track  “You’re On Your Own Kid,” is all this and more. The song takes listeners through an emotional coming-of-age story and a compilation of lessons learned throughout life. The song’s beat and music are small and controlled beats, all building up to a dramatic beat drop later in the song. Not only is this an effective and entertaining production by the album’s core producer, Jack Antanoff, but the music also doubles as a storytelling device to effectively portray the feeling of growing up. The song’s continuous build-up with no excessive beat drop or massive change in rhythm reflects the consistent anxiety and pressures of growing up, and how those anxieties can feel as if they will last forever with no change.

The lyricism in “You’re On Your Own Kid” is a metaphorical whirlwind with powerful lyrics. Swift sings: “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes / I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this / I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss.” Through these powerful lyrics, Swift effectively portrays how growing up alters once childish desires to more mature wants and the extent to which one might go to get there. Swift continues, “The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money / My friends from home don’t know what to say / I looked around in a blood-soaked gown / And I saw something they can’t take away.” These lyrics speak about how growing up often leads to success-driven actions, which can affect childhood relationships. Nonetheless, after all the hardships, one can find somebody, whether a lover, a friend, or family, that was worth the struggles and who nobody can take because their companionship is genuine. Swift continues with, “Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned / Everything you lose is a step you take / So make the friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it / You’ve got no reason to be afraid / You’re on your own kid / Yeah, you can face this.” In this conclusion, Swift portrays the meaningful lesson that each negative leads to a positive: how each burned bridge in life, leads to a beautiful new chapter.

In all, “You’re On Your Own Kid” embodies the album’s general feeling of laying in bed, staring at the ceiling fan, and being unable to control the constant anxieties, desires, and thoughts that are eating away at the mind. Midnights has already broken countless records, including but not limited to being the first artist to occupy all top 10 spots on the Billboard 100 charts while being on top of the Billboard top 200, breaking the record for single-day Spotify streams, and becoming the biggest single-day album release by a female artist in history. With Midnights, Taylor Swift has once again redefined not only pop music but the music industry in total, and she shows no sign of stopping her monumental career any time soon.