The Swiftening, Part 10: Midnights… 10 Multiple Songs With The Word “Midnight” But Not All

Before December of 2020, Jordan Holmes (comedian, author, podcaster) had never, intentionally, listened to a Taylor Swift song. Then began The Swiftening, where Jordan decided to review every Swift album in order. So far, he has covered Swift’s 2006 debut, 2008’s Fearless, 2010’s Speak Now, and 2012‘s Red, 2014’s 1989, 2017’s reputation, 2019’s Lover, and 2020’s folklore and evermore, which we encourage you to check out if you haven’t already.

Welcome back to The Swiftening! I have returned to review Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” and I can say with deadly sincerity that I believe this album is a window into everything that is wrong and broken in American society. So, unlike most of the other reviews I have read, I am uninterested in cramming Swift’s boot down my throat and as such I will not be as complimentary as some may like. If you’re a person that takes your love of Taylor Swift seriously and reflexively get defensive towards people who call her things like, “A useless rich person flooding your ears with the aural equivalent of the bubonic plague”, then this review is not for you!

One issue I have with the album before we have even begun to listen to a word: rich people are the single greatest threat to the Earth and humanity’s continued existence. Regardless of whatever your personal issue may or may not be, (abortion, the economy, immigration blah blah blah) your feelings and your vote mean less than nothing because you are actively paying the people who make those decisions to ignore you. Taylor Swift and her ilk are glorifying those people, and while you think I’m being a bit reactionary, you are very wrong, I am extremely reactionary. Every moment rich people continue to steer the world’s direction is a moment given to the literal end of the world, and to be clear, Taylor Swift is one of those rich people. Although I do admit, unlike the other rich people, she is only somewhat destroying the climate with her endless private jets and multiple homes and such; she’s mainly destroying music. 

What’s important for all of us right now is to unite behind the operating principle that anyone with more than 10 million dollars must immediately relinquish their money and anyone with more than a billion must, politely, commit seppuku. That applies to music as well, I don’t really care if you like Taylor Swift, until we have fundamentally restructured a more fair society, she must go.

With that polemic out of the way, let’s get into why even if she were poor as shit, Taylor Swift would still suck at making music.

Track 1 is “Lavender Haze” described by Genius as capturing the feelings of a honeymoon-style relationship, whereas I would describe it as stealing the sound of Broods circa 2010, except Broods have some damn good tracks. Lavender Haze is built around the skeleton of a driving bass drum. A microsecond ahead of the rest of the music, the drum adds an element of urgency to what amounts to yet another song about how Taylor Swift’s life is very hard. Everything else is muddled and fucking stupid. There are a few boring attempts at pitch-tuning to add texture, but unfortunately it comes off like a chiptunes version of her normal vocals. 

Of course, as the song goes on, we discover that Taylor Swift has listened to Jessie Ware and would prefer to be her, but, you know, with several hundred million dollars. Only, the driving beat works in opposition to her. Lavender Haze is a disco song with no swing from the bass. For instance, if we take a look at Jessie Ware’s “Spotlight”, you don’t hear the driving bass drum, a microsecond ahead of tempo, you hear a lazy turtle swaying back and forth of a drum beat. By detracting from precision and embracing the swing, Spotlight moves your chest, not just your feet. Lavender Haze certainly has the toe-tapping down, but when she sings the chorus, unlike Spotlight, it’s flat, straight, and has no soul. 

Anyways, this is 100% a Jessie Ware song and if you’ve read any of the previous Swiftenings, you’ll notice I’ve never once said, “wow, an original idea”. 

Commenting on the subject of the song… let me sum it up for you, Taylor Swift is in a relationship and people are mean to her, Taylor Swift, but you know what, fuck the haters. 

Let me throw this out at you, if you’ve ever been mad at someone like, say, off the top of my head, Glenn Greenwald, for pretending they’re censored when, in fact, they have a large platform and are not censored at all, then you must also be mad at Taylor Swift for writing the same fucking song talking about her god damn haters all the god damn time. She’s the most popular music-adjacent-thing in America, shut the fuck up about your fucking haters.

Maroon was co-written by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff who, say it with me now, should both be fired for their work on this album. 

Maroon sounds like Mitski wrote a graduation song.

Track 3, Anti-hero, features the most haunting lyric Swift has ever written, 

“Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby

And I’m a monster on the hill”

Which, if I understand correctly, is not a sexy baby in the vernacular of an adult person with sexual attractiveness as a quality, no, she I believe, is talking about an actual, literal baby, that she has described as being “sexy”. At no point in time are we given any indication that this metaphorical baby v. monster scenario is not literal in regards to the baby. Asking the question, does Taylor think babies are sexy? And I don’t mean this to malign her, in fact, I’ve found many a woman can describe the smells of babies and such as “sexy” though, so I do not believe the answer is a negative in either way, I’m just curious about that. Also, what the fuck is she doing here? Who allows her to write songs anymore?

The chorus being a sort of descending sing-talk triplet fest is something I believe everyone in the room celebrated like they were some kind of musical innovators, that’s the only explanation because it doesn’t work! It just sounds like she runs out of breath on “for the anti-hero” and I refuse to accept slant rhymes anymore. Her grade for this poem is “Rewrite”.

As I continue to read these lyrics, I’m struggling to come away from this song with any impression other than that Taylor Swift is laughing at you, the people who buy her music, for being so stupid. Y’all are listening to a slowjam Barenaked Ladies song with lyrics about how it must be exhausting to root for Taylor Swift on account of how hard it is to be Taylor Swift, a monster that destroys sexy babies.

The melody is lazy, the call and response is boring, and in the background layer, if you listen real close, you can hear a hi-hat dropping some flat sixteenth notes and you can visual the stupid grin Antonoff has on his face when he hits those dumb cymbals, he grosses me out.

Maroon is garbage trash.

When did society sign off on Taylor Swift saying “fuck”? By my count, she’s sworn a total of 6 times in her albums and my review of her swearing is “fucking gargles dicktits” which makes as much sense as her breathy falsetto trying to wring out a “fffuuuckin’”. So gross. 

Snow on the Beach has Lana Del Ray somewhere, which I would be hard-pressed to prove, and if so, she’s given precisely zero opportunity to shine. Why have Lana Del Ray? Literally any backup singer could’ve done this job at exactly the same level. Not that I think Lana Del Ray has some sort of extra level she can reach, I think she’s playing triple A ball where she should be. But, I don’t know, Kelly Rowland might need work, right?

Taylor said this, in Bustle, “The fact that I get to exist at the same time as her is an honor and a privilege, and the fact that she would be so generous as to collaborate with us on this song is something I’m gonna be grateful for life.” 

I think Taylor is grateful she got to bury Lana’s vocals in the background and there’s nothing Lana can do about it. 

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is the first track that really fucked with my head. I feel like all of you are gaslighting me. What is happening? Why am I reading nothing but glowing reviews? Does anyone like music?!!

Let me describe this song for you, it’s a slow-burning crescendo over the end credits of A Goofy Movie, and it’s ten million times as boring and tame as you might imagine. I don’t understand how anyone can listen to this track and not give up on Swifting for good. 

I’m interested to know if the Swift crew believes the music part of music matters? She’s barely singing half the fucking time. If you stay on the same quarter note for fifteen seconds you’re talking, you’re not singing, you’re definitely not adding anything of interest to the music, and this layered bullshit when she tries to hit a high note is, in my opinion, an attempt to hide the fact that she’s controlled by an AI generated voice machine and has never actually sung before until otherwise proven.

“I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this

I hosted parties and starved my body…”

God I hate rich people.


“Midnight Rain” has the best opening by far. But then Swift starts singing which sucks.

On behalf of music, I’d like to inform all of you, my dear readers, that there are, in fact, more than 4 instruments that can play more than 4 notes. Though you would not know it from this album!

Now, to give you my patented close reading of this song, my analysis having been spot on, 100% of the time, you know you can trust it. Midnight Rain is a song… about… how hard it is to be Taylor Swift.

“Question…?” is both track 7 and an infuriatingly ellipsified title, a murderous offense on its own, the track opens with a heartbreaking fake out. The first 3 seconds feature a beat ripped directly from Kaytranada’s 2 The Music which made me so excited, you have no idea, Kaytra is fucking great

And then the giant sexy baby destroying monster’s voice bursts my eardrums with raucous violence, or she sings, whichever you want to describe it as.

This song reminds me of why Swift is such a dominant cultural force. She wants to hear what you have to say. Even though 90 percent of her songs are about how hard it is to be her, she wants to hear about your day, too. She creates a parasocial relationship with her listeners by pretending to write songs that include them in her weird solipsistic victimhood rich person existence. 

This song is awful, it’s yet another high school slow dance song that makes thirteen-year-olds mouth the lyrics because they don’t want to actually sing them. They raise their hands up, palms open, as if they’re at a revivalist tent. Suddenly, a light appears above the gym, all of them are vaporized in an instant, because in this fantasy the aliens from Independence Day also hate Taylor Swift.

I’d like to respond to her question with a question, who in Swift’s circle dares make fun of her? What party does she go to where people make fun of her? What idiot would do that where she could hear you? 

She’s going to put you in a song about how hard it is to be Taylor Swift, no one makes fun of her within earshot.

When the first few notes of “Vigilante Shit” hit my ears, I immediately burst out laughing. You have to earn that beat. You just gotta. You… just gotta. Do you understand? Swift doesn’t get that beat to ruin. Song disqualified.

Don’t do this… Just… no.

“Bejeweled” sees Swift return to more comfortable waters, a bland beat, annoying staccato sing-talking, sudden Beastie Boys-style pile-on rhyme words, and, you guessed it, lyrics about how hard it is to be Taylor Swift.

The song sounds like, when Tegan and Sara were recording, Heartthrob, an otherwise unassuming elderly woman appeared in the recording studio wearing a conspicuous witch hat, offered them a song that would become very popular, but be a shittier version of what they already do, and Tegan and Sara, credibility still somewhat intact, rejected her. Instead they recorded “How Come You Don’t Want Me”, an, admittedly only slightly better version of the same song.

I hear people really like “Bejeweled”.

I was almost pulled in by “Labyrinth” I really was! It opens very well, or at least, in the most interesting way of any of the tracks so far. The breathy falsetto works great with an organ (Keep that in mind Antojackmehoff!) and the synthesizer stings are a solid way to provide an element of chaos to her otherwise predictable descending arpeggios. 

Then Swift sings “it only feels this raw right now” and takes her breathiness to a new level of breathful. The southness with which the song goes from there is legendary. There’s an autotuned chorus of voices popping in and out to sing the same repetitive line in different ranges that should be preeeeeettttyy easy for a non AI generated voice machine to sing, just sayin. Maybe try God’s AI generated voice machine, your, uh,… voice.

Beyond the unusual vocals, this track fits neatly within the rest of the album by being a 4 minute long slow crescendo to nothing and nowhere

Let’s talk about “Karma”. Taylor Swift happens to fly a lot

“The CO2 released into the atmosphere courtesy of Taylor Swift’s private plane during these past 7 months is the equivalent to what 1,184 average people would emit in a year.”

Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea for Taylor Swift to indulge in the concept of Karma. Should it exist, it would not be kind to her.

On track 12, “Sweet Nothing”, Swift injects emotion into the words “smooth-talking hucksters” marking the first time I have heard emotion in her voice on this album.

This song is thoroughly fine. It’s a love song, bare instrumentation, her vocals are nice, the instrumentation is very bare, it’s fine. I’m sure people think she’s a genius or whatever, ugh.

From what I understand, this song is about Swift’s enduring love for {current person who will later be in a song about how hard it is to be Taylor Swift}, and it featured this little section, “On the way home / I wrote a poem / You say, “What a mind” / This happens all the time / Ooh, ooh” which I assume since this is a love song is meant as a compliment to current person’s, uh, compliments, but I feel like the reading of “What a mind” is sarcastic. Am I crazy for saying that? I’m not sure if you’ve ever said, “What a mind” but I very strongly doubt it was sincere!

“Mastermind” is track 13, the final track on Midnights, though there is another version with, inexplicably, more of this shit, but I refuse to listen to more than I absolutely have to, so “Mastermind” is the final track. 

The disdain Swift has for music, and therefore the disdain all of you have for music, infuriates me. This song is exactly like every other goddam track on this dumb fucking album. I cannot honestly differentiate most of these songs other than by remembering in which way she is the victim of “haters”. 

Also, this song is about how Swift is a psycho who entrapped {current person who will later be in a song about how hard it is to be Taylor Swift} using a shit ton of money and the general disregard for humanity most often expressed in RomComs.

To sum this album up, Swift leaves a trail of destruction in her narcissistic pursuit of being the worst recording artist ever to live, instead of taking responsibility for her actions she’s mad at us for not sycophantically bowing before her mediocrity. 

Using my singular rating system of Listenable/Unlistenable, I think Midnights might be Swift’s most unlistenable album yet. 

But I see nothing but positive reviews, all coronating her as the GOAT! Why? Because if you’re rich, fear and theft is rewarded beyond all comprehension. Taylor Swift and Jared Kushner are the same person and you can’t prove otherwise.

Rise up, proletariat, take back the means of music production! Down with the capitalist pigdogs like Swift! 

Jordan Holmes is a Chicago comedian, author, podcaster, and one of the twenty best humans of all time. We love him very much. Every Monday & Friday, you can hear him on a new episode of Knowledge Fight, a podcast devoted to exposing the lies of Alex Jones. You can read (or listen) to his debut novel, The Quiet Part Loud, by going here.

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