Taylor Swift's 'Midnights': A definitive track ranking

Taylor Swift’s album ‘Midnights’ is here – this is what we think | Soho House

The pop superstar has dropped a new album and David Levesley is on hand to share his opinion on each of the 13 tracks

Friday 21 October 2022   By David Levesley

First things first: I am not a Swiftie. While her influence is undeniable, her particular blend of emotional testimonial is not necessarily for me. That being said, post-folklore, seeing Taylor Swift engage with a richer, gloomier, more melancholic sound has really got my juices flowing. Midnights is a perfect continuation of the ‘Taylor’s Version’ era of Swift: it engages with her influences, but also evolves and adapts to encompass the stylings of her contemporaries and the artists inspired by her in turn. The rich tapestry this creates proves one thing for certain: Swift is a vital part of what makes modern music sound the way it does.

But among those tracks, some are much more potent than others. We’ve ranked the tops from the bottoms, the highs from the lows, the Reputations to the 1989s (fight me).

Taylor Swift’s album ‘Midnights’ is here – this is what we think | Soho House

13. ‘Maroon’
Classic Swift in that it’s a deeply specific romantic tale that will be seen as relatable by every single one of her fans. Whether that speaks to you or not, it’s undeniably a little bit murky and unintelligible in comparison to some of the crisper tracks on this album.

12. ‘Vigilante Shit’
Reputation era Taylor is back, ladies. We live in a time rich with syrupy, vicious dirges about anarchy released by pop stars – ‘Vigilante Shit’ is not reinventing the wheel, and it probably isn’t going to be remembered in a crowded field. The St Vincent trill she whips out here, however, is sensational.

11. ‘Bejeweled’
Very Melodrama-era Lorde in intent, but it doesn’t feel quite as evocative as something like ‘Green Light’ or ‘The Louvre’ managed to be. Not bad by any means – what Swift song is? – but not her best.

10. ‘Question...?’ 
There’s nothing wrong with ‘Question...?’ But it’s more Riverdale than Euphoria, you know what I mean? Without the bisexual superpowers destroying a comet, that is.

9. ‘Karma’
A slice of classic Taylor Swift, which at this late stage in the album feels quite nice among the (masterful) murkiness. Nothing to write home about, but only because she does it so well.

8. ‘Snow On The Beach’
This takes me back to the shoegaze folk rock of the 2010s – Beirut, Fleet Foxes – but brought bang up to date. Perfect rom-com fodder, this will soundtrack a vital scene in the Gossip Girl reboot and be used for a thousand ‘Christmas at mine’ TikTok videos.

7. ‘You’re On Your Own, Kid’
Swift is at her most PostSecret here, showing how her adaptation of Tumblr sincerity into a modern version of country and pop rock has made her the titan she is today. It builds fantastically, heavy but sweeping at once.

6. ‘Midnight Rain’
Is it a 2022 album if there isn’t a clear 1980s synth track? But what could feel so rote is elevated here by the structure and production, keeping it atmospheric rather than feeling like Secret Cinema doing Footloose. Also is there a more Swift-like lyric than ‘my boy’s like a montage?’

5. ‘Lavender Haze’
Featuring what must be an interpolation of the ‘In The Air Tonight’ drums, this is a brilliant and evocative opener. It’s murky and laden with indie rock ambience, but Swift’s particular style cuts through it, like a final squeeze of lime on a Pad Thai.

4. ‘Sweet Nothing’
The only word for it, really, is: lovely. A delightful slice of quiet before the big finish, the layering of vocals and stripped back instrumental are perfect autumn vibes. The lines about hucksters have a beautiful, Joni Mitchell Court And Spark lyricism that deserves celebrating.

3. ‘Labyrinth’
Pure The Unthanks or The Staves energy, the spectral woodiness of folklore makes a welcome return here, but with an added shot of emotion. As with so many songs on this album, it feels destined for pairing with a great moment in a movie.

2. ‘Anti-Hero’
What’s amazing about Swift is how she is the progenitor of a certain strain of the musical soundscape of modern, ambient rock penned by women – and yet she has also adapted and evolved based off what her descendants have made. ‘Anti-Hero’ is undeniably Swift, but there’s Phoebe Bridgers in her lyrics, Haim in the production, Lorde in the harmonies. This is going to go down a storm on tour.

1. ‘Mastermind’
Sweet Disposition, yassified. This kind of big, narrative journey is the sort of thing that makes me wish Taylor Swift would write a bloody musical. Maybe of 500 Days Of Summer? I’m just saying.

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