veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Midnights does not deserve album of the year

The Grammys award artistic excellence not commercial success

I, like many other girls my age, am a fan of Taylor Swift. I, unlike many other fans, think fans should be able to openly criticize her without being attacked. 

When “Midnights” came out in the fall of 2022 I was disappointed, to say the least. The album felt half-baked and almost regressive when considering the albums preceding it. The lauded folk albums “folklore” and “evermore” highlighted three of Swift’s strengths: her songwriting, storytelling and her ability to produce music of multiple genres. 

The songs themselves felt heavier as well. From “folklore” you had songs like “seven” and “this is me trying” and “evermore” brought “champagne problems” and “tolerate it,” all more melancholic and mature than anything Swift has done before.

When you go from two of Swift’s best albums with a myriad of deep-cutting and introspective songs to “Midnights,” an album that feels like it doesn’t have an identity, it’s almost confusing.

The criticism of “Midnights” can be succinctly broken down into two crucial points: its aforementioned lack of identity and how mediocre it is this far into her career.

This album wants you to think it’s as deep and introspective as the folk albums were. It was marketed as “the story of 13 sleepless nights throughout my [Swift’s] life,” but it’s hard to believe that when it lacks the vulnerability of other albums.

The songs seem incomplete and lyrically detached and it feels like words are being sung but nothing is being said. Compare this to a song like “marjorie,” a heartfelt love letter to Swift’s late grandmother. The song is not complex in diction; however, it is personal and there is enough substance to read between the lines and find deeper meaning.

“Midnights” isn’t about a clear time in her life, nor does it hold itself true to its tagline. It’s very easy to listen to the album and think “Wait, what is this about again?”

All this added up together leads to my other major criticism of “Midnights” and how disappointing it is when looking at her career.

In theory, as an artist, your next project should be better than your last. Usually, this is because you’re now using new skills you learned and taking into consideration the criticism you received. This isn’t always true for singer-songwriters; it’s pretty common to see “flop” albums after stellar successes.

However, when an artist has now spent over half their life making music, you shouldn’t see a product that feels almost like a sophomore slump album. The folk albums revived Swift’s career from a pop star aging out of the industry to something new and interesting again. In fact, “folklore” was her third album to win Album of the Year, and for a reason. It was a jump in quality, it was intriguing, it was a cultural phenomenon. 

To say it as simply as possible it was a good album. 

“Midnights” decidedly does not meet any of the criteria listed above.

The only reason “Midnights” is even a contender for this award is because of the Eras tour and its international success. Take a look at the other nominations in the category, albums that actually meet the criteria:

These nominations include:

  • “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” by Lana Del Rey 
  • “GUTS” by Olivia Rodrigo 
  • “the record” by boygenius 
  • “SOS” by SZA

“Midnights” broke records like nothing else Swift has made before, however, the Grammys don’t award numbers, they award excellence. I truly hope Swift doesn’t win Album of the Year, not because I want to see her fail, but because her best work comes from criticism.

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Emily Gluskin, Opinion Editor
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