‘Dear Reader,’ was Taylor Swift’s new album a hit or miss?


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Taylor Swift released her 10th studio album on Oct. 21, selling over 800,000 copies on its first day of release.

Autumn is the season for Grammy Award-winning artist Taylor Swift. Her music seems to fit well with the changing leaves and brisk weather of the fall months. Her songwriting has a way of capturing the feel of this season so well. Her more recent albums, like “Evermore” and “Folklore,” quickly became fan favorites during the fall season, and marked her transition to a more alternative sound, which people seemed to really love.

“Midnights,” her 10th studio album, broke records within its first week of release. According to the LA Times, “In just the first three days, ‘Midnights’ has already become the top-selling album of 2022.”

Swift’s album sold over 800,000 copies in the U.S. within its first day of release, outselling top artists like Harry Styles and Bad Bunny. Her songs monopolized the Billboard charts, taking up all top ten spots. Obviously, the release of this album was highly anticipated, and I was just as excited as anyone else to see what Taylor Swift had created this time.

While listening to this album, I felt a change in her music when compared to her past albums. This album felt like her return to true pop music. With her ever-evolving sound and image, her lyricism and songwriting abilities still stand.

Although “Midnights” has been categorized as alternative/indie, pop and R&B/soul, it gave off a genuine pop/electronic sound. After listening to her more alternative albums in 2020, I was expecting the same sound and genre, and was surprised to hear more upbeat and electronic beats and instruments.

Her use of drums, rather than her usual main instrument, the guitar, was a nice addition. We didn’t hear much of her usual acoustic guitar, which is something I missed in this collection of songs. Her use of synthesizers locked in the electronic pop genre, as she used the instrument as her guiding beat. The synthesizers can easily be heard and recognized as the central focus of her beats and melodies. She upped the tempo on this album, creating a lively tone, and moving away from the slower tempos of her previous works.

Each song flowed seamlessly into one another as if they were telling a story. Every song felt as if it fit perfectly into the theme of the album itself.

Swift did a great job of incorporating her own unique writing into a new genre of music. The song “Maroon” is a great example of this. It felt just as dreamy as a standard Taylor Swift song, but also introduced some electronic sounds and beats. Swift loves visualization through color, and her use of color imagery shone throughout this song, as she compares falling in love to the color maroon. In “Midnight Rain,” her venture into a new genre was very recognizable, as she incorporated voice filters into the chorus of the song, giving her voice a wavy, emotional sound.

With a more orchestral sound, “Snow On The Beach (feat. Lana del Rey),” reminded me of the sound of her previous albums. This song in particular was highly anticipated by fans because of her collaboration with another exceptional songwriter.

Many songs from this album further showed Swift’s ability as a musician, but others missed the mark. Many fans and non-fans agreed that some songs on this album seemed as if they were trying to be “too trendy,” such as the song “Anti-Hero.” The apparent attempt at trendiness, along with the new sound of this album, took away from the musicality of the album itself. As with any body of work, there will be good pieces, and there will be some that just slightly fall short.

Whether you consider yourself a fan or not, I think there’s something we can all agree on–Swift is a great songwriter. Her lyricism and use of imagery show her abilities as a musician. Her songs always tell a story, mostly from her own personal experiences, adding a sense of relatability to her music. “Midnights” was yet another successful and beautifully written album to add to her already impressive discography.