Taylor Swift looks wide awake on ‘Midnight’

You have this dream where you’re on your own, and you’re rolling a big bun, and there’s this snake wearing a jacket. Taylor Swift’s dream is “My son-in-law is killing me for money. She thinks I left them in the will. The family gathers around and reads it, and then someone yells, “She’s laughing at us from hell!” Maybe that’s why Swift is the biggest breathtaking pop star in This waking world and the rest are not.Her mind seems so disciplined, even her journeys through dreamland follow structured narrative arcs.

The plot of the aforementioned nightmare unfolds seamlessly across a bridge “against the hero“, a standout album from the superstar songwriter’s tenth studio album,”midnight. She was exaggerating the whole thing as an investigation into the “severity of that mysterious crazy hour,” but despite the enigmatic acoustic design of this music, Swift doesn’t treat herself as an insomniac in a hypnotic mind’s quest as much as a late night boss to crush all her schoolwork. Additional degrees.

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This is an album about memories, the kind that visits after dark when the clock rolls, but throughout ‘Midnight,’ Swift appears wide awake and half-haunted at best, largely undone on cozy woods and familiar metaphors. Producer Jack Antonoff extracts endless amounts of pillowcase from his synthesizer machines while Swift nests deep in her comfort zone, making everything seem expert, attentive, meticulous and routine. Big cities abound with romantic wonders. Kisses feel destiny and round about the world. The colors are relentlessly symbolic. Her songs are like rom-coms without any com.

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It all sounds fun and unobtrusive, and the only reason any of it is surprising is that Swift seemed to be using her last two albums — a pair of relatively spartan buddy recordings from 2020,”folklore” And the “forever— to sharpen her vocals into something less cookie-cutter and more a scalpel-like. On one of her new songs she sings “I plucked the petals, he doesn’t love me”You are alone boyAddress the unknown flames without blinking. (If you missed the cheap thrill of realigning paparazzi images on the plot’s whiteboard, “Midnights” has plenty of “Is an X song about a Y guy?” Games to play too, you’re sick.)

Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, “Midnights,” will debut on October 21. It will contain a set of hidden meanings associated with her love of digital symbolism. (Video: Ally Karen/The Washington Post; Photo: Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)

But since Swift loves authoritative narrative structure, she keeps the best for last: a neatly nominated song titled “MastermindWhich throws an exposition of her songbook guidelines into question. The first verse begins with a sympathetic universe lining up its stars in the name of love, but by the time Swift gets to that phrase, she asks, ‘What if I told you none of that was accidental and on the first night? Where I saw there was nothing that would stop me? She suggests that the idea of ​​romantic destiny—the armature that allows much of the Swifty song world to stand upright—does not exist, in fact. Desire is intentional. Love is the result of that intentionality. It’s like an geese pulling its curtain back.

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then – fwomp! – The curtain falls again, because just three hours after “Midnights” appeared online, Swift released a deluxe version with seven more songs pinned to the back end of the album. Songs that talk about love as a “great war”, how a picket fence is sharp as knives, and how “everything I touch is sick with grief”. A specific lyric on the album ultimate ultimate Song It should give us a great pause: “If it feels like a trap, you’re already in one.”

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