My Top 5 Favorite Songs (and Lyrics) from Taylor Swift's 'Midnights'

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Taylor Swift 'Midnights' vinyl on record player (Photo courtesy of Fiona Sipple)

Taylor Swift’s newest album “Midnights” dropped last Friday and all 13 songs (plus 7 songs in the 3 a.m. version) have been the background music of my mind ever since its release. Swift described the album as the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout her life, “a journey through terror and sweet dreams.” Indeed, I feel a mix of emotions listening to the songs, from pure sadness and hopelessness to true happiness and acceptance.

While the pop genre of the album certainly makes it more enjoyable for me as a pop person, I find myself paying extra attention to the songs’ lyrics as Swift is known for her magical songwriting. Here are my favorite lyrics from my top 5 favorite songs in “Midnights.”

  1. “Midnight Rain”

“He was sunshine, I was midnight rain

He wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain”

“Midnight Rain” - as many Swifties take it and I agree - is about the relationship that is never meant to be between the golden retriever boyfriend and the sad traumatized girlfriend. The character in the song, while appreciating the love of her ex-lover, knew from the start that they are from two different worlds and want different things. I think this song resembles a painful reflection but also a realistic acceptance that sunshine and midnight rain can never go together. Many of us have encountered and had to let go of that kind of relationship - the song tells a universal story. Also, an honorary mention for the chorus’s unexpected use of autotune - it confused me at first but the autotune turned out to make the song stuck with me. 

  1. “Sweet Nothing”

“Outside they’re push and shovin'

You’re in the kitchen humming

All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothing”

This song is one of the rawest love songs I have ever listened to. “Sweet Nothing” is about being in a relationship where you are loved not for what you do or what you can give the other person, but purely for who you are. The character finds true peace in her lover because she knows no matter how vulnerable she becomes, that person will never judge her and will always accept her with a loving heart. I think “Sweet Nothing” is an excellent metaphor for this because while the term “nothing” is usually associated with shallowness or a lack of something, Swift gave it a new pretty meaning. Melody-wise, this song resembles Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love” (thank you to the stranger on Reddit for pointing out the similarity) as both songs flow smoothly like the sound of a water stream. I think this complements the softness of the song perfectly. 

  1. “Bigger Than The Whole Sky”

“Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness 

Cause it’s all over now, all out to sea”

“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” tells the story of saying goodbye to someone you love and accepting the fact that they are gone forever. The song is, as the lyrics, “sick with sadness” from the start to the end, and it reminds me of the color grey which echoes no hope or clarity. The way Swift sings it with minimal use of instruments in the background deepens the feeling, making her voice sound almost like a cry. Sadness is universal - as humans, we have all gone through times when the only emotion we feel is desperation. But sadness is also personal - we experience and deal with sadness in all shapes and forms. As singer-songwriter Mary Goshay put it: “The deeply personal is what connects each of us to the universal.” This song creates that connection in a very authentic way. 

  1. “Snow On The Beach” ft. Lana del Rey

“Are we falling like snow at the beach

Weird but f*ckin’ beautiful 

Flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful

You wanting me, tonight feels impossible”

The song describes the moment of knowing someone you love also loves you, and it feels so magical and surreal it’s like snow on the beach. Once again, talk about Taylor Swift’s way with words. The lyrics paint a beautiful picture - I can physically see the snow, feel the cold and fall into that dreamlike love. As a hopeless romantic, this song makes me feel hopeful in the kind of love that will come my way when I least expect it. I will also take the opportunity to appreciate Lana del Rey’s input in the song, because I feel her everywhere in the song’s atmosphere and the feeling would not be the same without her backing vocal. 

  1. “Maroon”

“The mark they saw on my collarbone

The rust that grew between telephones

The lips I used to call home

So scarlet, it was maroon”

I thought “Maroon” would be a happy love song when I heard the first verse, but when this part of the chorus and the second verse that follows it came up, I nearly cried, and the song immediately became my favorite in “Midnights.” I pictured this song as a girl going through a breakup and is in the stage of depression as she cannot fully accept reality yet. It’s very hard to choose a favorite part because the lyrics build off each other and make the song shine as a whole, but I chose these lines because they use specific imageries that appeal more to listeners’ specific memories. Aside from being a color, “Maroon” also refers to the feeling of isolation, and I think this is a creative wordplay that adds to the complication and feeling of the song.