Earning the unofficial title of “most unhinged celebrity ever,” Taylor Swift announced her 10th study album, Midnights, Sunday after winning the VMA for Video of the Year for her song “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).” If this is your first time hearing of this — what rock have you been living under? Let’s unpack every reason why this may be Taylor’s most surprising announcement to date!
First, Taylor Swift is following no release schedule. Arguably her albums prior to folklore and evermore had a bit of predictability, with an album coming about once every two years and typically in the months of October and November. The exceptions to that rule being reputation, which Taylor released three years after 1989 and Lover, which came out in August and is her quintessential summer album.
Of course, folklore and evermore took fans completely by surprise. When the onset of COVID-19 forced everyone to quarantine in their homes and I set upon myself the task to watch every episode of Criminal Minds, Taylor Swift set upon herself to write her third Album of the Year. I still remember exactly how I felt when I woke up on July 23 just to see that Taylor Swift was releasing a whole new album at midnight. When this happened again just a few months later in December I truly thought I was being pranked.
I could write for pages about how absolutely unprecedented it was for Taylor to release not one, but two albums without any sort of fanfare or promotion, and how it shows a new kind of confidence in her artistry that we have never seen before — but that would be a whole new blog post.
For the past two years Taylor has focused on rerecording all of her earlier albums so that she can own her work, and so far has released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version). Due to this, many fan predictions have been related to which rerecord was coming next, the elusive sixth album with the bleached blonde aesthetic that reputation allegedly replaced, or the dream of woodvale that would make folklore and evermore from a duo to a trio.
However, with legal issues preventing Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), 1989 (Taylor’s Version), and reputation (Taylor’s Version) from production, it seems almost obvious that Taylor’s 10th studio album was the only possibility and that she has been planning this for years. Thus, without further ado, this blog post will demonstrate all of the ways that Taylor Swift has hinted at midnight and why we really should have seen this coming. *Insert Swiftie clown emoji here.*
Taylor Swift’s Album Plans — Years In the Making
Taylor Swift once said in an interview on Jimmy Fallon: “Can I hint at something three years in advance?” A less experienced fan might think this was just a figure of speech, but die-hard fans know that this is an “easter egg” — and evidence shows that Taylor has been hinting towards Midnights since at least 2019.
Taylor made chapters of songs after the release of folklore, including a chapter called “sleepless nights.” She has described Midnights as a “collection of music written in the middle of the night.” I have little doubt that this chapter title was alluding to the Midnights album’s very existence.
Additionally, in the music video for “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version),” she included an odd amount of close ups of apple juice and apples. While some may have thought this was an allusion to the “Blank Space” music video where Taylor eats an apple, it turns out National Apple Day is Oct. 21 — which is the release date for Midnights. Coincidence – I think not!
For the longest time, fans thought that Taylor selling items in sets of three after evermore’s release was hinting towards a third sister album to folklore and evermore. Who knew that the blue color of the notebooks, scrunchies, and cardigans she was selling were actually signs of the very blue aesthetic of Midnights? Taylor and friends had also been hinting at Midnights in her tweets and Instagram stories — and fans were even clever enough to notice these oddities as she was posting.
Some examples include that when Taylor announced the release of “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” her exact wording and formatting were that it “comes out tonight at m i d n i g h t” with the emphasis on the midnight! Additionally, the song release announcement for Carolina had ten exclamation points after the word midnight, and of course, Midnights is her tenth studio album.
On TikTok, Taylor jokingly made fun of her poorly drawn stars, even saying “stars do you like dem?” Of course, stars are prevalent in a midnight sky! Lastly (at least for now), Taylor has consistently worn blue in many of her public appearances for the past few years including at her Grammy’s performance, the Tribeca film festival, and of course, to the VMA’s after party!
A blog post about Midnights would be remiss if it did not mention the outfit that Taylor wore to the VMAs themselves. Taylor wore a crystal-covered Oscar de la Renta minidress featuring an open-back and a low bun. This outfit was eerily reminiscent to both her 2009 VMAs outfit (where Kanye West famously grabbed Taylor’s award for Video of the Year) and for her attire in her “Look What You Made Me Do” music video.
There are many possible interpretations to these looks, but mine is that Taylor is at her most empowered this year. She is unscathed from 2009 and ready to accept that award and own the moment with her album announcement, and look what her past producer, Scott Borchetta and owner of her music, Scooter Braun, made her do: make more and more music (that she owns!) and get more and more successful!
Taylor Swift Talks Midnights (Sort of)
But wait! There’s more?! Taylor Swift has offered next to nothing about what the content of Midnights will be. However, that has not stopped die-hard fans from speculating endlessly. Here are some of my favorites! Taylor has stated that Midnights is a collection of sleepless nights throughout her life which has caused her fans to conclude that Taylor’s award show outfits have lately been representing her sleepless nights. This includes the aforementioned VMA dress, which was reminiscent of her 2009 VMAs look and her dark blue after-party dress is reminiscent of various old-school Hollywood outfits that she has worn.
Additionally, Midnights is sold in different colored vinyls (Moonstone Blue, Jade Green, Blood Moon, Mahogany, and Lavender) which many feel is a reference to her original albums that she released with Big Machine Records. (For someone who is less experienced with Taylor Swift color theory Moonstone Blue would reference 1989, Jade Green Taylor Swift, Blood Moon Red, Mahogany Fearless, and Lavender Speak Now.) The Lavender vinyl is also her deluxe album — does this mean Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is coming closer than we anticipated? Why is there no vinyl color that corresponds with reputation? Is this to reference that these are sleepless nights taken from throughout her career? I guess we just have to wait to find out!
Lastly, Taylor recently released a Tiktok promoting the colored vinyls. Oddly enough, the song featured in the video is a song called “Life You Lead” by niceboyed. Niceboyed has only one song and a measly 9,463 listeners. What made Taylor choose this song? Is he featured on the album? Is this song Taylor singing but just pitched slower to make her voice lower? It is impossible to ignore the fact that she is good friends with my favorite nice boy, Ed Sheeran, and that she has done similar types of releases with “Look What You Made Me Do” by Jack Leopard and the Dolphins Club, which fans believe is actually sung by her brother Austin Swift.
One piece of confirmed information is that this album is produced (as are many of her prior albus) by Jewish musician, Jack Antonoff of Bleachers fame. We have also finally been given the track titles just a week or so before the album drop.
All I know is that this uncertainty has made me more and more excited for the album! We cannot wait for you all to meet us Oct. 21 at midnight for what is sure to be her best album yet!