Ranking Every Song On Taylor Swift’s New Album ‘Midnights’ (Including The 3 AM Edition)—From My Least Favorite To The Song I'll Have On Repeat Forever
In true Taylor Swift fashion, she’s done it again.
Back in August, Taylor Swift announced that her 10th studio album, Midnights, would come out on October 21, after months of fans speculating which album she would re-release next (Speak Now or 1989 were the most popular fan theories). As a longtime Swiftie, I was as ecstatic as I was surprised.
Like the die-hard Swiftie that I am, I stayed up to listen to the album the second it came out to rank the songs. It was difficult to rank the songs because I love them all, so if your fave is my bottom pick, I promise we can still be friends. Let's remember that music can be more personal than comedy, food, and style combined, and this list isn't a rule guide you must live and die by. It's just a Taylor Swift album, after all.
Without further adieu, here are my rankings for Midnights, from worst to best.
13. Midnight Rain
Fave lyric: “I never think of him / Except on midnights like this.”
As I mentioned at the start of this article, it’s hard for me to rank these songs because I love them all. Though this song is a bop, it gets last place because it gives off toxic relationship vibes. I love the more mature version of Taylor on this album, and this song feels like it belongs in the Reputation era.
Fave lyric: “Puttin’ someone first only works when you’re in their top five / And by the way, I’m goin’ out tonight.”
The vibe of this song is a girl realizing that her boyfriend sucks and doesn’t treat her the way she deserves to be treated, so she goes out dressed to the nines to prove to him that she’s actually a catch. Don't we all love a good revenge song?
11. Snow on the Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey)
Fave lyric: “And my flight was awful, thanks for asking / I’m unglued, thanks to you.”
First off, can we talk about how Lana Del Rey is the perfect fit for this song (even though, arguably, she's not on it enough)? It truly sounds like a song they wrote together, which is kind of a dream come true. This song is about how falling in love can be kind of unexpected (like snow on a beach), and the English class nerd in me can’t get over the symbolism and imagery.
Fave lyric: “Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room?”
This song sounds like something I would’ve drunkenly texted a guy who was leading me on during my college years at 2 am after he ignored me at a party, and I mean that in the best way possible (it also fits the Midnights theme). It’s kind of unhinged, but I’m digging it.
9. You’re on Your Own, Kid
Fave lyric: “From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes / I waited ages to see you there / I search the party of better bodies / Just to learn that you never cared.”
This song gives off both unrequited love and childhood crush vibes, so it inevitably reminds me of “betty” from Folklore and “tis the damn season” from Evermore. It’s all about yearning for a crush before you realize that it’s not going to work out (and that the guy kind of sucks), and my 16-year-old self is dying inside.
Fave lyric: “Uh-oh, I’m fallin’ in love / Oh no, I’m fallin’ in love again / Oh, I’m fallin’ in love / I thought the plane was goin’ down / How’d you turn it right around?”
I have a good feeling this song will grow on me for its relatability alone, and it also reminds me of “Treacherous” from Red. This song is about the fear of falling in love after getting your heart broken, which makes me think that this song is about how Joe Alwyn showed her that it was possible to fall in love again after all of the heartbreak she experienced in her past. It’s one of the more relatable songs on the album, and relatable Taylor is my favorite Taylor.
Fave lyric: “I keep the side of my street clean / You wouldn’t know what I mean.”
Based on the title alone, I initially thought this would be the Kanye song of the album, but now I’m convinced it’s about Scooter Braun and some of her worst ex-boyfriends (*cough* Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer). Karma is Taylor living her best life with Joe Alwyn and re-recording her albums to reclaim the narrative from Scooter Braun. It’s a total girl-boss move, which I love for her.
6. Vigilante Sh*t
Fave lyric: “Draw the cat eye, sharp enough to kill a man / You did some bad things, but I’m the worst of them.”
The best way for me to describe my thoughts on this is to type out the two notes I made while listening for the first time: “IS THIS ABOUT KANYE AND KIM??” and “A Kim and Taylor friendship/alliance would be IMMACULATE!!”
Lyrics like “now she gets the house, gets the kids, gets the pride / picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife” only confirms my initial theory, and I’ll be waiting patiently for Taylor and Kim’s friendship era.
5. Sweet Nothing
Fave lyric: “They say the end is coming / Everyone’s up to something / I find myself a-running home to your sweet nothings.”
I knew this would be in the top five when I saw that William Bowery (which is a pseudonym for Joe Alwyn) was a co-writer because everything these two touch inevitably turns into gold. This might take most fans a few listens to really enjoy it (and that’s okay), but it’s a sweet song that the hopeless romantic in me can’t help but adore.
4. Lavender Haze
Fave lyric: “The 1950s sh*t they want from me / I just want to stay in that lavender haze.”
After she mentioned that she learned the term "lavender haze" from Mad Men, I knew this would be a favorite because I love that show. A “lavender haze” is another word for a honeymoon phase in a relationship, and it’s clearly about how she and her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, like to tune out public rumors about their relationship. It gives off fun dance vibes, making it a cute pop love song.
Fave lyric: “What if I told you none of it was accidental?”
I wrote three notes about this song when I first listened: “this gives off ‘invisible string’ vibes,” “definitely about her public image and her relationships,” and “this is an absolute masterpiece.” Similar to “Anti-Hero,” she seems to be discussing how her public image influences her relationships, inevitably connecting the two. She’s a lyrical genius, and I’ll be blasting this on full volume for many late nights to come.
Fave lyric: “And I wake with your memory over me / That’s a real f***ing legacy to leave.”
I couldn’t help but think of Red while listening to this song because the use of different shades of red clearly refers to looking at the passion in a relationship while looking back on it after a breakup. It could be because this song reminds me of something I’ve experienced before, but this song made me more emotional than any other song on the album.
Fave lyric: “I should not be left to my own devices.”
Taylor. Alison. Swift. How is she this talented? I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning, and her talent never ceases to amaze me. She said that this was “one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before,” and she delivered! This is also the only song she’s released a music video for so far, and it slaps.
This song feels like a more mature and self-aware version of “Blank Space,” where she’s addressing her insecurities and her public image, and the interplay between the two, therefore referring to herself as the anti-hero. I love that she recognizes her faults in past relationships, something we all have to do if we want healthy relationships in the future.
I also have to give a shout-out to the lyric “Did you hear my covert narcissism disguised as altruism / Like some kind of congressman?” It’s poetry at its finest.
Ranking the 3 AM Edition Tracks
My initial plan was to listen to the album twice, compile my notes on each song, rank them before going to bed, and write everything else in the morning. I thought I’d fall asleep immediately since I was exhausted, but the “chaotic 3 AM announcement” (which was really 2 AM where I live) wrecked my brain. I opened my phone to discover that Miss Swift had released seven new songs! I’d like to say I powered through and listened to all seven, but I was exhausted and fell asleep. Therefore, my rankings for these tracks (again, from my least favorite to my top favorite) are separate from the first 13 tracks. I’d apologize, but I’m in my late twenties and can’t stay up late like I did back in the good ol’ days, so this is the best I can do.
7. High Infidelity
Fave lyric: “Put on your headphones and burn my city / Your picket fence is sharp as knives / I was dancing around, dancing around it.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love this song, but I can’t help but feel like it’s more fitting for previous albums like Red or Lover. Other than that, I love how this feels like a classic Taylor heartbreak song (with a happy ending), which makes my nostalgic heart beam with joy.
6. Dear Reader
Fave lyric: “Never take advice from someone who is falling apart.”
This song is beautiful and relatable, but it’s also really sad. I have a feeling that it would hit harder if I were in an unhealthy place, but I also think this song will grow on me after a few listens. It gives off the super-emotional vibes from Red, which I love.
5. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve
Fave lyric: “And I damn sure danced with the devil / At nineteen / And the God honest truth is that the pain was heaven.”
Is this…about her relationship with John Mayer? So much of what happened in that relationship is unknown to the public, and this song just makes me want to know more. Maybe we’ll learn more during the Speak Now re-release, or is this a *plot twist* clue that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is coming out soon?
4. Bigger Than the Whole Sky
Fave lyric: “No words appear before me in the aftermath / Salt streams out of my eyes and into my ears / Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness / ‘Cause it’s all over now, all out to sea.”
This feels like a classic Taylor Swift breakup song but with the maturity of her later albums. It’s everything you could want and more from a Taylor Swift track with all of the metaphors our poetic hearts could possibly desire. This isn’t the type of song you want to listen to while you’re sad because I can definitely see this song sending me into a downward spiral, leading me to text someone I shouldn’t.
Fave lyric: “We were supposed to be just friends / You don’t live in my part of town, but maybe I’ll see you out some weekend.”
I love a good friends-to-lovers story, and this song is about falling in love with a guy you were supposed to be “just friends” with. I can’t help but feel like this is about the beginning of her relationship with Joe Alwyn, which makes me love them together even more.
2. The Great War
Fave lyric: “You drew up some good faith treaties / I drew curtains closed, drank my poison all alone.”
The history nerd in me is obsessed with this song for its Great War (also known as World War I) references, and the hopeless romantic in me loves the metaphors of a relationship that has overcome the odds. I’ll most likely have this on repeat for months to come, and I can’t help but wonder why this didn’t make the 13 songs on the original album.
Fave lyric: “Cheap wine, make believe it’s champagne / I was taken by the view / Like we were in Paris.”
So many of the songs on this album are emotional, so I love that this is just a fun love song. I’m obsessed with the Parisian vibes (obviously) and will be listening to this on repeat and pretending I’m drinking expensive wine (when I definitely bought it at Target for $12) while dreaming about falling in love in Paris until further notice.
In her 10th studio album, Midnights, Taylor Swift does what she does best, writing songs that are as catchy as they are relatable. This album not only shows how much she has grown and matured over the years but also has a few callbacks to some of her older styles of music, leaving something for every type of Swiftie in Midnights.
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