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Psychic Swifties: Predicting what Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' will look like

Taylor Swift has announced her new album "Midnights" is releasing on October 21. What might be in store? – Photo by Taylor Swift / Twitter

Ever since “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was released, fans of pop musician Taylor Swift have been eagerly wondering what’s next. Most have been anticipating another "Taylor’s Version" of her other albums that have yet to be released.

Then the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards came, and Swift arrived in an opulent jewel dress that a lot of fans felt was reminiscent of the Reputation era, specifically the diamond bath she took for the “Look What You Made Me Do” music video. All signs pointed to what fans call “Reputation TV” being announced by the end of the night. But after winning three awards at the VMAs, Swift threw a major curveball and announced a brand new album

More than we had been expecting, the album announcement caused fans to celebrate the news, but important questions were raised: What would the album sound like? What would it be about? What kind of songs or other artists would feature on it? And what hints and Easter eggs had Swift already left for us to figure all of this out?

If you don’t consider yourself a big Swift fan, or a "Swiftie", you may not realize how many hidden messages she tends to leave her fans. Her CDs (things I am in proud possession of) used to have secret lyrics and messages, and she constantly drops hints on social media and in announcements that later become relevant when the albums drop, so fans are used to theorizing and possibly reading a little too much into things, and they are following this pattern with "Midnights."

Some think that song titles may have been secretly embedded in the Instagram announcement itself, and I myself feel a few possibilities stand out.

Unlike her other albums in which singles dropped and titles were announced before the album came out, for “Midnights” we know practically nothing. We do know that Swift will be tackling a new genre: rock. We also know that the theme of the album will be about 13 sleepless nights throughout the course of her life. But for the rest of it, fans are left to speculate.

I’ve seen a lot of theories in news articles and on social media, but I have a few of my own predictions.

First, I think the overall sound will still be in the realm of indie or alternative music similar to the direction she took with “folklore” and “evermore.” But I think the overall sound will be quite different from her other albums.

Many fans also think that “Midnights” might be set in contrast to “Lover," which was originally going to be called "Daylight" — and has a song with that title. As “Lover” was mostly an uplifting and fun pop album about different kinds of love that we experience in our lives, I believe that “Midnights” will mirror this with a much moodier tone.

The theming alone seems to suggest this, as sleepless nights or waking up in the middle of the night are typically accompanied by wandering and troublesome thoughts that can keep us up further.

Examining Swift’s past work, I’ve come up with a few themes that I think we’ll see in her album.

Somewhat similar to songs in “Reputation,” I think a major theme in these restless nights will feature Swift’s anxieties with her career and personal life.

Songs like “Delicate,” “Nothing New,” “The Archer”, “mirrorball,” “this is me trying” and “evermore” may have a similar sound or message to what we may see in “Midnights.” These songs all have quintessential late-night thoughts featured in them and in recent albums, Swift has been showing more and more of the downfalls to the path to fame she’s taken.

Another theme that I’m almost certain will appear is common to all her albums: unstable relationships. There are too many in this category to count, but a few that I will think may be similar to tracks on this new album are "Afterglow", "illicit affairs" and "champagne problems."

As we follow her through these sleepless nights, I think Swift's writing will reflect similar worries about relationships falling apart and the one that got away. It's a theme that we’ve seen in songs like “the 1” and “right where you left me,” which I think may lead to some of her most heartbreaking ballads on "Midnights."

The final major theme that I think will feature on the album is finding comfort in love or in late nights spent with the people who matter. Since she’s been with Joe Alwyn, Swift has written some truly great love songs such as “Daylight,” and I think we’ll be getting more of these types of songs.

One major song which I think may be similar to this theme is “You Are in Love,” which is a slow but powerful ballad about falling in love with the right person. Another example of this is “New Year’s Day,” which I think encapsulates this possible theme for the album, especially with the lyrics “I want your midnights.”

While we associate the sleepless nights Swift describes with restlessness and anxiety, they may also be filled with thoughts of gratitude for the ones we love most.

Speaking of “Daylight,” I also think it’s possible that there will be a song named after the album called “Midnights” which will mirror this song in some way — maybe a more toned-down perspective on love that would come from this kind of late night introspective pondering.

Most of Swift’s albums also feature collaborations, and due to the overall tone and vibe of the album’s advertisement that we’ve seen so far and the genre being rock, I think it’s possible that the band HAIM might feature on a track or two.

Swift has collaborated with the band in the past, both on her album “evermore” and on HAIM's album “Women in Music Pt. III." The song they sang together, “Gasoline,” on HAIM’s album might be an indicator of some of the music on “Midnights,” considering it has that alternative rock feel Swift is going for.

Swift also performed with the band recently, which might be further indication of another collaboration coming soon.

Swift also collaborated with Phoebe Bridgers, who is no stranger to an indie rock sound, on Swift's song “Nothing New” for her album “Red (Taylor’s Version).” This song was about the kind of thoughts one might have when they let their mind wander a bit too far — it was about their positions in the industry, and their overall images as female musicians which, as I’ve said, will likely feature as a prominent theme on the album.

I think Bridgers has the perfect haunting voice for such a theme and would be a great addition to “Midnights.” Considering both were apparently excited to work with one another, I wouldn’t be surprised if Swift asked her to collaborate with her again. 

The album’s advertising also has a very vintage feel, which I think Swift will be drawing on for a lot of the album’s sound. A lot of her style choices in the new era and the imagery she’s been using reminds me of the late 60s and early 70s, and considering the album will be rock, I think it might have some inspiration for that iconic era of rock music.

Tying in with this thought, I think she’ll be adding a few unique instrumental elements that are known from this era. Maybe more instruments like bass or electric guitar will be included in the songs and some jazzier touches may be featured, like the saxophone in “False God.”

Due to the air of mystery in this new album, all we can really do is guess until Swift releases more hints or possibly a single down the line. Or maybe she’ll keep us in the dark until the release.

As a result, I could be very off base, and the album might be something none of us are really expecting. Regardless of what “Midnights” ends up being, other fans and I will certainly be meeting Swift at midnight on October 21.

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