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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 10-21-22 – 10-27-22 Reviewed, Taylor Swift’s “Midnights (3am Edition)” Reviewed

The hard thing to keep in mind is that the distance between Elon Musk and a refugee from the Ukraine is minuscular, appearances not withstanding. I mention this because an album of the Crowned Queen of Modern Pop, Taylor Swift, is closer to us than we can realize and her new album, the 20 song, one hour plus, behemoth, Midnights -aka Midnights (3am Edition)– an insomniac world where Tay Tay takes her well honed storytelling till she writes her first novel, and points it towards her.

Midnights is a very good album and may grow to be great, but it is missing that one song (so was folklore and Evermore), it is missing that “Blank Space”, that, God knows “Love Story” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. As pleasant and, dare we say it, unassuming, as this collection of astroturf synth pop featuring the unassuming Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift concocting tunefulness out of synthesizer hooks and beats and messing with Taylor’s vocals doctored out of shape till they are high pitched silly putty on a song like the (re)vengeful “Karma” not to mention the Kylie Minogue type disco work out, opening track and outlier “Lavender Haze”.

It is possible this needs more listening, it is still too early for anything but first thoughts (though I’ve never seriously changed my opinion about a Swift album). There is nothing here that has you wondering what Taylor is playing at, the way Reputation did, but there is nothing that has you waking up the town to announce its arrival (the way “Shake It Off” did). The first five songs are absolutely fine, solid all the way through, but they never take off, they never fly in the face of the world the way she did on Fearless. It maintains an equilibrium perhaps suitable for a woman who has always written about her romantic conundrums while not having a romantic conundrum in six years.

Taylor doesn’t explode because she has nothing to explode for, Midnights remains calm, chilly in its coolness and aloneness, and distilled late at night like a thought you can’t get out of your head. “You’re Your on Own, Kid” lodges and disappears in a blood soaked prom dress, “Vigilante Shit” is more instant karma, “Sweet Nothing” a straight up and tender love song co-written with her boyfriend, “Dear Reader” is distracted electronica and “Midnight Rain” is a bleeping sound of scaredness and love as self haunting.

All the songs are like that, they all tell stories that happen when the witching hour has gone to bed but Taylor has not…

Grade: B+

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