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Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ Album Is Your New Night-Driving Anthem

The vibes and the tones of Taylor Swift's new album are perfect for a nighttime jaunt on your favorite road.
Republic Records

If you were anywhere near social media today, you might have noticed that Taylor Swift dropped her 10th studio album, called Midnights. At 13 tracks and 44 minutes long, it feels like Swift’s most vulnerable songwriting to date. I’m only on my second listen-through of the day (I know, I started late), but I’m already convinced this album is one of the most perfect night-driving anthems ever written.

What makes a good night-driving album? It varies from person to person, of course, but I tend to feel the most pensive and thoughtful when I’m behind the wheel and there’s nothing else outside but the light from the street and other cars. Thus, high-energy, crashy rock music isn’t my go-to. I’m looking for something that matches my vibe, and Midnights does that.

The album takes a decisively ’80s retro tone that’s swept pop culture like a storm in recent years—just see Wonder Woman 1984, Stranger Things, and even Radwood if you need further evidence—with synthy and electro-pop tones that anyone familiar with Lana del Rey’s work would instantly recognize. (Fun fact, del Rey co-wrote the album’s fourth track, “Snow on the Beach.”) It layers on the hazy atmospheric gauze and is almost a complete 180-degree change from 2020’s alt-folk Folklore (an album that I consider transcendent).

Not only that, though, but driving—especially at night—has become one of the last places you can exist without the expectation of checking your phone, responding to messages, or just being beholden to a screen. It leaves you to listen more intently to things, like podcasts and, in this case, the album’s excellent lyrics. Again, I’ve only listened to the album twice, but I think my favorite song currently is Track 3, “Anti-Hero.” There’s just some really beautiful wordplay and rhyming in there:

I should not be left to my own devices
They come with prices and vices
I end up in crisis
(Tale as old as time)
I wake up screaming from dreaming
One day, I’ll watch as you’re leaving
‘Cause you got tired of my scheming
(For the last time)

Anyway, I can’t wait to do one of my late-night NYC-to-Vermont runs and put this on. Forty-four minutes isn’t terribly long, but that’s why there’s an album repeat function.

Here’s a YouTube playlist of the album to put on:

Fellow Swifties holla at me: