Taylor Swift returns to the Beats
A celebrity duet partner and collaborating with an old acquaintance: what pop superstar Taylor Swift’s new album reveals after Great Secrecy.
With her tenth studio album is Taylor Swift returned to the beats after excursions into the indie folk genre. The 32-year-old has reunited with pop producer Jack Antonoff for “Midnights,” which was released Friday after everyone involved was kept secret. He is known for catchy, reduced beats and has also worked with Lana del Rey and Lorde.
Swift and Antonoff were already a successful team for the album “Lover” (2019). The US singer, who has won eleven Grammys, among other things, in her meteoric career, wrote on Friday night: “Midnights is a wild ride as an album, and I couldn’t be happier that my co-pilot was on this adventure Jack Antonoff was.”
This is the first record that the two of them mostly produced together. The album took shape while theirs partner – each an actor – happened to have made a film together. “Jack and I found ourselves in New York, alone, recording every night, staying up late exploring memories together and midnights past.”
Reduced to vocals and beats
After her acclaimed acoustic works “Folklore” and “Evermore” from 2020, “Midnights” is all about Swift’s vocals and reduced electronic beats plus synths. In the background you can hear Antonoff’s unerring gimmicks: Sometimes the bass is turned down to the lowest level or a beat is briefly punctured with a jingle ring. The highlights include the songs “Lavender Haze” or “Vigilante Shit”.
However, “Midnights” is not a dance album. Rather kept in mid-tempo, the pieces are mostly quiet. One waits in vain for dance floor hits like “Shake It Off”. The ethereal ballad “Snow On The Beach” features a duet with another American pop star: Swift has been able to enlist Lana del Rey. This “is one of the best musicians of all time in my opinion,” Swift said recently.
Texts in focus
With Swift, who won a national poetry competition at the age of ten, the lyrics are always important. “Midnights” is about the talented songwriter’s well-known motives: revenge, feminism, life in public – and love. Individual lines of the song will certainly become the “Swifties” – as the millions of fans of the musician are called – for her Instagram– Unlink profiles or elsewhere on social media.
For example, catchy puns in English like: “Well, he was doin’ lines and crossin’ all of mine” (from “Vigilante Shit”). Or: “So put me in the basement/ When I want the penthouse of your heart” (from “Bejeweled”). Will the fans be able to experience these lines of text live again after years of waiting due to the corona? Swift hasn’t announced a tour yet.
Like all its predecessors since “Fearless” (2008), “Midnights” should easily jump back to number one in the US charts – and the hit lists of many other countries. The singer from Reading/Pennsylvania, born in 1989, who came from the rather conservative country, has long since become a global one music– and style icon.
And also because she shows rough edges despite all her friendliness: In the 2020 US election campaign, Swift positioned herself clearly against arch-conservative Trump voters among her fans, and after arguments about the music rights to her earlier albums, she took old music as “Taylor’s version ” new on. In March, the award-winner was even awarded an honorary doctorate from New York University (NYU).
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