Image Source: Getty / Amy Sussman
Just when you thought Taylor Swift had revealed every song on her highly anticipated new album, "Midnights," she goes and adds seven more to the list! Before the album was released at midnight on Oct. 21, Swift teased there would be a "special very chaotic surprise" at 3 a.m. on Friday. Fans were stunned when the surprise was revealed: seven more new songs! The version of the album with the new tracks is called "Midnights (3am Edition)."
Swift explained why these songs are extras, instead of part of the main album, in an Instagram post. "Surprise! I think of Midnights as a complete concept album, with those 13 songs forming a full picture of the intensities of that mystifying, mad hour. However! There were other songs we wrote on our journey to find that magic 13. I'm calling them 3am tracks," she explained. "Lately I've been loving the feeling of sharing more of our creative process with you, like we do with From The Vault tracks." The From the Vault tracks are old, previously unreleased songs she's added to her re-recorded albums.
The main 13 songs were written and produced by Swift with longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff. She explained in another post, "He's my friend for life (presumptuous I know but I stand by it) and we've been making music together for nearly a decade HOWEVER . . . This is our first album we've done with just the two of us as main collaborators." But the seven 3 a.m. tracks don't feature Antonoff as her main collaborator; instead, she worked on them with Aaron Dessner, best known for his work with the band the National. Dessner, Swift, and Antonoff also collaborated on Swift's "Folklore" and "Evermore."
Technically, there are also three bonus tracks fans can only listen to in one way. On Oct. 13, Target's official Twitter account revealed they're stocking an exclusive version of "Midnights" that will feature an exclusive bonus track called "Hits Different." The album will also feature an additional two piano remixes of "You're on Your Own, Kid" and "Sweet Nothing."
The track listing reveal for the 13 main songs on "Midnights" began at midnight on Sept. 21 — one month before the album's Oct. 21 release. Blondie released the first track name from "Midnights" via TikTok after the social platform teased the big announcement earlier in the day, thus beginning a new fun social media game show. In the initial video — accompanied by elevator-like music — Swift told fans: "It's me. Hi, I know that I have a habit of dropping cryptic clues and Easter eggs when giving you information about new music, and I am not here to deny that, but I'm here to defy that. Welcome to a new series I'm calling 'Midnights Mayhem With Me.' I'm going to be using this technologically-advanced device to help me allow fate to decide exactly what track titles I'm going to be announcing and in what order."
The device in question? A spinning bingo drum, from which she plucked out one of 13 balls. The first? "Track 13, because of course. Track 13 is called 'Mastermind.'"
She followed up the first "Midnights Mayhem" with a second TikTok clip on Sept. 23. The "second episode" featured, again, the spinning ball drum and a "special guest": Swift's cat Meredith. The track she revealed is track eight, which she said is called "Vigilante Sh*t."
For the third installment, Meredith was absent but Swift carried on. The track reveal? No. 7, which is called "Question... ?" The next track up in video four was the sixth listing, called "Midnight Rain." Fans later found out the name of track two: "Maroon."
And on Oct. 3, Swift revealed that track three is called "Antihero." She accompanied the usual TikTok reveal with a lengthier video on Instagram, explaining more about "Antihero" and its meaning. Swift said, "Track three, 'Antihero,' is 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."
"You, know, I struggle a lot with the idea that my life has become unmanageably sized and that, you know — not to sound too dark — I just struggle with the idea of not feeling like a person," the singer-songwriter admitted. "Like don't feel bad for me, you don't need to. This song really is a real guided tour throughout all the things I tend to hate about myself — we all hate things about ourselves and it's all of those aspects of the things we like and dislike about ourselves that we have to come to terms with if we're gonna be this person. I like 'Antihero' a lot because I think it's really honest."
It was back to the regular "Mayhem" programming on Oct. 5, with Swift
On Oct. 6, Swift revealed that track No. 1 would be called "Lavender Haze." In another Instagram video, Swift explained that she "happened upon the phrase 'Lavender Haze' when watching 'Mad Men' and I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool and it turns out that it's a common phrase used in the '50s where they would describe being in love." While Swift described the feeling as that "all-encompassing love glow," she also alluded to her own relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. "If the world finds out that you're in love with somebody, they're going to weigh in on it. My relationship of six years, we've had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it," she said. "This song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff."
Then, on Oct. 7, Swift revealed the last remaining tracks in quick succession on TikTok. The final reveal? Track No. 4, which is titled "Snow on the Beach," will feature none other Lana Del Rey. She accompanied the video with the caption, "The season finale of Midnights Mayhem with Me, with QUITE the twist of an ending . . ."
On Oct. 11, Swift shared more about the highly anticipated collab in an Instagram video, sharing, "'Snow on the Beach' the song is about falling in love with someone at the same time as they're falling in love with you, sort of in this sort of cataclysmic, fated moment where you realize someone feels exactly the same way that you feel at the same moment." Looping back to the collaborative aspect of the track, Swift said Del Rey is "one of the best musical artists ever," adding, "The fact that I get to exist at the same time as her is an honor and a privilege and the fact that she would be so generous as to collaborate with us on this song is something I'm going to be grateful for for life."
Swift announced "Midnights" during the 2022 VMAs in August, sharing full details in an Instagram post at midnight on Aug. 29. Alongside the album-title news, she revealed the cover art: a photo of the singer with heavy blue eye makeup and holding a lighter. She also included a second image with the following text: "We lie awake in love and in fear, in turmoil and in tears. We stare at walls and drink until they speak back. We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren't — right this minute — about to make some fateful life-altering mistake. This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching — hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve . . . we'll meet ourselves."
"Midnights" is out now.
Taylor Swift's "Midnights" Tracklist
- Track One: "Lavender Haze"
- Track Two: "Maroon"
- Track Three: "Antihero"
- Track Four: "Snow on The Beach"
- Track Five: "You're on Your Own, Kid"
- Track Six: "Midnight Rain"
- Track Seven: "Question... ?"
- Track Eight: "Vigilante Sh*t"
- Track Nine: "Bejeweled"
- Track 10: "Labyrinth"
- Track 11: "Karma"
- Track 12: "Sweet Nothing"
- Track 13: "Mastermind"
"Midnights" 3am Tracks
- Track 14: "The Great War"
- Track 15: "Bigger Than the Whole Sky"
- Track 16: "Paris"
- Track 17: "High Infidelity"
- Track 18: "Glitch"
- Track 19: "Would've, Could've, Should've"
- Track 20: "Dear Reader"
"Midnights" Target Exclusive Edition Bonus Tracks
- Track 14: "Hits Different"
- Track 15: "You're on Your Own, Kid" (Piano Version)
- Track 16: "Sweet Nothing" (Piano Version)