Madelyn Lerew is a junior at Fishers High School. She enjoys playing trombone, hiking and spending time with her dogs Winnie and Ellie.
A Swift review before ‘Midnights’ release
Ranking Taylor Swift's discography prior to the release of her tenth album 'Midnights' on Oct. 21, 2022.
October 18, 2022
‘Midnights’ is an upcoming album comprised of songs written in the middle of the night by Taylor Swift throughout her life, is being released on Oct. 21, 2022. Swift has released nine albums throughout her career and rereleased two of these albums. With the songs on her most recent album being from each of her different album eras, we should take the time to first, look through each album and to better understand the context in which the songs were written. This helps to shed light on the breadth of her career and will create a better understanding for those that are planning on listening to her new album. I will be ranking each album, providing information about it and stating my favorite songs from each.
The sister album to ‘Folklore’ (Swift’s eighth album) ‘Evermore’ is what I consider to be the pinnacle of Swift’s catalogue. It was unexpectedly dropped on Dec. 11, 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increased amount of writing time she had. The album is distinctly reminiscent of late fall with lines like, “Your Midas touch on the Chevy door/ November flush and your flannel cure,” from ‘Champagne Problems’.
- Right Where You Left Me
- Gold Rush
- Speak Now
‘Speak Now’ is Swift’s third studio album, with it being released on Oct. 25, 2010. ‘Speak Now’ provides a whimsical image of relationships ranging from the album cover, choice of instrumentals, and lyrical themes. The album cover shows Swift in a purple dress being spun out with glitter flying, which fits well with elements like the dramatic strings entrance to the song ‘Haunted’. The lyrics of the songs themselves also point to this fantastical image of love with, “Drop everything now/ Meet me in the pouring rain/ Kiss me on the sidewalk/ Take away the pain/ ‘Cause I see, sparks fly, whenever you smile,” coming from the song ‘Sparks Fly’.
- Last Kiss
- The Story of Us
‘1989’ was released on Oct. 27, 2014 as number five among Swift’s albums. This album arguably falls more under the umbrella of pop than her other albums, with her most recognizable and popular song, ‘Shake it Off,’ being a part of the album. According to an article by the New York Times, “… by making pop with almost no contemporary references, Ms. Swift is aiming somewhere even higher, a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars even bother aspiring to.” This is exemplified by the song ‘Wonderland’ on the deluxe version of this album which makes references to Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ with verses like, “Flashing lights and we/ Took a wrong turn and we/ Fell down a rabbit hole,” and, “Didn’t you flash your green eyes at me?/ Didn’t you calm my fears with a Cheshire cat smile?”
- I Know Places
- I Wish You Would
‘Folklore’ was another one of Swift’s quarantine albums and was released on July 24, 2020. In this album, Swift writes more self-introspective songs, as well as some that are unrelated to her life. In her documentary ‘Folklore: the Long Pond Studio Sessions’ she explains how the songs ‘This is Me Trying’ and ‘Mirrorball’ are parallels as well as explaining the meaning behind ‘Mirrorball’.
“We have mirrorballs in the middle of a dance floor because they reflect light, they are broken a million times, and that’s what makes them so shiny,” Swift said. “We have people like that in society too. They hang there and every time they break it entertains us. When you shine a light on them it’s this glittering fantastic thing, but a lot of the time when the spotlight isn’t on them they’re still there up on a pedestal but nobody is watching them.”
The three songs of ‘Betty’, ‘August’ and ‘Cardigan’ show Swift beginning to write songs telling stories about things outside of her life. The three songs are about the love triangle of James, Betty and August and each of their three perspectives are explored throughout each of the songs.
- The Lakes
- Mirror ball
Swift originally released the album ‘Fearless’ on Nov. 11, 2008, as her second studio album, but then rereleased it as ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ on April 19, 2021, after disputes with her old record label over the masters of her songs. Not owning the masters to her songs meant Swift did not have full control over the rights to her music and the ability to sell it to whoever she chose. In the original version of this album, her youth shines through in the way she sings the songs as well as in lyrical themes. This is exemplified in the chorus of her song ‘Fifteen’, “Cause when you’re fifteen/ Somebody tells you they love you/ You’re gonna believe them.” In the rerecorded album you get to hear these same songs but also hear how she has changed as a person through the maturity in her voice. I listen to and enjoy the rereleased version more due to the growth you can hear in Swift’s vocal ability as well as the fact that she is the one that profits off of the streaming of these songs.
- Forever and Always (Taylor’s Version)
- Fifteen (Taylor’s Version)
- The Way I Loved You (Taylor’s Version)
‘Red’ is the second album that Swift has rerecorded with the original being released fourth among her albums on Oct. 22, 2012 and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ being released on Nov. 12, 2021. Within this album lies the infamous song ‘All Too Well’ about her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal that later had the 10 minute version released from the vault in her rerecording. Some gut-wrenching lines from this song include, “Well, maybe we got lost in translation/ Maybe I asked for too much/ But maybe this thing was a masterpiece/ ‘Til you tore it all up,” and, “And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?/ Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?” I prefer listening to the rerecorded version of this album due to the vault tracks that are included as well as the fact that Swift owns the masters of these songs.
- All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
- Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)
- Starlight (Taylor’s Version)
‘Reputation’ was rereleased as her sixth studio album on Nov. 10, 2017 following controversy with Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) that led to a decline in her public image. Many fans believe that Swift was originally going to release an album named ‘Karma’ but instead wrote ‘Reputation’ following the controversy. This is further proved by Karma being written in a clock shape with her other album names in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ music video, and by Swift giggling when announcing the track name of ‘Karma’ during one of her ‘Midnights Mayhem’ videos posted on her personal Tiktok.
The album itself represents a stark contrast to her previous work with edgier tones being presented in the songs. This is specifically shown in the song ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ with lines like, “I don’t like your perfect crime/ How you laugh when you lie/ You said the gun was mine/ Isn’t cool, no, I don’t like you,” and, “The world moves on, another day another drama, drama/ But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma/ And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure/ Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours.”
- New Years Day
- Dancing with Our Hands Tied
‘Lover’ was Swift’s last album released before the COVID-19 pandemic, seventh in her line of albums it was released on Aug. 23, 2019. She had a tour named ‘Lover Fest’ scheduled for this album that was unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic. Lover features some of the happiest songs in Swift’s discography with songs like ‘Paper Rings’ and ‘Lover’ that create a utopian depiction of love. I feel the line, “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings/ Uh huh, that’s right/ Darling, you’re the one I want,” captures this perfectly.
- Cruel Summer
- Taylor Swift (debut album)
Swift began her career with her debut album ‘Taylor Swift’, which was released on Oct. 24, 2006. Swift is originally from West Reading, Pennsylvania but moved just outside of Nashville to start off her music career. This album is the most distinctive out of all of her albums due to the country music themes and accent present throughout all the songs. This is shown in the title of one of her songs ‘Tim McGraw’ being named after country singer Tim McGraw.
- Our Song
- Should’ve Said No
- Picture to Burn
Swift has already released the track list for ‘Midnights’ and has stated that the songs were written throughout her life. While one can speculate on when and why each of the songs were written, it is simply impossible to know until the songs are released. It is important to understand Swift’s past in order to fully comprehend her new songs being released in ‘Midnights’.
Madelyn Lerew is a junior and the Online Editor for the Fishers Tiger Times. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.