After listening to Midnights so many times that Taylor Swift now voices my inner monologue, I find myself in possession of all the knowledge necessary to create the definitive ranking of the 10 best songs on the album:
10. “Snow On the Beach, ft. Lana del Rey”
Light, airy, and whimsical, this song sounds like falling in love. Though Lana and Taylor’s voices harmonize hypnotically, many fans were disappointed that Lana didn’t get to sing a full verse. Nevertheless, Dylan O’Brien, star of the All Too Well: The Short Film and man of my dreams, plays the drums on this song, so that fault can be overlooked.
As Taylor would say, this song was written with a “glitter gel-pen”: its lyrics aren’t meant to be taken too seriously. After years of unwarranted scrutiny, Taylor rejoices in her personal success and well-earned good karma. If you’re a chronic manifester, make this song your soundtrack of the semester and discover that “karma is real.”
This one is for the crazy girls who sing along to the lyric “I wanna brainwash you into loving me forever” while wearing a beret and attempting to mysteriously eat an Atticus croissant. The unnoticed crumbs that have fallen on your sweater are proof that you have failed.
An upbeat tune about Taylor’s hardest relationship to date: the one she holds with herself. With uninhibited honesty, she sings of her own self-loathing and insecurities to a cheery beat that makes me want to cry while jumping up and down on my bed.
6. “Sweet Nothing”
Written by Taylor Swift and William Bowery—the pseudonym of Joe Alwyn, her boyfriend of 6 years—this love song is soft like a lullaby and gut-wrenching to any single person who dares to listen.
5. “The Great War”
No, this song is not about waking up on a Sunday morning with the most rancid hangover you’ve ever experienced. It’s about something scarier: your past. Taylor describes the long-term effect of previous relationship trauma as she sings, “And maybe it’s the past that talkin’ / screamin’ from the crypt / tellin’ me to punish you for things you never did.” Ouch.
4. “You’re On Your Own, Kid”
Every good Swiftie knows that the fifth track is the most devastating. “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is no exception: it details the transition into adulthood, the problems that accompany time, and the realization that independence is not as scary as it sounds.
Have you ever wondered what color a failed relationship is? Maroon exemplifies Taylor’s universalization of specific details by describing her own amorous entanglement as a shared experience. And, as a rosacea girl myself, the lyric, “And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was (maroon),” fuels my delusion that Taylor writes her songs for me, specifically.
A psychological comparison between her romantic relationships and her interactions with fans. Taylor, known for her deliberate, hidden clues about future work, reveals in this song: “I’m only cryptic and Machevellian because I care.” Even if you don’t love the song, you should fear its lyrical genius.
1. “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve”
Written about her notorious relationship with John Mayer, then 32 to her 19, Taylor explores an angrier and more regretful perspective than when she wrote “Dear John” on Speak Now 12 years ago. Most likely a song written during her rerecording process, Taylor’s protectiveness over her younger self emerges in the lyric “give me back my girlhood, it was mine first.” Fuck you, John Mayer.
If you see me on the street and try to convince me that I am wrong about this ranking, I will remind you that I am not taking comments at this time.