The moment that Taylor Swift fans had been waiting for since August finally arrived at midnight Friday when “Midnights” made its much-anticipated debut.
In a surprise, Swift returned to social media just three hours after her 10th studio album dropped to release a deluxe version featuring seven bonus tracks.
“Midnights is a collage of intensity, highs and lows and ebbs and flows,” the Reading native wrote in a series of tweets posted minutes after the album’s release. “Life can be dark, starry, cloudy, terrifying, electrifying, hot, cold, romantic, or lonely. Just like ‘Midnights.’ Which is out now.”
Swift first revealed the project during an acceptance speech given at the MTV Video Music Awards. Earlier this fall, she released the titles of the album’s 13 tracks through a TikTok series dubbed “Midnights Mayhem with Me” and designed as a bingo game.
On Thursday, the singer had one more surprise for fans ahead of the album’s release. A teaser trailer with Amazon Music presented during Thursday Night Football revealed visuals from several music videos that will accompany the album. The first of them, for “Anti-Hero,” premiered at 8 a.m. Friday.
“Lavender Haze” and “Mastermind” bookend the album as a reminder that Swift is back to writing songs about herself and her past after two albums that focused on fictional stories and characters.
The rest of the album, which includes a highly-anticipated musical collaboration between Swift and Lana Del Rey, presents itself as a mix of a lot of Swift’s other work, with style influences similar to projects like 2014’s “1989,” 2017’s “Reputation,” and 2019’s “Lover.”
“We lie awake in love and fear, in turmoil and tears,” Swift wrote in an Instagram post following her album announcement. “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.”
Swift will spend the next week promoting her album. The pop singer will also make appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Monday and “The Graham Norton Show” on Friday, Oct. 28. In between, she’ll release a second music video on Tuesday.
“Midnights” has garnered widespread acclaim from critics in its early reviews. Rolling Stone called the album an “instant classic,” while Variety and The Guardian noted how Swift blended the songwriting of her previous two original albums, “folklore” and “evermore,” with her traditional electric pop sound.
Metacritic, which scores albums based on critic and audience reviews, has given “Midnights” a 94% rating with just nine total reviews available. Its audience review is 9.1, based on more than 600 user-submitted reviews.
Much like after Swift’s other releases, fans immediately took to Twitter to share their reactions to the album, which was shrouded in mystery over the last two months because Swift did not release any singles.
Midnights sounds like if you locked Reputation in an underground cellar and let it age for five years 🍷
— Suzy Exposito (@HexPositive) October 21, 2022
The fact that we’re all listening to the same album at the same time is the closest we’ll ever get to a coven.
— CORINNE FISHER (@PhilanthropyGal) October 21, 2022
Midnights has the unwavering boppiness of 1989, the depth of folklore and evermore, the heart of Lover, and the middle finger of reputation.
— erin got engaged at a taylor swift concert (@swiftbunnies) October 21, 2022
Wishing that @taylorswift13’s new album was called 7PM right now because some of us have work tomorrow
— Victoria Vinall (@vvinall) October 20, 2022
anyways, taylor swift never fails to release music that feels like it was written deliberately and personally for me
— Connor Franta (@connorfranta) October 21, 2022
“Midnights” follows “Red (Taylor’s Version),” a re-recorded version of her 2012 album that featured a 10-minute version of her pop ballad, “All Too Well.” The album included a 10-minute “short film” to accompany the song, starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink.
The album and the short film were met positively by fans and critics alike, and resulted in nominations and wins at the American Music Awards, VMAs and Billboard Music Awards. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is also under consideration for the upcoming Grammy Awards.
“Midnights” and “Midnights (3am Edition)” are both available to stream or purchase.