‘Midnights’ in Radnor: Before and After


Credit: Chayse Hevesi

Chayse Hevesi

On October 21st, one of the most culturally significant events of 2022 occurred when the clock struck midnight; revered artist Taylor Swift dropped her twelfth album. The highly anticipated album ‘Midnights’ was set to detail the individual stories of thirteen meaningful nights in Taylor’s life. Hype for the new songs was widespread, with people across the country drowning in their own excitement. Here in Radnor, the circumstances were no different; students from all grades were eager for the release. Once the 21st arrived, many of us could be seen in the hallways (or even during class) with our AirPods pressed into our ears, blasting the songs on repeat, still shocked at the 3 AM addition of seven new songs to ‘Midnights.’ Currently, on the Billboard Hot 100, every single song in the Top Ten is from Taylor’s new album. 

Clearly, ‘Midnights’ is taking the country by storm. On a smaller, more community-based scale, Radnor High School students have their own vast spectrum of personal opinions on the album. In fact, many of their thoughts were formed prior to the release of ‘Midnights.’ The wide array of responses from my interviewees can tell us a lot about the musical interests and personalities of our student body. 

Before ‘Midnights’ was even dropped, I asked individuals from all grades about their eagerness for the coming music and if they planned to listen. Caroline Monahan, a junior, said “Hell yeah, I’ll listen to it!” Similarly, freshman Emily Decker said “Obviously, I’m excited. And obviously, I’m going to listen.” 10th grader Nadia Horchler had a specific reason to be excited for ‘Midnights’: it was going to be dropped the day after her birthday! However, some students were indifferent to the new music. When I asked senior Noah Lichtenwalner if he was eager for the album, he said “Sure. I just want some bops.”

As for the kind of music that RHS students were hoping for, everyone had a myriad of expectations. Freshman Lulu Pierce, who has been “a Swiftie for ten years,” ideally wanted a more rock-and-roll 70s style album; however, her realistic expectation of the new music was more sad and slow, aligning with the moods of ‘evermore’ and ‘folklore,’ Swift’s previous albums. Unlike Lulu, Caroline hoped for more of Swift’s indie style: “I like slow songs like ‘august.’” Most of all, interviewees were looking forward to experiencing Taylor’s thought-process and emotions through her music, with sophomore Finn Mezger saying, “I want it to be her same unique style of singing about emotional abuse and pain.” 

Looking back on it now, many weeks after the album’s release, I can confidently say that most student’s hopes for the album have been satisfied, at least within some specific songs. ‘Midnights’ is filled to the brim with anger and turmoil, as demonstrated in tracks like ‘Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve,’ ‘Vigilante Sh*t’ and ‘Anti-Hero.’ There’s also a positive, rebellious aspect of ‘Midnights,’ as can be heard in ‘Bejeweled’ and ‘Karma.’ Some songs follow a pop-like pattern while others reflect her more recent indie music. No matter who’s listening to the album, they can find at least one song that they enjoy. 

Following up with Emily Decker after the release of Midnights, she expressed that her favorite song is ‘Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve,’ one of the 3am Edition songs. In her opinion, it was the most emotional song, one in which the listener could easily connect with the lyrics. On her first listen, Emily felt a dissonance within the album, but after a while, the twenty new tracks absolutely grew on her. “The fact that [all of] her new songs made the Top 100 was definitely a historic moment,” she reported enthusiastically. Emily was not the only one who experienced initial disappointment with the album; sophomore Elia Coleth was in the same boat. “At first, it was a let down, but now, I like the overall music style,” she reported. Elia’s favorite song is ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid,’ Taylor Swift’s track #5 for the album. Swift’s fifth songs are typically known for being sorrowful and personal, and Radnor High School students love her raw display of heartbreak. 

Other members of the RHS community fell in love with ‘Midnights’ instantly, like junior Zoe Margolies. “Ever since I saw the cover, I knew it would be great,” she said. “Currently, my favorite song is ‘Question…?’ I’ve just been dancing around in my room and listening to it.” Zoe particularly loves the variety of songs that are upbeat: “I am a huge fan of her pop era. It’s very controversial, but I love it.”

Junior Quinn Schultz, like Zoe, loves the song ‘Question…?’ He appreciates the “relatable style and message” of the album that can be heard in many songs. Quinn felt satisfied with the album, for the most part, expressing that it was on the better side of mediocre. Finn Mezger, who was interviewed before the release of ‘Midnights,’ had a less critical view of the album. “The title fits it perfectly,” he said. “It feels gloomy but in a fun way, like you’re in a motel at 3am, leaving your old life behind.”

As ‘Midnights’ inches towards its one-month anniversary, Radnor High School students’ appreciation for the twenty tracks is crystal clear. For some, in the midst of classes, homework, sports, clubs, extracurriculars and the end of the first quarter, the album has been a musical escape from the stresses of daily life. For others, it has barely been a blip on their radar. Regardless, we can all agree that the launch of Taylor Swift’s twelfth album has been a highly memorable moment in music history. There’s only one question that remains: when will we get album number thirteen?