Midnights Does Not Deserve Album of the Year. Here's Why.

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI

Summary Notes


The host of the Swiftolist channel presents a critical analysis of Taylor Swift's "Midnights," arguing that despite its commercial success, it doesn't merit the Album of the Year award at the 2024 Grammys. They believe the album rides on the wave of Taylor's popularity rather than artistic excellence, lacks enduring career highlights, and is overshadowed by stronger contenders like SZA and Olivia Rodrigo. The host criticizes the album's vague songwriting, suggesting it doesn't showcase growth from Swift's previous works "Folklore" and "Evermore." They also speculate that "Midnights" was a strategic move to promote Swift's upcoming tour rather than a genuine artistic statement. Despite being a fan, the host challenges the narrative that Swift's work is beyond critique, advocating for a fair assessment that recognizes artistic merit over commercial triumph.

Summary Notes

Unpopular Opinion on Taylor Swift's "Midnights"

  • The channel is known for supporting Taylor Swift, yet the host shares an unpopular opinion about "Midnights."
  • "Midnights" is argued not to deserve the Album of the Year at the 2024 Grammys.
  • The host believes the album lacks artistic excellence, which is crucial for such an award.
  • The success of "Midnights" is attributed to Taylor Swift’s popularity and her successful year in 2023, not its quality.
  • Despite liking the album, the host feels it's unfair to praise it solely based on Swift's success.

some of you are about to be really mad at me. but I don't care because I'm here to tell you that midnights does not deserve album of the Year.

The quote expresses the host's readiness to share a controversial opinion about "Midnights" not deserving the Album of the Year, regardless of the expected backlash from fans.

Commercial Success vs. Artistic Excellence

  • The host argues that commercial success should not equate to artistic excellence.
  • Taylor Swift's success is seen as a given, and "Midnights" is no exception.
  • The album's impact is tied to Swift's fame rather than its standalone quality.

Commercial Success is basically irrelevant to Taylor S discography when we're talking about measuring its artistic excellence and quality.

The quote highlights the distinction between commercial success and artistic quality, suggesting that the former should not be the sole measure of the latter in Taylor Swift's case.

Taylor Swift's Grammy History

  • Taylor Swift has won Album of the Year three times with albums considered more deserving.
  • The host suggests that "Midnights" is being marketed alongside Swift's "Eras Tour" to influence Grammy voters.
  • The Grammy campaign seems to focus on Swift's success rather than the album's artistic merit.

Taylor has also won album of the Year Thrice already for albums that were way more deserving of this Accolade than midnights.

This quote provides context for Swift's history with the Grammys, noting that her previous wins were for albums with higher artistic merit than "Midnights."

Critique of "Midnights"

  • The host predicts "Midnights" will not have enduring career highlights.
  • The songwriting on "Midnights" is described as confused and non-specific.
  • The album is seen as unoriginal compared to Swift's previous pop records.
  • "Midnights" is viewed as a safe move to transition back to pop after a folk period.

there will be no enduring career highlights from this record as it ages.

The quote suggests that "Midnights" lacks standout tracks that will be remembered as career-defining for Taylor Swift.

Album of the Year Assessment Criteria

  • The host uses specific categories to assess Album of the Year contenders: Artistic Excellence, Growth and Challenge, Cultural Impact, and Legacy.
  • These criteria are applied to compare "Midnights" with other nominees and Taylor Swift's past work.
  • The host plans to analyze "Midnights" alongside other albums by Lana Del Rey, Olivia Rodrigo, and SZA.

in today's video I'll be going through my standard categories for assessing an album of the year which I've been doing so far on this month.

The quote outlines the methodical approach the host takes to evaluate nominees for Album of the Year, indicating a structured critique process.

Taylor Swift's Grammy Campaigning

  • Swift is known for actively campaigning for Grammy nominations and wins.
  • The host discusses Swift's previous campaign efforts, including sending VIP boxes and taking out ads.
  • Grammy wins are beneficial for sales and exposure, and Swift's campaigns are seen as a testament to her drive for recognition.

she also extensively lobbies for her Grammys submitting lavish for your consideration freebies not bribes we must point that out because she's been accused of that in the past.

This quote reveals the extent of Taylor Swift's Grammy campaigning efforts, emphasizing that these are not considered bribes but rather persuasive tactics.

Grammys and Taylor Swift: Mutual Benefits

  • The Grammys benefit from nominating Swift by ensuring her attendance and potentially her performance.
  • Swift's wins lead to praise from her followers, enhancing the Grammys' reputation.
  • The relationship between Swift and the Grammys is characterized as symbiotic, with both parties gaining from her nominations and wins.

what do the Grammys get out of awarding Taylor a lot if not more than Taylor gets from winning.

The quote reflects on the mutual benefits that the Grammys and Taylor Swift receive from her winning awards, suggesting that the Grammys might gain even more from this relationship.

Grammy Relevance and Artist Critiques

  • The Grammys have been criticized for bias and lack of diversity in their nomination process.
  • Artists like Drake and The Weeknd have boycotted the Grammys by not submitting their work.
  • Taylor Swift, in contrast, has maintained a friendly relationship with the Recording Academy.
  • Taylor Swift has won Album of the Year three times and has a total of 11 Grammy Awards.
  • Despite her success, Taylor Swift has never won Song of the Year, which is a point of contention for her.

"For years artists like Drake and the weekend have called out perceived Grammy bias and their unwillingness to diversify the way that the Grammys do their nomination process."

This quote highlights the ongoing issue of perceived bias within the Grammy Awards and the actions taken by some artists in protest.

Taylor Swift's Grammy Success and Campaigning

  • Taylor Swift is a significant influence in the music industry and has consistently received Grammy nominations.
  • Her success is attributed to her songwriting skills and the perceived 'excellence' of her albums.
  • Swift's albums 'Fearless,' 'Red,' '1989,' 'Folklore,' 'Evermore,' and 'Midnights' have been nominated for Album of the Year.
  • The concept of 'excellence' in music is subjective and can influence Grammy nominations.

"Taylor Swift crucially now the biggest taste maker in the music industry has never lobbed such critiques at the Grammys nor downplayed her achievements."

This quote emphasizes Taylor Swift's significant influence in the music industry and her positive relationship with the Grammys, which may contribute to her consistent recognition at the awards.

Cultural Impact of 'Midnights'

  • The cultural impact of Taylor Swift's album 'Midnights' is a mix of public goodwill, anticipation, and marketing strategy.
  • 'Midnights' arrived with a lot of hype, partly due to Taylor's return to pop and confessional songwriting.
  • The marketing of 'Midnights' was mysterious and generated significant interest through tactics like the 'Midnights Mayhem with Me' TikTok series.
  • The album's release strategy, including multiple variants, contributed to its commercial success.

"Cultural impact of this album is not purely because of its artistic Merit it's a culmination of factors."

This quote suggests that 'Midnights' impact is due to a combination of factors beyond just the music itself, including marketing and Taylor Swift's established popularity.

Chart Success and Marketing Tactics

  • 'Midnights' lead single 'Anti-Hero' was a commercial hit, partly due to chart manipulations.
  • There is debate over whether chart manipulations reflect genuine popularity or are simply gaming the system.
  • The visuals for 'Midnights' were misleading, suggesting a darker theme that the album did not deliver on.
  • The lack of iconic visuals and overreliance on Easter eggs in the album's promotion may indicate a lack of depth.

"Anti-hero is a giant hit."

This quote acknowledges the commercial success of the lead single 'Anti-Hero' from 'Midnights,' despite discussions about the legitimacy of its chart performance.

Critical Reception and Career Progression

  • Critics are often hesitant to critique Taylor Swift due to the potential backlash from her fanbase.
  • 'Midnights' is seen as lukewarm to positive by critics, with no standout career highlights compared to 'Folklore' and 'Evermore.'
  • The progression and development of an artist's skill and work are essential when evaluating new albums.
  • 'Midnights' is perceived as a regression in songwriting quality compared to previous albums.

"Midnights has received basically zero a claim but also zero critique."

This quote indicates that 'Midnights' has not received significant praise or criticism from reviewers, placing it in an awkward position within Taylor Swift's discography.

Grammy Consideration and Hype

  • Taylor Swift's Grammy campaign for 'Midnights' focuses on her tour visuals and her successful year.
  • The album 'Midnights' is seen as a means to generate hype for the Eras Tour rather than a standalone artistic achievement.
  • The commercial success of an album does not necessarily equate to excellence or merit Grammy recognition.
  • There is a distinction between organic and manufactured hype, with 'Midnights' relying heavily on the latter.

"The Taylor Swift machine at this point did it all for her."

This quote suggests that Taylor Swift's established brand and marketing machine were significant factors in promoting 'Midnights' without her needing to engage extensively with the audience.

Cultural Impact of "Midnights"

  • "Midnights" is not considered a career-defining highlight for Taylor Swift.
  • Other albums by Taylor Swift, such as "Fearless," "1989," and "folklore," are seen as having a greater impact and recognition.
  • "Midnights" lacks the unique qualities that made other albums stand out.
  • The album doesn't offer a career-defining song that is immediately clear or debatable, unlike her previous works.

"I really don't think that it can stand on its own so my main point about the cultural impact of midnights is that no one in their right mind would ever honestly look back on this body of work unless you were emotionally personally attached to it."

This quote emphasizes the speaker's opinion that "Midnights" lacks the standalone cultural impact and significance that Taylor Swift's other albums have had. It is suggested that the album would only be revisited by those with a personal emotional attachment to it.

Artistic Excellence of Taylor Swift

  • Taylor Swift's songwriting skill is highlighted as her greatest asset.
  • A distinction is made between diaristic and confessional songwriting.
  • Diaristic songwriting is candid and personal, while confessional songwriting adds performance, vulnerability, and skill.
  • Taylor Swift's ability to write in a manner that is both personal and universally relatable is praised.

"Taylor Swift's greatest skill set aside from being an excellent saleswoman is her diaristic confessional and melodic pop songwriting."

This quote outlines the speaker's view that Taylor Swift's greatest strength is her unique style of songwriting that combines personal storytelling with universal appeal, making her stand out in the pop music industry.

Comparison of "All Too Well" and "Anti-Hero"

  • "All Too Well" is described as a masterclass in songwriting, using present tense effectively to create intimacy.
  • "Anti-Hero" is seen as lacking the confessional depth and introspection present in "All Too Well."
  • The speaker criticizes "Anti-Hero" for being diaristic without providing insight or reflection.

"All to well is a masterclass in first person songwriting [...] anti-hero is really not a defining career hit despite being a really successful chart topper it's not sonically different from an artistic standpoint from anything that she's put out and it's self-conscious but it's not self-aware."

This quote contrasts "All Too Well" with "Anti-Hero," highlighting that while both songs are written from a first-person perspective, "All Too Well" succeeds in creating a deeper emotional connection, whereas "Anti-Hero" falls short in its self-conscious approach without true self-awareness.

Intentional Vagueness in "Midnights"

  • The speaker criticizes the intentional vagueness in the songwriting of "Midnights."
  • The album is seen as failing to deliver the confessional promise Taylor Swift is known for.
  • "Midnights" is said to lead listeners away from understanding the artist rather than bringing them closer.

"The lore does the heavy lifting here the songwriting is left intentionally vague we as the detectives are deployed to deliver meaning where there isn't any or the writer has not successfully communicated it well enough to identify it specifically leaving it up to endless interpretation."

This quote criticizes the songwriting in "Midnights" for being intentionally vague and leaving listeners to find meaning that may not be clearly communicated or present, which contrasts with the confessional clarity expected from Taylor Swift's previous works.

Disappointment in "Maroon"

  • "Maroon" is highlighted as a disappointment due to its evocative production but unclear narrative.
  • The song's lyrics are critiqued for not connecting the emotional journey or providing insight.
  • The chorus of "Maroon" is described as hypnotic but fails to offer a clear understanding of the song's message.

"But there is something very evocative here but what exactly Taylor is trying to evoke is very difficult to pin down given the rambling Pros the chronology of the song is very difficult to parse the jump from I chose you to I lost you is not connected by any visceral image."

The speaker expresses disappointment in "Maroon" for its inability to clearly convey the emotional story or journey, despite having evocative elements in its production. The critique focuses on the lack of clear narrative and the failure to connect emotionally resonant images in the song's lyrics.

Disintegration of Connection in "Maroon"

  • The song "Maroon" symbolizes the fading of passion, from a vibrant red to a muted color.
  • The chorus is unclear and does not provide definitive answers, leaving listeners with a sense of mystery.
  • The song's delivery and presentation are critiqued for not being conclusive.

"I really like here and kind of almost visually depicts the gradual disintegration of a connection however this is all kind of thrown off by the unclear refrain of this chorus."

This quote describes how the song attempts to portray the fading of a relationship but is undermined by an ambiguous chorus, leaving the listener without closure.

Confusion in "Midnights" Album

  • The album "Midnights" contains songs with confused messaging, lacking clarity.
  • Even dedicated fans find some songs, like "Question...?", to be nonsensical.
  • The incoherent rambling style of some tracks is noted, but the album lacks a unifying artistic statement.

"Many songs on midnights suffer the same confused fate including one of my favorite songs on the record question... this is truly incomprehensible nonsense incomprehensible even to the most Ardent of haers."

This quote expresses disappointment in the album's lack of coherent messaging, even among songs favored by the speaker.

Taylor Swift's Lack of Insight on "Midnights"

  • Taylor Swift has not provided insight into the creative process behind "Midnights."
  • Her silence is unusual compared to past albums where she offered explanations.
  • The lack of communication suggests the album may be a product of a hyperproductive phase rather than a carefully crafted artistic statement.

"It also doesn't help that Taylor has given us absolutely zero insight into the creative process for this album."

The speaker criticizes Taylor Swift for not sharing the meaning behind the album or her experiences while creating it, which is out of character based on her past practices.

Artistic Clarity in "Mastermind"

  • "Mastermind" is highlighted as a well-written song with a clear narrative.
  • The song explores themes of control and manipulation, with Taylor Swift reflecting on her tendency to orchestrate scenarios.
  • The bridge of "Mastermind" is praised for its self-reflection and revelation of Swift's vulnerabilities.

"I think that Mastermind straddles the balance very well between diaristic and confessional."

This quote praises "Mastermind" for achieving a balance between being personal and revealing, unlike other songs on the album.

Issues with Album's Song Selection and Messaging

  • The album's selection of songs is critiqued for not being curated with clear intent.
  • Taylor Swift's personal struggles during the album's creation may have led to its confused messaging.
  • The album's lack of clarity is seen as a missed opportunity for Swift to be honest with her audience.

"The fact that it had to be parsed away from the original track list reveals a lot to me about the canonical 13 songs they were not intended to be clear or understood nor was their selection particularly curated."

The speaker suggests that the exclusion of certain songs from the standard edition indicates a lack of intentionality in the album's composition.

"Would've, Could've, Should've" as a Lore-Informed Song

  • "Would've, Could've, Should've" is recognized for its clarity and relation to Swift's personal history.
  • The song reflects on past regrets and the impact of a specific relationship on Swift's life.
  • Its emotional depth and clarity contrast with the ambiguity present in other album tracks.

"Back to what have could have should have this is the best case scenario of a lore informed song."

This quote identifies "Would've, Could've, Should've" as a standout track that effectively conveys a clear and personal story.

Ambiguity in Other "Midnights" Tracks

  • The album contains songs with ambiguous meanings, leaving listeners questioning their intent.
  • Songs like "Sweet Nothing" and "Labyrinth" are noted for their unclear narratives.
  • The lack of clarity prevents a deeper understanding of the songs' meanings and connections to Swift's life.

"Other Perpetual Mysteries was Sweet Nothing a covert Breakup Song is it about Paul McCartney is karma a character-driven song or is she being dead serious is Labyrinth about a recent or a distant reconciliation we'll never know because it's not clear."

This quote exemplifies the confusion surrounding the meanings of various songs on the album, which prevents listeners from fully grasping their significance.

"You're on Your Own, Kid" and Taylor's Lore Building

  • "You're on Your Own, Kid" is discussed as a potential career highlight, reflecting Swift's journey.
  • The song is seen as a message to listeners rather than a confessional piece from Swift.
  • Its intent is to inspire and reassure, but its writing may not be strong enough to stand out as a highlight without the album's context.

"Some might point to your on your own kid as a career highlight."

This quote acknowledges the song's significance to fans but questions whether it is one of Swift's most notable works from a writing perspective.

Comparison with Other Albums

  • The album "Guts" by Olivia is contrasted with "Midnights," highlighting its clear voice, tone, and writing.
  • Taylor Swift's "Fearless" is defended against claims that youthfulness equates to a lack of excellence.
  • The speaker argues that not all of Swift's work is automatically excellent, despite her talent.

"People go sicko mode at me when I say that I think guts deserves over midnights but I really think that it does."

This quote compares "Midnights" to another album, suggesting that clear artistic statements are more deserving of accolades.

Taylor Swift's Hyperproductive Era

  • Taylor Swift's recent work is characterized by rapid creation and release, which suits her fictional material.
  • The autobiographical content of "Midnights" may have suffered due to a lack of forethought and editing.
  • The album's mixed messages risk further complicating Swift's narrative and lore.

"My point is that midnights does not play to tailor strengths nor do it introduce any new skills or cover any new territory."

The speaker argues that "Midnights" fails to showcase Swift's strengths or offer anything new to her discography, which detracts from its potential to be considered album of the year.

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