Taylor Swift's Midnights: Album Deep Dive🕯✨ Analysis and thoughts from an OG Swiftie

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI

Summary Notes


Ali, the host of Back Channel, delves into Taylor Swift's album "Midnights," highlighting its significance for fans and Swift's ingenious timing—releasing it on her 12,000th day of life. She touches on the intimate connection fans have with Swift's music, noting the album's Easter eggs and Swift's reflective songwriting, which revisits past experiences with a fresh perspective. Ali also discusses the impossibility of ranking the album so soon after its release, due to its evolving impact on her. Throughout the episode, she shares her personal journey with anxiety, the value of Taylor's music in her life, and her excitement for dissecting the album's intricate details, including the fan theory about the term "sexy baby" and its societal implications.

Summary Notes

Sexy Baby Reference

  • Ali explains the term "sexy baby" relates to the character Jacob from the Twilight series falling in love with Renesmee.
  • It's described as a "wolf thing," referring to Jacob's werewolf nature.

"Everyone asking what the term sexy baby means, it actually refers to Jacob falling in love with Renesmee, it's a wolf thing."

The quote clarifies the origin of the term "sexy baby," linking it to a supernatural love story from the Twilight saga.

Midnights by Taylor Swift

  • Ali discusses the album "Midnights" by Taylor Swift, expressing an inability to update their Taylor Swift album ranking so soon after its release.
  • The album's release timing coincides with Taylor Swift's 12,000th day of life, which Ali finds particularly noteworthy and clever.
  • Ali appreciates the comments from their last two videos and shares their personal connection to Taylor Swift's music.

"A lot of you guys have asked me to update my Taylor Swift ranking video... it is barely a month since the album came out and that is simply not enough time for me to judge it."

This quote expresses Ali's hesitation to prematurely rank Taylor Swift's "Midnights" album, indicating a need for more time to form a fair opinion.

Personal Connection to Taylor Swift's Music

  • Ali shares their emotional connection to Taylor Swift's music, which has been a constant since childhood.
  • They highlight the significance of hosting a listening party for UMG and the support received from viewers.
  • Ali opens up about struggling with anxiety and the importance of not allowing it to hinder their dreams.

"Taylor's music has literally been a concert in my life since I was a child since 2006 and to get to be with people that feel that same way and celebrate music that same way, I can't talk about it."

The quote reveals Ali's deep emotional bond with Taylor Swift's music and how it has been a significant part of their life.

Album Analysis: Midnights

  • Ali believes "Midnights" is an album for the fans, filled with Easter eggs and references that dedicated fans would appreciate.
  • The songs are not old vault tracks but fresh perspectives on past experiences.
  • Ali emphasizes Taylor Swift's ability to reflect on her life and articulate it in a way that resonates with listeners.

"Midnight is really an album for the fans... in terms of appreciating the little things in these songs, it's things that fans would pick up on."

This quote suggests that "Midnights" contains nuanced details that are particularly meaningful to Taylor Swift's fanbase.

Lavender Haze

  • Ali reacts to the song "Lavender Haze," noting the excitement of hearing it's a pop album.
  • They discuss the song's reference to a 1950s phrase learned from "Mad Men" and how it challenges the Madonna complex.
  • Ali interprets the song as a commentary on the societal expectation that women cannot be both respectable and sexual.

"I love the little flip of the script where she names this song after a 1950s phrase that she learned from Mad Men and then the lyrics is like all that 1950s [__] they want from me, not no deal."

The quote discusses the song "Lavender Haze" and its challenge to outdated societal norms regarding women's roles and sexuality.


  • Ali analyzes the song "Maroon" and its exploration of complex emotions from Taylor Swift's "Red" era.
  • The song reflects a more mature perspective on love, moving away from black-and-white views to embracing the in-between moments.
  • Ali appreciates the song's lyrical depth and the ability to reflect on past relationships in a healthy way.

"Maroon, if I reflect back on my predictions video, might be the only song that I kind of correctly guess the theme."

This quote captures Ali's insight into the thematic elements of "Maroon" and how it aligns with their initial predictions about the song.


  • Ali praises "Anti-Hero" for its vulnerable writing and Taylor Swift's vocal performance.
  • They interpret the song as expressing insecurities in both romantic and fan relationships.
  • The song is seen as addressing fears of being perceived as manipulative and the potential abandonment by fans or a romantic partner.

"I fear about her waking up and realizing that we've left. I think that can both apply to her love but also her fans like the other biggest love of her life."

The quote reflects on the dual interpretation of "Anti-Hero," highlighting Taylor Swift's concerns about her image and the potential loss of support from both her partner and fans.

Taylor Swift's Media Treatment and Songwriting

  • Taylor Swift's media portrayal in the 2010s heavily influenced public perception and jokes about her personal life.
  • The song discussed reflects Swift's response to the media's narrative that she's the problem in her relationships.
  • Swift's lyricism in recent songs shows self-awareness and takes ownership of her role in past relationships, but also highlights unfair criticism.

"every single media publication thought it was the funniest joke of all time to be like hey has Taylor Swift thought of writing a song where she says I'm the problem actually that was every single dude bro and internalized misogynistic girls fan favorite meme to reference being like why doesn't Taylor realize that maybe she's the problem actually and now she's given you exactly that."

This quote explains the context behind Taylor Swift's songwriting, addressing the media and public's mockery of her for not acknowledging her faults in relationships. Swift turns the criticism around by writing a song that does just that, yet still faces backlash.

Societal Expectations of Women: The "Sexy Baby" Concept

  • The term "sexy baby" encapsulates societal expectations for women to simultaneously embody sexiness and childlike innocence.
  • The pressure to conform to these standards is criticized for being unrealistic and harmful to women's self-perception and autonomy.
  • Taylor Swift's lyrics express the struggle of feeling too "big" or out of place, both physically and in terms of celebrity status.

"Society puts a lot of pressure on us to act a certain way. TGs is a safe place so you can drop the sexy baby act and lose the pigtail and that voice."

The quote highlights the pressure women face to conform to certain behaviors and appearances to be considered desirable. It suggests that women are often expected to perform a certain role, which can be exhausting and inauthentic.

The Burden of Fame

  • Fame can lead to a loss of privacy and the inability to have normal experiences, as illustrated by Taylor Swift's experiences.
  • Despite the privileges of wealth and fame, the isolation and loneliness that can accompany them are emphasized as significant downsides.
  • Swift's vulnerability in her music is appreciated for shedding light on these challenges.

"I cannot even imagine how awful it would be to be famous at all but especially at her level where you can't just like live your day-to-day life the lack of privacy and in a ability to live regular experiences like you said in her honorary you know New York graduation speech she can't have regular people experiences like she didn't get to go to college or have these experiences that a lot of us regular people get to do because she's too big."

This quote reflects on the difficulties of living a normal life when one is extremely famous. It points out that despite the glamour associated with fame, there are significant drawbacks, such as the inability to partake in everyday activities without public scrutiny.

Taylor Swift's Reputation and Symbolism

  • The use of snake imagery in Taylor Swift's work is a direct response to being labeled as a snake on social media.
  • Swift's ability to reclaim and transform negative symbolism into empowerment is noted.
  • The discussion includes the impact of social media bullying and how it can be turned into a source of strength.

"You might be wondering why are there so many snakes everywhere. huh uh well the reason is that uh a couple of years ago someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on and then a lot of people social media."

This quote explains the origin of the snake imagery associated with Taylor Swift, which began as an insult on social media but was embraced and redefined by Swift as a symbol of resilience.

Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey Collaboration

  • The collaboration between Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey on "Snow on the Beach" is discussed, with the speaker expressing admiration for the song despite mixed public reception.
  • The speaker appreciates the lyricism and references to stars and celestial imagery in Swift's music.
  • There is a desire for more collaboration between the two artists, and the speaker plans to explore more of Lana Del Rey's music.

"I've never listened to Lana Del Rey this was my first introduction to her. and I am impressed I know we heard for like literally 0.2 of a second. but what I did get I really enjoyed."

This quote reveals the speaker's initial exposure to Lana Del Rey through the collaboration with Taylor Swift. The speaker expresses a positive impression, despite the brief feature, and shows interest in exploring more of Del Rey's work.

Self-Reflection and Growth in "You're on Your Own, Kid"

  • "You're on Your Own, Kid" is analyzed as a song where Taylor Swift addresses her younger self, reflecting on her journey and growth.
  • The lyrics trace Swift's career from her beginnings to the challenges she faced and overcame.
  • The song's bridge is highlighted for encapsulating Swift's career progression and her struggles with public scrutiny and personal insecurities.

"You're on your own kid you're always happy I swear to God I hate whoever made that Tick Tock that transitions from that into our song is a slum screen door because that is now all I hear when I'm at that part of the song and it won't get out of my brain."

This quote discusses a specific lyric from "You're on Your Own, Kid" that emphasizes self-reliance and growth. The mention of a TikTok video suggests the pervasive influence of social media on the perception of music.

Perception of Body Image and Self-Worth

  • Ali discusses the idea that there is no perfect body size and that one should not feel the need to complain about their body size.
  • The discussion reflects on societal pressure regarding body image and the importance of self-acceptance.

"She should be and if she is that size she can't complain because there is no perfect size to be anyway that's my two cents."

The quote is Ali expressing an opinion on body image, emphasizing that there is no standard for a perfect body size and implying that self-acceptance is more important than societal expectations.

Taylor Swift's Reputation Era

  • Ali interprets a line from a song as encapsulating the essence of Taylor Swift's "Reputation" era.
  • The line suggests a narrative of taking control, ending a relationship, and facing public scrutiny.

"I took the money is very much I put the money in the bag and I stole the keys that was the last time you ever saw me that was the last time the jokes weren't funny."

This quote is Ali analyzing a song lyric that they feel represents Taylor Swift's actions and experiences during the "Reputation" era, highlighting themes of empowerment and finality in a relationship.

Taylor Swift's Songwriting and Personal Growth

  • Ali draws parallels between Taylor Swift's experiences and the character Carrie from the film "Carrie."
  • The comparison is made between Carrie's outcast status and eventual empowerment to Taylor Swift's public challenges and personal strength.

"Carrie was very much an outcast she was you know called different and isolated from her peers and people made fun of her and that was solely because people thought she was weird while her powers were what made her different and an outcast they were also what made her strong which I think is the same for Taylor."

Ali is comparing Taylor Swift's experiences of feeling like an outcast to the character Carrie's journey, suggesting that both found strength in what made them unique.

The Concept of Ownership and Legacy

  • Ali reflects on the idea of owning one's work and memories, which cannot be taken away.
  • The discussion touches on the lasting impact and relationships Taylor Swift has built throughout her career.

"I saw something they can't take away it's like a her work she wrote all these songs and she can do them again she's gonna own them eventually because they can't take that away that's her ownership it's her memories it's her it's her."

The quote is Ali's interpretation of a song lyric, emphasizing the permanence of Taylor Swift's creative work and personal experiences despite external challenges.

The Impermanence of Friendships

  • Ali resonates with the theme of evolving friendships and the importance of self-reliance.
  • The discussion highlights the emotional impact of changes in friendships and the message of self-sufficiency.

"For me you're on your own kid hit particularly hard not because I've experienced I mean anywhere near the kind of stress or isolation that she has but it hit for me as someone that has always really centered friendships and female friendships in my life."

Ali is sharing a personal connection to a song lyric, discussing the relatability of the theme of changing friendships and the realization of being on one's own.

Taylor Swift's Songwriting and Storytelling

  • Ali discusses Taylor Swift's ability to draw from various periods of her life in her songwriting.
  • The analysis includes interpretations of specific lyrics and their possible references to past relationships and aspirations.

"But I realized some bigger dreams of mine from 15 as a 15 Stan that just blew my mind instantly that parallel that is all I can think about when I hear that line."

Ali is expressing excitement about a lyrical parallel between a new song and an older song ("15"), highlighting Taylor Swift's growth and changing aspirations over time.

References to Past Works and Artistic Evolution

  • Ali appreciates the intertextual references in Taylor Swift's songs to her past work.
  • The discussion acknowledges the evolution of Taylor Swift's artistry and the thematic connections between her songs.

"I really love that this song sounds like two very distinct different voices because that's what the whole song is about two people wanting two very distinct different things."

Ali is commenting on the duality present in a song, appreciating the artistic choice to represent two different perspectives through the music and lyrics.

Relatability and Closure in Relationships

  • Ali finds a song relatable for its depiction of seeking closure in relationships.
  • The discussion touches on the universal experience of wanting answers after a relationship ends.

"This song to me is one of the most relatable because how many relationships or situationships have you had that just didn't give you any closure and you're like man I don't like care about this person or want them necessarily in my life anymore."

Ali is connecting with the theme of seeking closure after a relationship, emphasizing the song's relatability to many people's experiences.

Commentary on Fame and Media Perception

  • Ali discusses the themes of fame, media perception, and personal agency in Taylor Swift's songs.
  • The analysis includes reflections on how Taylor Swift has been portrayed in the media and her responses through music.

"But I particularly love the bridge ladies always rise above ladies know what people want someone's sweet and kind and fun."

Ali is highlighting a song lyric that challenges societal expectations of women, particularly in the context of fame and media scrutiny, and praises the empowering message in the bridge of the song.

Intertextuality and Sampling in Music

  • Ali expresses admiration for Taylor Swift's use of sampling and references to her own songs within new music.
  • The discussion celebrates the creative ways Taylor Swift connects different pieces of her discography.

"June I need her to sample her own songs more often because her putting the I remember in the beginning of this song is one of the best things she's ever done for me personally."

Ali is expressing personal appreciation for Taylor Swift's sampling of her own songs, highlighting the artistic value and personal significance of such intertextual references.

Easter Egg in "Bejeweled" Music Video

  • The "Bejeweled" music video hinted at Taylor Swift's performance of "Exile" with Bon Iver.
  • The timepiece indicating "Exile ends" could symbolize the end of the folklore and Evermore era and Swift's return to pop.
  • Fans speculate and interpret the Easter eggs in Swift's music videos.

"The fact that in the Bejeweled music video it said Exile ends on the little timepiece could have been a hint that she was about to perform Exile with Bon Iver."

This quote discusses the potential clue in the "Bejeweled" music video that foreshadowed a performance and also symbolizes a shift in Taylor Swift's musical direction.

Jack Antonoff's Influence

  • The song shows a clear influence from producer Jack Antonoff, known for his work with the band Bleachers.
  • The lyrics reference being "graded on a curve," connecting to a previous song "this is me trying."

"This song definitely has the most obvious bleachers Jack Antonoff influence like you can really really hear him on this track."

The quote highlights Jack Antonoff's distinctive musical style present in the song, indicating his significant role in its production.

Themes of Self-Love and Growth

  • The lyrics express a journey of self-love and reclaiming one's individuality.
  • There is a comparison to past lyrics, showing growth from seeking validation to self-empowerment.
  • The song is described as a "self-love feel-good song."

"I mean this is just the most self-love feel good song of all time."

This quote emphasizes the song's theme as a celebration of self-love and personal growth.

Easter Eggs and Music Video Speculation

  • The music video for "Bejeweled" contains Easter eggs that fans enjoy deciphering.
  • There is speculation about the potential release of "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)."

"I'm sure everyone has already debunked all the Easter eggs but if not there are great videos out there."

The quote suggests that fans have likely analyzed the music video for hidden messages and clues about future releases.

"Labyrinth" and Comparison to "The Archer"

  • "Labyrinth" is compared to another Swift song, "The Archer," due to similarities in sound.
  • The song explores the fear of falling in love post-heartbreak.

"Again I don't know if it was deliberate but the degree that this sounds like The Archer is just undeniable."

This quote draws a parallel between "Labyrinth" and "The Archer," suggesting a deliberate or coincidental similarity in their musical composition.

Love and Heartbreak

  • "Labyrinth" captures the emotional complexity of falling in love after experiencing heartbreak.
  • The lyrics use elevator metaphors to describe the cautious approach to love.
  • The song reflects on a stable and lasting love, possibly referencing Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn.

"This song is about I guess the terror that you feel when falling in love with someone after a heartbreak."

The quote summarizes the central theme of "Labyrinth," which deals with the vulnerability and fear associated with new love following past heartbreak.

"Karma" and Its Layers of Meaning

  • "Karma" is interpreted as a song about taking the high road and trusting the universe to handle injustices.
  • The lyrics include clever wordplay and references to industry figures such as Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta.
  • The song is seen as a message of positivity and the belief that good actions lead to good outcomes.

"I just love the notion of taking the high road and trusting that everything will work out everything always comes out in the wash and I love that Taylor knows that."

This quote captures the essence of "Karma," which is about having faith in the natural balance of the universe and the eventual triumph of truth and justice.

Collaboration with Joe Alwyn

  • Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn (William Bowery) collaborated on a song together, showcasing their strong partnership.
  • The song's lyrics reflect their personal relationship and shared experiences.

"The fact that her and Joe made this song together is so beautiful."

The quote appreciates the personal and creative connection between Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn as reflected in their musical collaboration.

Imagery and Metaphors

  • Swift uses vivid imagery and metaphors in her lyrics to convey emotions and tell stories.
  • References to nursery rhymes and personal anecdotes add depth to her songs.
  • The lyrics often encapsulate Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn and their understanding of each other.

"The fact that her eye is tired is like well. yeah the world is exhausting."

This quote interprets a lyric from one of Swift's songs, suggesting that it reflects the weariness of dealing with life's challenges.

Vulnerability and Sensitivity

  • Swift's lyrics express feelings of vulnerability and the fear of exposure to criticism.
  • The songs resonate with listeners who share similar sensitivities.
  • The lyrics often reveal Swift's personal struggles with fame and public perception.

"Oh I'm just too soft for all of it."

The quote reflects Taylor Swift's admission of her own sensitivity, which is a recurring theme in her music and connects with fans who feel similarly.

"Mastermind" and Narrative Twists

  • "Mastermind" is discussed as a song that could have opened the album due to its storytelling elements.
  • The song revisits themes from "paper rings" and "invisible string," but with a twist revealing Swift's agency in her fate.
  • The lyrics are praised for their honesty and the portrayal of Swift's personality.

"The fact that she Begins by saying it was all by Design to then by the end it was all my design."

This quote highlights the clever narrative twist in "Mastermind," where Swift reveals her role in orchestrating her destiny, challenging the notion of fate.

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