Raise your hand if you’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” on repeat since last Friday. Yep, that’s what I thought. I am definitely not the only one. In just three days, the Midnights album is already breaking records and capturing hearts.
I’ll admit, I jumped on the T. Swift bandwagon a little later in the game (“Folklore” was the album that sealed the deal for me.) But that’s the beauty of her music – Swifties and non-Swifties, teens and middle-age moms, 20-year-olds living the single life and new moms up at night nursing, whoever you are, the music speaks to all of us.
Women who suffered a miscarriage or pregnancy loss have said that the song “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” on the Midnights album resonated with them and gave a voice to the grief surrounding their loss (whether the song is about miscarriage is just speculation at this point).
“Anti-Hero” is anyone who has ever felt insecure about themselves at some point. Umm… all of us? (Though it should be noted that there has been backlash to the video for “Anti-Hero,” accusing it of being fatphobic.) “You’re On Your Own, Kid” is all those things we wish we could tell our younger selves.
Everything you lose is a step you take
To make the friendship raise,
let’s take the moment and taste it
You’ve got no reason to be afraid
You’re on your own, kid
Yeah, you can face this
You’re on your own, kid
You always have been
Even the “Midnights” album name—named after various sleepless nights in Swift’s life—feels like all of us. Of course, most of us are fretting or consoling a crying baby at 12 a.m., not writing a record-breaking album.
“We lie awake in love and in fear, in turmoil and in tears,” she wrote on Twitter when she announced the album’s release in August. “We stare at walls and drink until they speak back. We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren’t—right at 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. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching-hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve…we’ll meet ourselves.”
Part of the reason Taylor Swift resonates with so many of us is her willingness to evolve and lean in to who she is, her past, her present, the world around her, and even the world’s perception of her.
“’Midnights’ oozes with ambivalence, not just about the sorts of starry-eyed, fairy-tale endings Swift’s earlier songs used to dream of, but also about the expectations and traditional timelines of adulthood writ large,” music critic Lindsay Zoladz wrote in The New York Times.
I think part of the reason Taylor Swift resonates with so many of us, regardless of our stage in life, is her willingness to embrace the complexities of being a woman in today’s world. We are powerful and caring, nostalgic and hopeful, fierce and vulnerable—with the occasional bout of red hot rage and a quest for revenge. She puts all of these complicated and undecipherable feelings into words, along with some killer beats and unforgettable hooks.
Related: To the women who made me who I am
Taylor Swift’s music—whether it is the “Midnights” album or her earlier music like “Red” or “1989”—is who we are and who we were, who want to be and who we wish we could be. This is the beauty of good music. It connects us. My 15-year-old niece and I have been texting about our favorite songs. Strangers on the internet are chatting with each other about lyrics and potential easter eggs. Swifties, non-Swifties, new moms, grandmas, tweens, middle-age women all find something to love in Taylor Swift’s music. It resonates with us for different reasons and in different ways.
That’s because Taylor Swift is all of us.