Review: Taylor Swift’s “Midnights (3AM Edition)”

Midnights isn’t just an album, it’s an out of body experience that Taylor Swift was kind enough to grace us with just two weeks ago. As if it wasn’t already overwhelming enough, she has since released an extended edition dubbed Midnights (3am Edition) which features some of the greatest songs from her widespread career. This isn’t a simple, deluxe edition that so many artists release with tracks that merely fizzle and only serve to help streaming numbers. This is art of the highest caliber, with each track fully capable of earning their place on the main 13 track standard edition.

“The Great War” is the first of several songs produced by Aaron Dessner on this deluxe edition, and his presence carries a great deal of sonic weight to these tracks. Detailing a difficult turmoil in a relationship, the production is so gorgeously reminiscent of Swift’s previous album Evermore and is drenched in metaphorical bliss. The production choices from the military drum like breakdown to the reverbed background vocals on each pre-chorus are simply perfection. The way Taylor crafts the storyline throughout each subsequent chorus turns the message into a more hopeful one with the final chorus echoing that “I vowed I would always be yours ’cause we survived The Great War.”

“The Great War” by Taylor Swift

“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” is one of the most hauntingly gorgeous songs in Taylor’s vast catalogue. A song about a great loss of someone important to you that you wish you could’ve had more time with- the track’s lyrics are resonating with every listener in their own unique way. Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of the meaning- with some relating it to the loss of a child and others even relating it to the end of a relationship. That’s the beauty in the way that Taylor writes, crafting a song that is clearly painful for her own experience and making it vague enough for the world to make their own. In a track filled with gorgeous lyrics, the one that I find myself constantly going back to hits you right in the beginning: “no words appear before me in the aftermath, salt streams out my eyes and into my ears“.

“Bigger Than The Whole Sky” by Taylor Swift

Now I’m not going to lie, out of all 20 tracks- there has to be a least favorite and I am sorry to say that “Paris” has earned that title. I actually don’t dislike it at all, but I find it to be the least interesting one both sonically and lyrically. If you listen closely, you can hear the angry mobs approaching my house upon publishing this review. That being said, this song feels like falling in love and captures that wonderfully through its production. It feels like it would fit in perfectly on Lover– transcendent in its ability to transport you to that feeling of being in love within the City of Lights. Lines like “let the only flashing lights be the tower at midnight,” bring a great deal of depth to the track in her wish to keep this love private and away from the barrage of paparazzi and tabloid rumors that have always plagued her life. It’s a tragic image- and yet it brings with it the sigh of relief that Taylor feels now that she has found a love that gives her that peace.

“Paris” by Taylor Swift

“High Infidelity” is an absolute standout track, continuing Taylor’s in depth look at the nuances of cheating and infidelity that she has touched upon in songs like “August” and “Ivy” quite poignantly. Detailing the feeling of meeting someone who brings a sense of light and freedom back into your life that your current partner has somehow sucked out of you- the song is heartbreakingly gorgeous. The melody has to be one of Taylor’s finest in recent memory- instantly memorable and reminiscent of her and Dessner’s work on Folklore and Evermore. Some of these lyrics are absolutely illegal in their ability to hurt my soul, like “You know there’s many different ways that you can kill the one you love, The slowest way is never loving them enough. Do you really wanna know where I was April 29th? Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?” Taylor doesn’t pull any punches here- crafting a song that is somehow so full of emotion and yet depicts a relationship that has since turned cold. It’s simply gorgeous.

“High Infidelity” by Taylor Swift

Perhaps the most unique and unlike anything that has come prior to this point in her career is “Glitch” which finds Taylor in what she refers to as a “glitch”- a relationship that never should’ve become anything more than a friendship. Sonically, it has remnants of the dark pop found on Lorde’s Melodrama and pieces of Beyoncé’s R&B delivery that all add up to make a rather weird and wonderful song. “I was supposed to sweat you out,” she sings on the second verse, comparing the beginnings of their relationship to the intensity of sweating out a fever. Frankly, the way she jumps the octave and goes into that second chorus is pure heaven and absolutely makes the song for me. It’s fun, it’s experimental and it will likely go down as one of the most underrated songs on this record.

“Glitch” by Taylor Swift

“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” is one of the finest songs on this record- perhaps of the entire year. It’s a chilling story about the toll of an adult man taking a young girl’s innocence away from her. I can’t get through this song without having chills all over my body and that perhaps all comes down to the fact that this is a memory that continues to keep Taylor up at night after all of these years. Through every experience she has faced since this encounter at 19-years-old, she has gotten perspective on the situation and now regrets it- using religious overtones to describe her youth and the ways in which that was taken from her. The entire song is perfect, but it really doesn’t get much better than the song’s bridge and outro- with Swift singing “God rest my soul, I miss who I used to be, The tomb won’t close, Stained glass windows in my mind, I regret you all the time. I can’t let this go, I fight with you in my sleep, The wound won’t close, I keep on waiting for a sign, I regret you all the time“.

“Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” by Taylor Swift

The album closer, “Dear Reader” finds Taylor attempting to give the listeners (or readers) advice and then telling us all to take it with a grain of salt- as she herself is falling apart. It reads like a diary entry and feels like this is the closest look we get at her current mindset on the entire record. Bringing back the synth found on the standard edition and the vocal effects used on songs like “Midnight Rain”, this track is a perfect choice to close out this record. “So I wander through these nights, I prefer hiding in plain sight, My fourth drink in my hand, These desperate prayers of a cursed man, Spilling out to you for free, But darling, darling, please, You wouldn’t take my word for it if you knew who was talking, If you knew where I was walking, To a house, not a home, all alone cause nobody’s there, Where I pace in my pen and my friends found friends who care, No one sees when you lose when you’re playing solitaire,” she warns us that we wouldn’t look up to her if we knew what her life was really like. In the end, she closes the album by repeating the lines “You should find another guiding light, but I shine so bright”– telling us that we should all look to someone else but recognizing that no matter what she says, she won’t be able to escape the attention.

“Dear Reader” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has truly delivered again- crafting another seven standout tracks that give another, nuanced look at the painful (and sometimes beautiful) thoughts that keep her up at night. She isn’t alone in that feeling, it’s universal. It’s what connects everyone in the world, and yet it’s also what can make us all feel so alone. Thankfully, we have Midnights to keep us company on all of these nights going forward.

Midnights (3am Edition) is out on all streaming services now!

Review: Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”

“Midnights” by Taylor Swift is out now!

Ask me why so many fade, but I’m still here“- Taylor Swift on “Karma”

Midnights is a gritty New York City night, filled with lonely dance floors, glitter eye shadow, shots of patron, and a tinge of self-loathing. It’s a shimmering mirror ball sparkling above your head as you mourn the innocence that was once yours. It’s that perfect night in with the one you love when you realize that this is all you could ever wish for in this life. And most notably, it’s Taylor Swift’s finest album to date.

Taylor Swift has dominated the charts and all of our hearts since her debut album was first released in 2006, winning countless awards and breaking records with every consecutive release- and yet she somehow still remains underrated. A chameleon in her craft, she effortlessly subverts expectations of genre and dominates every single one of her peers with her immaculate songwriting. It can’t be appreciated enough just how insane it is for an artist of her caliber to still be at the top this deep into her career.

Taylor Swift’s songwriting prowess sets her apart from every single one of her peers

The collaboration between Swift and longtime friend and producer Jack Antonoff is literal heaven- shifting the nuanced storytelling of folklore and evermore, into this synth-pop dreamscape that carries the torch gorgeously from the two previous folk influenced records. A concept album, Midnights is a collection of confessional stories influenced by sleepless nights that take us on a journey through self-criticism, falling in love, the wondering of what could have been, and the feeling of falling apart. It’s songwriting of the highest degree- so let’s break it all down!

Taylor Swift cements herself as the quintessential songwriter of the next generation

Opening track “Lavender Haze” is a groovy introduction to the new soundscape, synth heavy with a tinge of R&B which builds beautifully into a chorus that is the textbook definition of pop perfection. Taylor’s falsetto is mighty refined- layered masterfully with the stellar production and euphoric sensation of its melodies. “I feel the lavender haze creeping up on me, Surreal, I’m damned if I do give a damn what people say. No deal, the 1950s shit they want from me, I just wanna stay in that lavender haze,” she wants to focus on the passion of the love between her and longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn so they can put aside the pressures that society and the media puts on their relationship. Taylor once again succeeds in making a song personal to her own situation while also targeting the societal pressure and hypocritical expectations that women are often persecuted with compared to their male peers.

“Lavender Haze” by Taylor Swift

“Maroon” transports you into a trance like state with a melodic flow so gorgeous that it’ll stay with you long after the first listen. Like a more mature sequel to “Red” which described the all-encompassing emotions associated with the color red- love, anger, etc- “Maroon” isn’t quite as straightforward. It’s a more mature look at love and just like the color maroon- it isn’t just one thing. The complexities of the relationship are given to us in the tiniest of details that make the track so cinematic. “When you splashed your wine into me, and how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet it was, the mark they saw on my collarbone, the rust that grew between telephones, the lips I used to call home, so scarlet it was maroon,” the chorus feels so classic, as if it has simply existed for the last 30+ years. It’s so damn good.

“Maroon” by Taylor Swift

In pure Taylor fashion, “Anti-Hero” addresses her self-criticisms and self-hatred in a tongue in cheek manner. Sonically, it’s bright and shiny but when you break down the lyrics- it might be one of the saddest songs on this record. “I’ll stare directly at the sun, but never in the mirror. It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero,” Taylor is at her most vulnerable here, laying out all of the qualities she hates most about herself and stating that she would understand if those who support her grew tired of doing so when she continues to make the wrong decisions. It’s heartbreakingly raw and quite a poignant moment to think on the fact that the biggest singer in the world suffers from the same negative thoughts as we do- and it’s ultimately what makes Taylor the best in the game.

“Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift

The long-awaited collaboration between Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey has finally graced our ears and it is absolute perfection. “Snow On The Beach” is the epitome of two artists at the top of their game making a masterclass in songwriting. Comparing the feeling of having the person you’re in love with falling in love with you as well to snow falling on the beach is a gorgeous sentiment about the rarity of their relationship. Their voices blend together like they’ve always been one, with one of the most gorgeous melodies I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. “And it’s like snow at the beach, weird, but fucking beautiful, flying in a dream, stars by the pocketful, you wanting me, tonight feels impossible, but it’s coming down, no sound, it’s all around,” the chorus is so hauntingly beautiful that I’ll overlook the fact that Lana never gets a verse to herself.

“Snow On The Beach” by Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” is track five which unless you’re living under a rock in the Taylor Swift Extended Universe, means it is the most emotional track on the album- but this one hits a bit differently than previous ones. By the time we hit the bridge, there’s a sense of positivity- an ascension out of the darkest moments when she reminds us that we’ve all always been on our own and even if we never noticed it, we’ve always been brave. It’s the warmest of hugs in the moment you needed it most and as Taylor says on the track “Everything you lose is a step you take“.

“You’re On Your Own, Kid” by Taylor Swift

“Midnight Rain” was an instant favorite for me from the moment the pitched down vocals hit. It’s sonically one of the most experimental moments on the record and Swift’s cinematic storytelling is front and center. Telling the story of an old love that would have wanted to be her husband, she saw a different path for her story and decided to pursue her career. “He wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain, he wanted a bride, I was making my own name, chasing that fame, he stayed the same, all of me changed like midnight,” Jack Antonoff’s production choices are spectacular here, with the vocal effects placed on the breakdown of the chorus- highlighting the depth of the storytelling and giving it a dream like sensation. This is immaculate pop music.

“Midnight Rain” by Taylor Swift

Continuing the cinematic feel of the album, “Question…?” left me with an entire movie scene playing out in my mind. Her ability to tell a rich story in 3 and a half minutes is simply astounding as her mind races through a specific memory of a relationship that is no more. Like many of us, she goes over the questions that race in her mind and wishes she could ask that one person all that keeps her up at night. It feels like a late-night conversation underneath the stars as she sings “We had one thing goin’ on, I swear that it was somethin’, cause I don’t remember who I was before you painted all my nights, a color I’ve searched for since“.

“Question…?” by Taylor Swift

Taylor sets her eyes on revenge with “Vigilante Shit” another track that shifts gears into a completely different place sonically with a sultry, dark pop production that would have fit perfectly on her 2017 album Reputation. While it is nowhere near my favorite track on this record, I can definitely foresee it becoming a song that will rise up in my ranking with time. Some of the lyrics are so pointedly fantastic, I can also foresee them becoming a part of the culture which Swift is no stranger to (ex: “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22” anyone?!”).

“Vigilante Shit” by Taylor Swift

Speaking of pop perfection, she gifts us “Bejeweled”- a sparkly, video game like banger about being undervalued by your partner. The confidence she exudes on this track is absolutely contagious, both empowering and danceable with a production that actually sounds like sparkling (I know how it sounds but just go with it, okay?). “Familiarity breeds contempt, so put me in the basement, when I want the penthouse of your heart, diamonds in my eyes, I polish up real nice,” she sings on the chorus- reminding us all of her pen game. How does she expect us to focus on the lines that follow when she writes like this??? One also cannot talk about this song without giving “And I miss you, but I miss sparkling” the love and attention it deserves.

“Bejeweled” by Taylor Swift

“Labyrinth” is another trance like track that just leaves you mesmerized in place, or one might say- right where you left me? * wink, wink*. The track is about falling in love again not long after a heartbreak, and you’d be correct to assume that it’s a stunner. Sonically, the way it builds throughout the song is simply gorgeous in the best Antonoff-ian fashion. Exploring the true nature of how terrifying falling love can be, Taylor unpacks that emotional baggage and leans into the love. Letting yourself fall in love is a beautiful thing- creating a legacy that can last an entire lifetime, which ultimately outweighs the fear that once kept you in place. “I thought the plane was goin’ down, how’d you turn it right around,” she sings on the hook in her lowest tone which is just…… *chefs kiss*.

“Labyrinth” by Taylor Swift

Okay, okay, okay- let’s just get this straight. “Karma” really is THAT song, okay? Featuring some of the most playful lyrics that Taylor has ever written- the track explores the fact that karma really has been a friend to her throughout her life and career. Unfortunately, Taylor has faced a lot of backlash over the years and warranted or not, she’s always come out on top. “Cause Karma is my boyfriend, karma is a God, karma is the breeze in my hair on the weekend, karma’s a relaxing thought, Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not? Sweet like honey, karma is a cat, purring in my lap ’cause it loves me, flexing like a goddamn acrobat, me and karma vibe like that,” the chorus is instantly iconic and if you disagree, I feel extremely sorry for you. I hope Karma treats you well.

“Karma” by Taylor Swift

Joined by her collaborator in both life and now music, Joe Alwyn, Taylor gives us “Sweet Nothing” which is the embodiment of what true serenity sounds like. A simple, stripped back track, it represents a love that is both mature and healthy. Following Taylor is like watching your favorite character develop beautifully on your favorite television show- filled with full circle plot developments and a love that they deserve. It’s a pleasure to have watched her find the kind of love she had often wished for when she was 17 years old and it’s clear that his presence in her life has given her a security that the loves she used to write about clearly lacked. This track feels like a gorgeous followup to folklore‘s “peace” which was about her anxiety surrounding their relationship and if what she brings to it is enough to make him stay even in the moments filled with turbulence. “Outside, they’re push and shovin’, You’re in the kitchen hummin’, All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothin’,” she sings on the chorus- self-assuredly answering her previous questions that she will always be enough for him. God I am so single.

“Sweet Nothing” by Taylor Swift

The final track on this standard edition, “Mastermind” is a how to guide on how to get the man of your dreams. Just kidding….. But anyways, it is how Miss Tay landed her longtime boyfriend. What she once said was purely accidental was, in fact, a scheme she had hatched to land him and with a major degree of trust in her relationship- she reveals this to him after all of these years. “I laid the groundwork, and then, just like clockwork, the dominoes cascaded in a line, what if I told you I’m a mastermind? And now you’re mine, it was all my design, ’cause I’m a mastermind,” she reminds us that there is nothing wrong with being proactive in your life- taking the wheel and going after what will bring you happiness. Her ability to understand the origin of her motivation is astounding, bringing an unforeseen depth to the lyrics in the bridge when she sings that “no one wanted to play with me as a little kid, so I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since.”

“Mastermind” by Taylor Swift

Midnights is triumphant in its blend of pop centric synth and the nuanced storytelling of Taylor Swift’s previous 2 albums- making for a first listen so pleasurable that you’ll be sure to instantly restart it all over again from the beginning. Like all of her best records, Swift is effortlessly relatable with her self deprecative tone and inane ability to craft perfect melodies. The record itself feels like a culmination of her journey, taking in the best qualities from all of her previous albums and crafting an album with a masterful level of freshness as it makes its way through unexplored facets of the human experience.

Just hours after the album’s release, Swift dropped 7 more tracks on the deluxe edition titled Midnights (3.AM Edition) which are simply illegal and require their own exploration in the days to come. Stay tuned for my breakdown of the deluxe tracks in the next few days!

I’ve also ranked the songs on this Standard Edition over on my Instagram so come say hey and let me know what your favorite Midnights tracks are too!

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The Magic of Taylor Swift’s “folklore”

“folklore” by Taylor Swift

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since we followed the golden string into the folklorian woods created by Taylor Swift and had our lives forever changed. Like Narnia and Wonderland before it, the world crafted gorgeously by Taylor passed down stories of loves lost, introspection and hopes of what’s to come. It’s been a magical 2 years and the stories told here still hold the same weight- and that’s why I’d like to deep dive this phenomenal album’s best lyrics and production choices.

Swift’s collaboration with Jack Antonoff and The National’s Aaron Dessner all came about amidst the start of Covid, with every song being written, produced and recorded within the span of a few months. The low stakes process of making the album is perhaps what made it feel so special- lacking any pressure of her record label or expectations of charting. This was music made for the sake of writing- at times painful, cathartic, and exactly what was needed to survive in that insane moment.

The album’s first track “the 1” perfectly sets the tone for what’s to come on the record, describing a love that got away with a production that automatically felt like a change of pace for the singer who had previously released her pop centric album Lover less than a year before this. “And if my wishes came true, it would’ve been you,” the speaker thinks to herself on the chorus of a love that is no longer in her life. It’s heartbreakingly relatable, trying to seem as if she’s moved on and yet still thinking of them to the point of believing she sees them in the places she goes. The line that still haunts me with every listen comes in the bridge when she ponders to herself that “I persist and resist the temptation to ask you, if one thing had been different, would everything be different today?

“the 1” by Taylor Swift

The album’s lead single “cardigan” is a standout among Taylor’s tremendous career, perhaps one of the best songs she has ever written. The first song in the “teenage love triangle” trilogy featured on folklore, “cardigan” is from the perspective of the character Betty looking back on her past with her partner James who put her through a lot when they were younger. “But I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss, I knew you’d haunt all of my what ifs, the smell of smoke would hang around this long, cause I knew everything when I was young. I knew I’d curse you for the longest time, chasing shadows in the grocery line, I knew you’d miss me once the thrill expired, and you’d be standing in my front porch light, and I knew you’d come back to me,” she sings on the third verse. Everything from the lyrics to the instrumentation and the way Swift sings the track is absolute perfection and Dessner’s production is some of the finest I’ve heard in recent memory.

“cardigan” by Taylor Swift

“my tears ricochet” is one of only a few songs on the album that have a personal stake in its story rather than the fictional tales Taylor had written with the other tracks. Her vocal delivery has an edge to it here, a clear-cut message for the man who many believe to have inspired the track- Scott Borchetta who sold Swift’s masters without her permission to Scooter Braun. Like all of the best songs on this record, it’s not merely about one thing- with Taylor’s skillful writing making it connect to her own life while leaving it broad enough for its listeners to find relatable as well. “And I can go anywhere I want, anywhere I want, just not home. And you can aim for my heart, go for blood, but you would still miss me in your bones. And I still talk to you when I’m screaming at the sky, and when you can’t sleep at night- you hear my stolen lullabies,” the swell of the production continues to build through the bridge before reaching its peak in the final chorus. There’s a rage beneath the song’s seams that only a true betrayal can trigger and it’s that emotion that leaves me in its wake every single time I listen to it.

“my tears ricochet” by Taylor Swift

One of my all-time favorite Taylor songs and my personal favorite from this record has to be “august”, which is the second part of the “teenage love triangle” trilogy- this time told from the perspective of a girl named Augustine who James spent a summer with instead of with Betty. If Augustine had been written by the wrong hands, she could have been merely made into a trope of the “other woman”, but with Swift as her writer, she is instead fleshed out and understood. It’s made clear that she thought this love was real and not just a summer love, which makes the listener empathize with her even more so when James goes back to Betty in the end. Here, the production is light and summery to match the summer love that James and Augustine shared and instantly feels classic. “But I can see us lost in the memory, August slipped away into a moment in time, cause it was never mine. And I can see us twisted in bedsheets, August sipped away like a bottle of wine, cause you were never mine,” she continues to break our hearts with that chorus.

“august” by Taylor Swift

If we’re talking about songs that stay with you long after the first listen, we need to mention “this is me trying” which really showcases Taylor’s ability to capture other perspectives by telling stories of a person struggling with mental illness and another struggling with addiction. This song is her way of giving credit to those who don’t always have their daily struggles acknowledged by those around them. “They told me all of my cages were mental, so I got wasted like all my potential, and my words shoot to kill when I’m mad, I have a lot of regrets about that. I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere, fell behind all my classmates and I ended up here, pouring out my heart to a stranger but I didn’t pour the whiskey,” the second verse really hits when you feel like where you are in life doesn’t quite reach the potential you faced at a younger age- especially now that less people pat you on the back when you reach adulthood. The song itself explores how sometimes the act of trying is something only you know when the ones around you don’t know your personal struggle- and it’s truly something that has resonated quite poignantly with her listeners.

“this is me trying” by Taylor Swift

The final song in the “teenage love triangle” trilogy is “betty” which is told from James’ perspective as he shows up at Betty’s party to apologize and try to win her back after his affair with Augustine. It’s the quintessential, end of a romantic comedy ending that we all hope for as the man comes to his senses and owns up to his mistakes. Here though, it’s tinged with a bittersweet sadness as we consider how Augustine is left in the dust as James and Betty rekindle their love. “Betty, I’m here on your doorstep, and I planned it out for weeks now, but it’s finally sinking in. Betty, right now is the last time I can dream about what happens when you see my face again,” James is filled with that beautiful anxiety as he plans on the possibilities of what will happen when he shows up at the party. This song always brings me back to those moments in my life, those moments before you see the person you love after a long time and that hopefulness you feel that seeing you will mean as much to them as it does to you.

“betty” by Taylor Swift

The haunting production on “peace”, mixed with the anxiety-tinged lyrics create a gorgeous balance that has continued to make this song grow on me with each listen. This is Taylor at her most personal and raw on this record, singing directly to her longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn. She recognizes that although she tries to make her life as normal as possible for everyone around her, there’s always this dark cloud lingering over them. She can’t control what tabloids will say about them or if there’s a strange man with a camera nearby wherever they go, but she hopes that what she can control is enough for him even if she can’t give him peace. It’s very much the price of fame which has been written about time and time again over the years but never to this degree of intimacy. “And you know I’d swing with you for the fences, sit with you in the trenches, give you my wild, give you a child. Give you the silence that only comes when two people understand each other, family that I chose now that I see your brother as my brother. Is it enough?”

“peace” by Taylor Swift

The album’s closing track “the lakes” continues this sentiment of finding a sense of peace in life, this time exploring the idea of someday being able to escape from the spotlight and moving somewhere like the great poets did, where they were free to just write for themselves. Inspired by a trip to the lake district in England with Alwyn, she recognized a part of herself in those writers and while she can’t run away there at this very moment, his love gives her that same sense of freedom and happiness in this time. “Take me to the lakes where all the poets went to die, I don’t belong and my beloved, neither do you. Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry, I’m setting off, but not without my muse, not without you,” she closes out the album on that final sentiment.

“the lakes” by Taylor Swift

Taylor is at peace with her life, after all of the turmoil and betrayal she’s faced. She’s now surrounded herself with people who only serve to bring light into her life and has found a love worth leaving it all behind for. And in doing so, she’s been able to expertly explore these gorgeous, fictitious stories that she began to craft here as well as in folklore‘s sister album evermore after it.

folklore is exquisitely crafted- still as fresh on its second anniversary as it was on the first listen with surprises still being found in the background of its production and songwriting choices that still leave me wondering how someone could be THAT good of a writer. The folklorian woods are a magical place- full of comfort and heartbreak and like most of you, I continue to find myself wandering back in all over again.

Thank you, Taylor.

Fresh Brewed Playlist #11

Hardcastle’s new single “Me from the Past” is out now!

Hardcastle writes about the uncertainty of self on his newest single “Me from the Past” which details a point of life we’ve all unfortunately experienced in feeling as if we’ve lost ourselves. “Now it’s all falling apart, I know it’s just a moment but that don’t make it any less hard. It’s like someone else is walking around in my skin, it’s getting harder to know who I am, I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’m missing the me from the past,” he sings on the final chorus. Hardcastle, aka Graham Laderman is currently LA based and his songwriting has this raw quality to it that makes you want to bop your head and sob at the same time. Or is that just me??

Me from the Past” by Hardcastle

“Demon” by Blake Rose is another standout track from the Australian singer who seemingly never misses with each subsequent release since releasing his hit single “Lost” back in 2019. This latest track is written and produced by Rose himself and embraces more of an alternative/rock sound of pop which fits his powerful voice so perfectly. “Oh god, it makes me nauseous that I even know your name, Wish I never said hello and I just walked away,” he sings above a pulsating beat as the music swells in the chorus. If “Demon” and his other recent release “Confidence” are a sign of what Rose’s next release will be, 2022 might just be his finest year yet.

“Demon” by Blake Rose

I couldn’t possibly conclude this catch up of new music without mentioning “This Love (Taylor’s Version)”, could I? Taylor Swift continues to defy the odds, somehow taking yet another song that was already perfect and making it even better. The production feels richer, and her matured vocals are hauntingly gorgeous on this re-recording- just as they were on “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)”. But I couldn’t talk Taylor without addressing her lyrics, especially on that damn bridge. “Your kiss, my cheek, I watched you leave, your smile, my ghost, I fell to my knees. When you’re young, you just run, but you come back to what you need,” she sings of a love that she’s found again after letting it go- shattering all of our hearts in the process. It’s been such an honor to listen to every re-recording as Swift slowly regains ownership of her incredible catalogue and gives us finely improved versions in the process. Cheers to the next, but for now “This Love” has come back to us as well.

“This Love (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

Check out the rest of the songs featured on Fresh Brewed #11 below!

Come say hi on my socials and let me know who you’d like to see featured next! Until next time 🙂

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Madeleine Mayi Talks New Single “SNAP”

Madeleine Mayi’s new single “SNAP” is out now.

Here at Brew Music Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking with singer-songwriter Madeleine Mayi about the meaning behind her new single “SNAP”, her creative process and some artists she’d love to collaborate with someday. Check it out below!

Brew Music Friday: Congrats on your new song “SNAP”! It’s another beautiful release. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind it?

Madeleine Mayi : Thank you so much!! Means a lot. This song is a nostalgic reflection on first love. And more specifically about how time changes your perception of things, even when they felt totally consuming at the time. The reason this came about is because I started going back to therapy and so much old stuff came up. I just felt like it was time.

BMF: You’ve really developed a sound unlike any artist I’ve heard so far. For anyone unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your sound?

Madeleine: Well that’s a big compliment. I would say my overall genre is kind of indie pop/rock with a big focus on nostalgia. I know I just mentioned that in my previous answer, but I want to make music that feels really timeless, and I keep that in mind when choosing what to say and how to present it.

BMF: What’s your creative process like?

Madeleine: My creative process is all centered around alone time. In everything. I need alone time to write, or to think about what I want to write about in a session, I need to think about how a song should be displayed visually, how I feel the meaning of the song should reflect in the production etc etc. and another huge part of it has been surrounding myself with collaborators I trust and can experiment with. My worst nightmare is to be stuck in one method and never evolve my art, and my team really helps with exploring new things when I don’t know how to do it myself.

BMF: In 2021 your released your album “2/14”, which you described as a project about grief and healing. Are “for a second” and “SNAP” a part of another upcoming project?

Madeleine: I have some more singles coming out, but definitely got something fun in mind after that…

BMF: Are there any artists who you would like to work with?

Madeleine: Oh my gosh so many. I’d love to work with BENEE, Nightly, and then I mean… James Blake for sure, and Taylor Swift. Jack Antonoff. So many many people come to mind

BMF: What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?

Madeleine: Music has always been the way i can express my feelings most clearly, and see myself clearly too. sometimes I’ll write a song and listen back and realize that I didn’t even know I felt so strongly/a certain way about something. It’s also the thing I am most excited to give people.

Brew Music Friday: Do you have any live shows planned? 

Madeleine: Yes!! I have not officially announced it yet but I am planning a big LA show for the first week of may. The lineup is gonna be insane, I’m so excited!

You can follow Madeleine on her Twitter and her Instagram to keep up with any announcements and more! Check out her newest release “SNAP” on all streaming platforms now.

The Ones That Love Us Never Really Leave Us

I interrupt our usual shenanigans to talk to you about my experience with grief and how music has been a life raft in my journey towards healing.

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of my mother’s death.

There’s an innate emptiness that comes from watching a parent deal with a sickness. It’s an all-encompassing black hole that consumes the aspects of your life that might have been a priority had your situation been different. To experience anything other- whether it be love or a social life, would be selfish, right? Just the idea of focusing on anything other seemed merely impossible, and so I isolated myself.

My Mom first became sick back in 2008 when I was 14. The next 12 years were filled with counting the ceiling tiles of hospital rooms, listening to her beautiful anecdotes of the life she had lived, and relishing in every single moment I was able to breathe the same air she breathed.

On March 13, 2020- my world shattered. Every single Doctor’s appointment and hospital stay somehow failed to prepare us for her loss. In the wake of her death, I clung to anything that might keep me afloat, and music became a sense of peace for my war ridden mind. For the moments when the voices got so loud, when the water began to fill my lungs, when life felt so lonely that I sometimes wished it could just…. stop.

I’d isolated myself and my feelings for so long that I felt as if I needed to keep up this facade that everything was okay, even when I was alone. And so, I sat in my house and in my car, just to allow myself to feel what the music could help me work through. It took a long time, but I finally feel like I’m on the right path.

I wanted to share a collection of songs that remind me of my mom- whether they are some of her favorites or they somehow put into words the pain I’ve felt in loving and losing her.

“Older Than I Am” by Lennon Stella is a beautiful ballad about the toll that taking on major responsibilities and being forced to mature at a young age can take on someone. I remember sobbing the first time I heard her sing the opening lines of “My heart’s seen things I wish it didn’t, somewhere, I lost some of my innocence and I miss it“. Being released just over a month after I lost my mom, it felt as if Lennon made this just for me (obviously she did).

Taylor Swift’s beautiful songwriting has long been a friend to me throughout most of my life- but in recent years her openness about her own mother’s battle with cancer has anchored her in my heart. On “Soon You’ll Get Better”, she chronicles the fear of losing her mother through every step from the doctor’s office diagnosis to the ways she needs to cope in order to remain positive.

And I hate to make this all about me, but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do, if there’s no you,” she sings on the bridge, unable to fathom a world without her best friend. At first, I couldn’t cope but I found peace in knowing that my mom would never want me to crumble beneath the weight of the sorrow. She’d want me to go on living, after all she taught me the meaning of strength through every battle she faced.

Patrick Droney’s “Glitter” describes the duality of grief in that the memories can be beautiful, but the pain can be impossible to be rid of. “See grief is just like glitter, it’s hard to brush away. Bright light and it still shimmers, like it was yesterday,” he reminds us of the beauty in the overwhelming grief. The immense loss can be so blinding that you lose track of the happy moments- something I struggled to remember for quite some time.

Some of these songs are painful, but I find comfort within the pain. Grief can be so isolating and yet, it’s what unites us all. I hope you find solace within this little collection just as I have. As the closing track “Healing” says, “the smoke ain’t gone, but it’s clearing.”

Much love and healing on your journeys.