Oberlin Blogs

Midnights and Fall Break

October 22, 2022

Phoebe McChesney ’25

When I found out that Obies get a week-long fall break, I was filled with gratitude and relief. The break is a wonderful way to recover from midterms. It also provides ample time for exploring other interests, especially those that evoke feelings of intense excitement, like how I feel about Taylor Swift and her music.

Taylor Swift dropped her newest album, Midnights, at midnight on October 21st. So, thanks to fall break, instead of having to absentmindedly buzz around from class to work full of anxious anticipation, I could stay up late, put in my earbuds, hear a masterpiece, and sleep in the next day. Moreover, I could wake up and just simply continue listening to Taylor's wondrous, lilting voice.

Plus, I got to be a part of history, even if a miniscule part. I'm honored that as one of the very many users that waited up for the album drop and then hopped on Spotify's platform, I got to be part of the reason Spotify crashed--more than once that day. And since then, I think I've listened to Midnight Rain, my favorite song off the album, about 100 times... Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration. Regardless, I've listened to it frequently and to the best of my ability.

In the interest of hyping up Midnights as much as possible, I'd like to demonstrate that it's gotten some rave reviews from other young people too!

My sister, Maren, thinks Midnights is "Taylor's most mature album yet. With trendy techno beats and lyrics that pluck at your heartstrings, Taylor reflects on herself, her relationships, and her future. I am once again astounded by Taylor's versatility and depth!"

Similarly, my friend Jackie describes it as "beyond this realm of life."

I also spent time watching people react to the album for the first time. I witnessed confusion, joy, laughter, sing-alongs, smiles, furrowed brows, cocked heads, and moments of exuberant epiphany. I listened to armchair experts attempt to explain lyrics with ambiguous meanings and zealous fans reaching for easter egg clues potentially hidden in Taylor's flowery language. Midnights is not a simple listen and that's what makes it so fascinating. 

There is so much going on in every moment of every song. Even the silence is packed with meaning. It would take months to unpack every allusion, instrument, and sound. Sometimes the audio makes little to no sense, and at other times, the words are a bit too on the nose. But by the end of each song, and certainly by the end of the album, there is no doubt in my mind that Taylor can create beautiful cohesion out of chaos.

So... long story short (those who get it, get it), Midnights is moving, immensely creative, self-reflective, otherworldly, and practically genius. If you're reading this, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Finally, while this post isn't formally an advertisement for Midnights (but perhaps informally so), it is an advertisement for Oberlin. 

How so? -- you may ask. Well, at Oberlin you get extra time like fall break and Winter Term (see one of my previous posts) to explore your single-minded passions. Whether you're passionate about Taylor's life and discography or about something else entirely, you have the ability to follow your heart at Oberlin. If there's room for Swifties and their fanaticism, there's room for everyone.

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