‘13 sleepless nights’

Students react to the announcement of Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album.

One of the popular trends with listeners at the moment is to create through an app called “Pinterest shuffles” to create an aesthetically pleasing collage based on albums, artists, or other hobbies.

Graphic by Chiara Arendt

One of the popular trends with listeners at the moment is to create through an app called “Pinterest shuffles” to create an aesthetically pleasing collage based on albums, artists, or other hobbies.

Waiting for the clock to strike midnight on the eve of an album release is a universal fan experience. After months of teasing from whatever artist a fan may listen to, the moment has finally almost arrived. Popular artist Taylor Swift will be doing the same and, “meeting her fans at midnight,” after announcing her new album “Midnights.” Swift explained these songs represent “13 sleepless nights” throughout her life that she is now ready to share with her listeners. 

“Swifties,” the nickname for Swift’s fanbase, all around the world have been preparing for another album announcement since “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was released in Nov. 2022. Swift announced her new album during her acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards after her short film for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” won video of the year. 

TikTok has become the place for Swifties to gather and share their thoughts on all things related to Swift. Before the award show, a trending topic was speculation of an album announcement at the VMAs. The majority of fans’ theories leaned towards a possible re-recording, as she just won back the rights to her namesake debut album, “1989”, and “Speak Now,” and is still in the process of getting the rights for “reputation.” The main detail every person came back to was the outfit she was wearing, a silver dress, very similar to what she was wearing in the bathtub of diamonds in the music video of her 2017 single “Look What You Made Me Do.”  But, these theories for “reputation” were debunked as she is still in a legal battle obtaining the rights to some songs in the album. 

Some fans have been relating the album “Lover” to “Midnights,” claiming that they’re sister albums because the former’s original album name was going to be “Daylight.” Students have started to draft their own opinions and predictions for what we could expect from this new era. Ava Sullivan, senior, a newer listener, has made some predictions on what’s next.

“I’ve heard a lot about it being related to ‘Karma’,” Sullivan said. “‘Karma’ is supposedly the album she was going to release but didn’t in 2016 and released ‘reputation’ instead, after all the drama with Kanye [West]. Obviously, we don’t know if that album exists, but I think if you look at the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ music video, I want to say ‘Karma’ was written on the wall. It’s just something that’s been going around the fandom for quite a long time I think. I’ve seen people talking about it being the third album to the ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ albums.” 

However, others predicted that “1989” would be re-recorded as Swift released Taylor’s Version singles “This Love” and “Wildest Dreams”, one of which was then used in the hit new series “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” 

“I’m hoping for rock,” Sullivan said. Swift has not yet announced the genre of the album, leaving it up to fan speculation. “I know that’s what a lot of people have been saying. I don’t know all the details, but there was something being passed around on social media, it was on Amazon Music [which] had it released, not like the tracklist or anything, it was the album cover and then the genre, it’s at rock.”

A screenshot of Amazon Music’s view of Midnights showed the genre labeled as rock, and now fans have been digging into that possible theory. TikTokers have been comparing Swift to Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame. The album cover residing on her website is a picture of Swift blowing out a flame in the bottom right corner, with the numbered tracks displayed as they would be on a vinyl, but not yet showing the names of the songs. Traditionally, the track list along with which side of the vinyl they’re on is on the back cover, so this raises some questions on what’s to come and if the current cover is the cover at all. 

“I kind of see that but at the same time I think [the cover] to her released album covers like it looks really similar to I think the ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ just kind of like the formatting of it. I think it’d be really cool if it wasn’t the actual album cover,” Sullivan said.

Some people, like long-time listener Emme Staten, junior, suspect that there’s more Swift isn’t telling listeners. 

“I definitely agree with the theory that we haven’t seen the actual album cover yet,” Staten said. “I think the cover will continue to align with the 60s-70s vibe we’ve been seeing, but I actually think that the so-called ‘album cover’ that has been released will be the back cover of the album.” 

And they were both right.

On Sept. 16, Swift took to TikTok and Snapchat to announce an update on her album. “There are four different covers for the Midnights album, and if you turn them over, there is obviously a back cover to each one of them,” Swift said on TikTok. She then proceeded to show four different back covers, each with numbers, aligning to become a clock once turned over. So, there are four different album covers that are yet to be released. 

“She’s been planning this album for a really long time, evidently since before she released her ‘Lover’ album in 2019, so it will most likely be a very intricate and well thought out album,” Staten said. “[Swift] also mentioned how all of these tracks have been written throughout her life, so I’m interested to see how she connects these songs written across her different eras. [Swift] definitely has a lot in store, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she ties everything together.”