Taylor Swift Midnights ranked

A release day ranking of all 20 songs on Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights

Writing this was my Swiftie obligation

Today is one of the most important days in the calendar year for me, as someone who would battle to the death with any naysayer that Taylor Alison Swift is one of the greatest songwriters on the planet and one of the most culturally relevant pop stars of all time. Her recent run of releases have changed the trajectory of my life entirely, and it’s safe to say my hype for Midnights was astronomical. I’ve listened five times in Midnights’ entirety to all 20 songs, and this is my first day ranked list of the latest Taylor Swift offering.

I like to think that this article might become somewhat of a time capsule, a little fossil of opinion, before these songs soak fully into me. So, as of right now, five listens in and as a die-hard Swiftie til the very end – here’s all 20 songs on Midnights by Taylor Swift, ranked from worst to best.

20. Question…?

Now is a good a time as any to say that beyond a few cringe lyrics, I don’t think there’s a bonafide misfire anywhere to be found on Midnights. No ME!s and no You Need To Calm Downs, no Stay Stay Stays or horrid Ed Sheeran feature lurking in this tracklist. A song has to come last, and right now that song is Question.

It’s nothing personal, I just don’t think it goes anywhere memorable beyond its swearing. Which I do like Taylor doing, but I need the rest of the song to slap as hard as the curse words.

19. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve

Coming in 19th is funnily enough track 19, Would’ve, Could’ve Should’ve. It’s one of several bonus tracks on Midnights’ 3AM edition that sees Taylor reunite with Aaron Dessner – who she walked with deep into the Folklorean woods and dropped two of the best records of her career. W,C,S reminds me of Long Story Short from Evermore, but not QUITE as good.

18. Dear Reader

The 20th and final track on Midnights, Dear Reader is a dreamy song that has echoes of the underrated Dress from Reputation but without a lyric as good as “Only bought this dress so you could take it off”. Antonoff’s production is astounding, of course. I really wish that she kept Mastermind as the album closer on both versions – it works much better for me.

17. High Infidelity

I love the way Taylor chooses to write on this song, the short phrases and the word couplings are so satisfying when paired with the twinkly Aaron Dessner production works so well for me. Also, LOVE the title and love when Taylor writes with specificity like the lyric “Do you really want to know where I was April 29th?” – the day This Is What You Came For came out. Which Taylor’s backing vocals still feature on. Drama!

I feel like a lot of the extra seven tracks have fell to the bottom of Midnights ranked, but I genuinely love them a lot – such is the power of Taylor Swift that the best is yet to come.

16. Glitch

On listening to this again back to back with High Infidelity, I already know these songs are going to shoot up the ranking because I’m loving them more with every spin. Some of the best production on the whole record, the whirring of the guitar feels so wonderfully woozy and doesn’t recall anything she’s ever done before.

15. Bigger Than The Whole Sky

I cannot help but be lulled into the grandiose, The Archer-tinged electroballadry of songs like Bigger Than The Whole Sky. This is one of the dreamiest and most cinematic tracks on Midnights by far, it feels like the culmination of a romance at the most pivotal moment of the best film you’ve ever seen.

I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life crying to this when a guy ghosts me, or when I just feel particularly sentimental and main character on a two hour train to Manchester.

14. Midnight Rain

There’s a lot of amazing vocal editing on Taylor across Midnights, and Midnight Rain kicks off with some of the best. I’d describe this song as the lovechild of Getaway Car and Daylight. The motif of the background vocals and lyrics just feels so correct and the production and heartbreak on display are wow from start to finish.

13. Snow on the Beach (with Lana Del Rey)

It’s taken me some time to accept the fact that the hype I had for two of my favourite artists of all time coming together for a song isn’t quite the equally split duet I was hoping for. I thought this song would be at the top of this ranked Midnights list and be one of my fave Taylor Swift songs ever.

It ain’t quite that, but what it is is a quietly lovely song that my friend aptly declared an illusion. If you listen to it and think about it as a Taylor Swift song, you only hear her. If you think of it as a Lana song, you can’t mistake her vocals and presence all over it. It’s fascinating. Also, the melody makes me want to burst into Illicit Affair’s “Don’t call me kid, don’t call me baby” literally every time I listen.

12. Bejeweled


11. Vigilante Shit

Yes, the title is a bit cringe – but if you aren’t on board with some Taylor Swift cringe then you aren’t a Swiftie after all. Taylor took a deep dive, bathe and swim in the Billie Eilish lake when she made this Sc**ter Br**n annihilation and we thank her for it. The Reputation era is alive and well – the old Taylor can come to the phone after all, it seems. “Don’t get sad, get even”.

10. The Great War

The best way to kick off the top 10 ranked songs on Midnights is with the best Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner song on this record. The Great War has chorus similarities with Colder by Nina Nesbitt, although assuming either of them have listened to that song may indeed be more than a little bit of a stretch. There’s such a satisfying pattern to its chorus melody that makes it feel like one of the album’s most instant earworms.

9. Sweet Nothing

My friend Molly told me that she loves this song because of the usage of the Wurlitzer piano that gives Sweet Nothing its warmth, its retro style that suits all the Midnights visuals to a tee. I love this Clairo-esque sound on Taylor’s vocals so much – this song feels so gentle and special. It has a cold Christmas night cosiness to it that I just want to wrap myself up in forever.

8. Labyrinth 

Another song that reminds me of The Archer with its build, but with a big fat dollop of Folklore highlight Mirrorball. Labyrinth has this little synthy run in it that crops up sparingly and thrills me every time I hear it. It has some of the most simple writing on the whole album, but thanks to the stunning breathy coos of Swift’s vocals and the production it is absolutely unforgettable.

7. Paris

The best of all the Midnights 3AM bonus track, Paris does not just share its name with a The 1975 track , it shares stylistic similarities in its songwriting and production that feels so Healy. It’s one of the poppiest moments on the album and I love the manic songwriting on the bridge that feels 50 per cent romantic, 50 per cent threatening:

I wanna brainwash you
Into loving me forever
I wanna transport you
To somewhere the culture’s clever

6. You’re On Your Own, Kid

Any Swiftie worth their salt knows that track five on a Taylor Swift album is a song of note, and Midnights continues that tradition with a song ranked so high for how instantly special it feels. You’re On Your Own, Kid follows in the mighty footsteps of Delicate, The Archer, Tolerate It and All Too Well as track five’s that devastate lyrically.

The bridge is, naturally, where Swift and Antonoff write perhaps the best verse on this entire album. It is one that will be cherished in the Swifty history books for all of time.

5. Mastermind

The final song of the standard edition of Midnights introduces itself like you’ve just booted up your dad’s video game console from the 80s and never lets up steam. It has some of the most delicious production and hard-hitting writing on the whole record, and it’s the perfect wrapping up of the sleepless nights anthology of Taylor’s album. It’s one of those songs that does not need to grow on you – it’s special from the first play.

Bonus points for an excellent usage of the word Machiavellian.

4. Maroon

I love imagining this as Red from, well, Red older and wiser and completely jaded – having a scorned and bitter cig in a dimly lit bar listening to jazz and cursing the man who wronged her. Taylor has always been a master of colour in her lyrics, and the way she builds shades from burgundy to scarlet to maroon in the OUTSTANDING chorus is just magnificent.

Give this a single release and a music video right now, or I will revolt. “That’s a real fucking legacy… to leave!”

3. Karma

You can all take this as my official endorsement that silly Swift is back on the menu! Silly Swift is chic! Yep, I am endorsing lyrics as laugh out loud as “Karma is a cat, purring in my lap, flexing like a goddamn acrobat” and “Spider boy, king of thieves”. Why? Because this song is so unapologetically joyous in its revelling in the karma Taylor’s soaked herself in after years of slander and underestimation that you can’t help but grin along with her. And the melody is perfection.

2. Lavender Haze

Meet me at midnight! Oh, Taylor: I will meet you at any time and any date if you can guarantee me production as thrilling as this track one because this is the perfect way to open an album. Take the breathiness of the wonderful I Think He Knows chorus and slap it over a moody and atmospheric production and you’ve got one of the coolest sounding Taylor Swift songs I’ve ever heard.

The “ooooAAAAoooo” motif noises in Lavender Haze are so satisfying to my ears. Will they ever get old? Well they haven’t today and I’ve slapped the replay button like no tomorrow.

1. Anti-Hero

I fear that with Anti-Hero, we have seen the end to Taylor Swift’s inability to correctly choose a lead single. Anti-Hero, with its newly released and excellently realised music video, is the shining jewel and introspective centrepiece of Midnights that gets better on every spin. Ignore everyone deciding that Taylor Swift making a 30 Rock reference with the sexy baby line is the biggest affront to music in songwriting history – Anti-Hero is the real fucking deal.

“It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me” is going to be a lyric blasted out of every radio for the rest of 2022. Anti-Hero will be reflective of the sound and energy of the Midnights era in Taylor’s history for evermore. What a lead single, what an album, what an artist.


Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights is a masterpiece and these 21 memes prove it

• Taylor Swift has confirmed the meaning behind Lavender Haze lyrics and it’s boy related

The definitive ranking of every Taylor Swift song that got to number one on the charts