Midnights songs as Cambridge Colleges
So, are you ready for it?
As Buchhianeri once said, ‘art is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation.’ And if there’s one thing all Swifties can agree on, it’s that Midnights is definitely art. Being the Cambridge Tab writers that we are, our way of interpreting art is not by writing insightful analytical essays on it, but to make a definitive list of Cambridge colleges as Midnights songs. Let us shine for you, our fellow Cantabs, and show you every version of yourself tonight.
A note: as dedicated, true swifties, we are of course basing this list upon the Midnights (3am Edition). If you don’t know what that is, educate yourself. It’s probably more important than whatever your supo work is this week.
1. Lavender Haze – Magdalene
Magdalene college is unfairly stunning, and walking in feels like entering a ‘lavender haze’, especially in the idyll of the river. Magdalene also reflects the less pleasant undertones of Lavender Haze, the 50s origin of the phrase reflects Magdalene’s more traditional approach, and like Taylor, people keep “bringing up my history”.
‘The only kind of girl they see is a one-night or a wife’ could perhaps speak to the approach of quite a few Magdalene men. Maybe Magdalene needs a reputation era. As a small college, Magdalene is very gossipy, meaning that you, like T Swizzle, are “damned if I do give a damn what people say”. Best to stay in the lavender haze xoxo
2. Maroon – Robinson
If you look up at the sky anywhere within Robinson’s 2.9 million bricks, there’s no doubt that it’s ‘so scarlet, it was maroon.’ The burgundy on Taylor’s t-shirt and the blood that rushed into her cheeks would definitely camouflage right in.
Robinson seems to get slated a lot for being ugly and posh in Camfess bizarre-miscellaneous-things-with-feeble-links-to-misspelled-colleges posts, and all the connections to Karlie Kloss in this song will probably incite a similar amount of hate on the internet. This college is also known for having some of the least terrible bops in Cambridge (although, that isn’t really saying much). ‘“How’d we end up on the floor anyway?” You say, “your roommate’s cheapest screw top rosé, that’s how”’ feels like a feasible post-bop conversation.
3. Anti-Hero – Caius
Over the last few months, Caius has definitely gained a big reputation, big reputation and become a big conversation. Probably the actress starring in our bad dreams right now, Cauis did something bad related to speakers, flags and basically everything else. Cauis perhaps embodies the idea of getting older, but not wiser. We were reluctant to give one of our favourite songs to this controversial College, but I guess this is why we can’t have nice things, darling.
4. Snow on the Beach (feat. Lana Del Rey) – Queens’
“Weird but fucking beautiful” is not what I normally hear punters say as they pass the glories of Queens’ Erasmus building. But it should be. Like Snow on the beach, Queens’ blend of architectural styles is certainly unusual but “it’s all around” and it has some truly beautiful parts (a.k.a old court) and some truly odd elements (why is Cambridge incapable of having a pretty building called Cripps?).
The founding of Queens’ College was a collaboration between two historical badasses, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret of Anjou, with questionable taste in men. Edward IV was definitely the John Mayer of his time, Henry VI was maybe more of Jake Gyllenhall (Margaret was most certainly far too young when they married). Sound at all familiar? Snow on the Beach is a collaboration between two legendary artists – it’s truly the work of Queens.
5. You’re On Your Own, Kid – Girton
Ok, you need to calm down, we know that we’re playing into stereotypes here. But Girton is literally in a different postcode to the rest of Cambridge, so “I called a taxi to take me there” is an accurate depiction of Girtonites attempting to have a night out (or even going to lectures tbh). Although Girton is so lovely I don’t know why you’d want to leave, it is a bit of “Great Escape” to get back to Cambridge central. And anyone who’s ever had a brief fling with someone from Girton can very much relate to “I touch my phone as if it’s your face” since that’s basically a long-distance relationship.
6. Midnight Rain – Lucy Cav
We are both unapologetic Jack Antonoff fans. However, just like Lucy Cav, Midnight Rain unnecessarily added a man. There was no need for Jack to sing on this, just like there was no need to Lucy Cav to dilute its girl power energy. We don’t need The Man. Sorry guys, but Midnights should have been free from madness and men with bad habits of adding weird echoey backing vocals.
7. Question…? – Downing
“Can i ask you a question?” is a phrase that probably echoes through the halls of Downing’s law-dominated college, as they interrogate each other in the way this song does. We both have several questions about everything that allegedly goes on in the “crowded rooms” at Downing…
8. Vigilante Shit – King’s
If recent Camfesses are anything to go by, King’s students are certainly on some vigilante shit right now, defending their college from accusations of…well… anything.
Vigilante Shit is the most reputation song on the album. If you had to define any college as having a radical reputation shift, it would most definitely be Kings, as it has undergone a massive rebranding from only taking Eton students when it was first founded to now being viewed as one of the most “radical” colleges. Plus, if you want to see somebody ‘dressed for revenge’ or a ‘look that can kill’, look no further than the queue outside King’s Affair.
9. Bejeweled – John’s
As John’s students love reminding people, their May Ball is supposedly the seventh-best party in the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to dance all night and make the whole place shimmer. This college may not have the best reputation, but we’ll admit that with its stone courtyards and sprawling lawn, it does polish up real nice. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ also sums up how John’s often gets criticised for being one of the more traditional and unchanging colleges.
10. Labyrinth – Newnham
Newnham has many things going for it – gorgeous gardens, a cute cafe with a quirky ceiling, some actual attention to feminism. Tragically, most of us will never see any of that because it’s so damn hard to find your way around.
Because it was built to be a women’s college and the dainty females had to be protected from the outdoors, Newnham is a maze of never-ending corridors. I remember thinking ‘are we out of the woods yet?’ when ‘lost in the labyrinth of my mind’ trying to find where the hell my supo is. Taylor sings, ‘you know how scared I am of elevators,’ and this line takes on a whole new meaning when you don’t know which floor you’re going to end up on.
11. Karma – Christ’s
We know it’s Nothing New to refer to Christ’s as the smart-college. However, topping Tompkins again this year really feels like Karma from all of the hard work Christ’s students put in. And since most people at Christ’s don’t have time for a relationship alongside their academics, maybe they can be content with the fact that “Karma is my (their) boyfriend”.
12. Sweet Nothing – Catz
Taylor herself might be enchanted by this college’s name. But call it what you want, it’s easy to forget that it existed. It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference. We think of Catz, and we think of ‘nothing’. Plus, you could see nothing of it for years because of that wretched tent.
13. Mastermind – Corpus
Corpus is regularly near the top of the Tompkins table, so presumably is full of masterminds and ‘wisest women’ (and maybe people who nobody wanted to play with as a little kid? Too harsh?) ‘I laid the groundwork and then just like clockwork’ feels like an appropriate lyric for a college whose main personality trait is a weird-looking clock which tourists are so keen to take photos of that they risk getting mown over by bikes. Plus, it’s where Christopher Marlowe went, and his ‘cryptic and Machiavellian’ writing fits this song’s dark academia vibes pretty well.
14. The Great War – Churchill
I’m sorry Churchill. This was just too easy a joke to resist.
15. Bigger Than The Whole Sky – Trinity
The amount of land Trinity owns is genuinely probably bigger than the whole sky, or maybe even bigger than the number of Girton jokes in Tab articles. The melancholy energy of this song really matches the solitary existence of Trinmos who ‘have a lot to pine about’ during exam season.
16. Paris – Medwards
This song fantasises about being ‘somewhere else’ like Paris, and given that 82 students were pooled there this year (more than to any other college), it stands to reason that a lot of Medwards students fantasise about this too. Since it’s a hill college, you might have to draw a map on someone’s bedroom ceiling to find it. Plus, the lyrics ‘2003 unbearable, did you see the photos? No, I didn’t but thanks though’ could refer to the buildings at Medwards just as much as it can to terrible clubbing outfits.
17. High Infidelity – Emma
“I was dancing around, dancing around it”. Emma is close to Revs. Where does most of the infidelity in Cambridge take place? Revs. Where does most of the dancing in Cambridge take place? Revs. Case closed.
18. Glitch – Fitz
In a city of medieval vaulted ceilings and Hogwarts-esque stone quads, the buildings at Fitz do kind of look like there’s been a glitch. The hall’s roof resembles clouds if you’re feeling polite, or a ten-year-old’s collapsed art project if you’re feeling honest.
I’ve seen nicer-looking plodges in Minecraft. But hey Stephen, looks can be deceiving – you can properly admire how the ‘nights are so starry, blood moonlit’ through those high windows in Fitz’s buttery. And Taylor was clearly inspired by the hill colleges when she wrote, ‘you don’t live in my part of town, but maybe I’ll see you out some weekend.’
19. Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve – Selwyn
Taylor sings of ‘stained glass windows in my mind,’ and the Selwyn college chapel has some pretty fabulous stained glass windows. The gothic vibes of ghosts and tombs and devils in this song go quite well with Selwyn’s Victorian architecture, too.
20. Dear Reader – Clare
Peter Ackroyd went to Clare. Peter Ackroyd is both a writer of fiction and of biographies of other authors. He is therefore the ultimate reader. This song is therefore directed at Peter Ackroyd. Case closed part 2. We definitely weren’t running out of ideas by this point (no body, no crime, right?)
Well, getting through the whole album was the goddamn fight of our lives, but now we’ve reached the endgame. If you were looking for your college, found a blank space and wondered why we had to be so mean, then shake it off. Maybe karma will love you and your college will be brutally insulted in another Tab article soon instead. Love, Ella and Claudia. xoxo
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Feature Image: Photo and editing by Claudia Cox