Alyssa Hill is Just Wrong


Alyssa Hill

A personal touch, with love <3

Madison A. Miller

I didn’t grow up listening to Taylor Swift but did find comfort in her songs when a friend introduced me to her music. Eventually, I found even more comfort when said friend stabbed me in the back. Swift’s music touched my heart, calling out to me in a way only someone betrayed would understand. The announcement of a new album sent my battered heart soaring.

About six months ago, Swift came out with Midnights. Thirteen songs born from thirteen nights where she stayed up, sleepless, dealing with problems that everyone on Earth also deals with. Doubts about the future, self-confidence, fear, sorrow, love, and all sorts of other issues that your everyday person relates to.

I loved it. This album helped me collect myself in the final days of my first semester at IUS. Midnights raced up the charts and into my heart. It still contends with folklore and evermore. I won’t lie. I slacked off at work listening to Midnights over and over instead of assisting customers. My boss was very upset with me. Midnights reminded me that even our mega pop stars like Swift have normal, human problems.

However, one of my Horizon colleagues disagrees. Oh my god! Alyssa Hill thinks Midnights is one of the weakest albums that Swift has ever put out. Hill is objectively wrong. Midnights is one of the strongest albums Swift has put out in a long time, barring the two albums preceding Midnights.

Hill’s claim that “Lavender Haze” is one of the worst songs on the album hurt me personally. Swift talks about how the song represents honeymoon stages of a relationship. The term for the “all-encompassing glow of love” is from the 1950s, which explains Swift’s lines about the “1950s shit they want,” and ties into the attention you get from your significant other. Anyone can relate to it. Who doesn’t bask in that aura of puppy love and adoration at the start of their relationships?

Yes, some of the songs on Midnights fall into your pop clichés, with certain rhythms that exist in every pop-centric album. The repetitious, monotonous melodies pop up for the chorus. The bridges in some songs have only slight variations in wording. However, this would not be popular if that formula didn’t work. Swift, with her expertise in music theory, knows what people want. She knows what people will listen to. If it is pop clichés, that’s what it is. But Swift deftly manipulates that cliché, spinning it to suit her lyrics and style.

I agree with my Horizon colleague Hill on one thing. “Snow on the Beach” should have featured more of Lana Del Rey. It’s difficult to discern her voice on the track. Yet we know Swift as a huge fan. You would think that being a fan of your collaborator, you would give much more airtime to make their voice heard. I struggled to hear an echo of the woman behind Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Bringing Jack Antonoff, who also worked with Del Rey on her most recent album, to the studio to write some of the songs paid off. The songwriting duo of Swift and Antonoff gave us the absolute banger that is “Anti Hero.” How could you not love it? It is wonderfully produced and the lyrics touch on the self-loathing that people endure at some point in life. At the start of the track, Swift delved into her depression and how it keeps her up at night. The gossip surrounding her relationships with others is also explored. She cleverly inserted references to the media in the line about her “covert narcissism.” With Antonoff collaborating, the songwriting tandem more than delivered, especially on this single.

I would be curious and excited to see Swift collaborate with Aaron Dessner, too, on an album.

Overall, Swift produced a strong album for us to consume and relate to. “Karma” will come back and get whoever wronged you, as shown through Swift’s lyrical choice and the meaning behind it. This is also because Swift is forthright about her belief in karma and the good and bad choices people make. She proved herself as an absolute when it came to Midnights.

Fans are, and always have been, candid about what their favorite artists put out. They will disagree at times. But in the case of Midnights, some people are just too harsh. Swift released an album that tells us she is exactly like us in plenty of ways. This is one of my favorite albums of hers. Six months old, yet I still play it every chance I can.

Take that, Alyssa Hill!