“Meet Me At Midnight”: 1989, Midnights and the Relatability of Taylor Swift


Linda Petersen, Staff Writer

I remember the day I bought my first CD. The year was 2015, the album was 1989, and I had never felt more excited to be alive.

Looking back I guess, listening to the opening notes of “Welcome to New York” in my grandmother’s 2011 Honda Fit, I felt connected to her music in a way I couldn’t articulate then but would understand later.

Fast-forward to today. I’m a far cry from the eleven-year-old girl who felt out of place in her small town, but I still love a good Taylor Swift tune. Her music has guided me in every era of my life- reputation came out when my friend group ditched me, and Red (Taylor’s Version) was released just a few months after my first breakup. Taylor Swift became more than just an artist to me- she became a spokesperson for my struggles, a meaning behind the madness- I basically got free therapy from the woman.

I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. Actually, Taylor Swift’s relatability has become a critical component of her brand- an aspect that even Taylor herself is quick to acknowledge. “There is an element to my fan base where we feel like we grew up together,” she says in her 2019 Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. “I’ll be going through something, write the album about it, and then it will come out [and] coincide with what they’re going through. Kind of like they’re reading my diary.”

But nothing screams relatability more than the announcement of Midnights, Taylor’s 10th studio album, following a hint during her VMAs speech last week. Even the announcement post for the album (now pinned on her Instagram) is nothing short of approachable. The first image in the carousel contains the official cover art for the album- a blurry photograph of Taylor, wearing 1989-reminiscent makeup and gazing at a lighter. For me this image conjures two distinct but noticeably intertwined realities. From a fan’s perspective, I see the reference to 1989- the bright blue eyeshadow, red lipstick, and iconic short bob- and how this album could bring to light what was going on in her life at that time. But the empath in me sees how human this image is: the last person at the party, questioning every decision that brought her there in the first place.

But the second image really drives home the authenticity of Taylor’s brand. An undoubtedly candid portrait of Taylor is used as the background for an album description penned by the singer herself. The line “meet me at midnight” is nothing short of brilliant, and the concept of the entire post is beautifully thought-out. Over the course of my life, I’ve had a lot of nights just like the ones Taylor describes- sleepless, anxiety-ridden, and mostly the result of me (once again) overthinking something to do with a boy who possibly forgot I existed.

I understand that not everyone is a die-hard Swift fan like I am (so don’t worry- I’m not going to force you to become a Swiftie), but her music does something very few people in the industry can do- it makes us feel less alone. It’s funny how a simple melody and well-written lyrics can bridge gaps between people, and help us understand each other just a little more.

So I’m really grateful that my first CD was by Taylor. Because life is short and time is swift and in the words of my eleven-year-old self, she still makes me feel a little less misunderstood and excited to be alive.

Now let’s party like it’s 1989.