Taylor Swift’s Midnight has officially been out for a week and it’s expectedely already been smashing streaming records. Swift said that even though her tenth studio album is “dark,” she had, “more fun making it than any album I’ve ever made.” Adele has praised her as, “One of the greatest songwriters of our generation,” and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon called Swift, “the most talented person in the world.” So what is the method to her mastery?
On an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Swift got deep. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize what exactly goes into making a concept album, but Swift was very clear in the inspiration behind her songwriting.
“It’s a concept album. And the main question is: ‘What keeps you up at night,” Swift began. “So it’s you know, you could be up at night because you’re reeling from just having met someone and you’re falling for them. Or you could be plotting revenge,” she joked. She then references a moment of vulnerability in a “nightmare” screen test she did with actor Eddie Redmayne for a role in the 2012 Les Miserables feature film, saying “You could be thinking about that time that they painted your teeth brown. You could be thinking about what could have been.”
Swift then takes a breath and summarizes how the concept guided her through the entire songwriting process: “You know, there’s just so many possibilities. If you give that like — if you think of that as a creative writing prompt, which is what I did. That’s where the album came from.”