Mr. Rodgers on Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”


Nick and Mr. Rodgers taking a Swiftie Selfie

Nick E. ‘26

Last week I interviewed OLSH’s very own Mr. Rodgers on his opinions on the new Taylor Swift album, Midnights. Mr. Rodgers is OLSH’s resident “Swiftie”, so he had a lot to say. We jumped in right away and started with the first question.


 The Clarion: Overall, what did you think of the album?

 Mr. Rodgers: “Where to start on Taylor Swift’s Midnights? I love the fact she did a concept album, she has never done a concept album. This is her tenth studio album, so I was very excited about the idea. I’m not sure that the thirteen tracks completely met my expectations. I wish she would’ve leaned a little further into midnights, and those sleepless nights, I didn’t get that from the album completely.”

TC: Compared to her other albums, where did it rank, in your opinion?

MR: “Very much in the middle. I don’t think it was a bad album, but I don’t think it was one of her best albums. I think it was the weakest of the Jack Antonoff trilogy of albums, being Folklore, Evermore, and now Midnights. I definitely think she needs to go her separate ways with Jack Antonoff.”

TC: Do you feel that this was an emotionally moving album?

MR: “Yes, I think that Taylor Swift is a very emotional songwriter. I think she is a great story teller. So yeah, she can hit the heartstrings. I don’t believe every song was emotionally heartbreaking as some of them, but if every song was like that they could lose some of the impact of an emotional song. I’ve had experiences where I’ve been listening to a Taylor Swift album and the whole thing was just amazing, but this just wasn’t quite there.”

TC: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

MR: “Oh boy, that has changed daily since the album was released. I’ll give you my top three. In no particular order it would probably be: ‘Anti-Hero,’ ‘Midnight Rain,’ and  ‘Mastermind.’”

TC: Do you have a least favorite song? 

MR: “Oh boy, I don’t like to be overly negative for the sake of being negative, but I feel like ‘Question’ has an amazing start, but totally ruins what it could be because she gets caught up in one really specific event at New Year’s. The opening is so dramatic, and the lyrics are so strong, and then she just kind of repeats this one small example too much, and it bothers me. Also ‘Bejeweled’ doesn’t seem like Taylor Swift, the thirty-one-year-old sang it; it seems more like Taylor Swift, the seventeen-year-old did.”

TC: Being an English teacher, how do you feel about the lyrics and how they are written?

MR: “Taylor Swift is a wonderful songwriter. The proof is in the pudding. She has ten studio albums and is massively talented. Who am I to critique her? I think it’s like anything else, if you are a poet or an author you have some hits and you have some that just don’t connect with audiences. I do think she has some catchy lyrics here. ‘Mastermind’  and ‘Anti-Hero,’ in particular, have some really great lyrics. If I can say this in the interview–I mean it is on the radio–I do not understand the need for her to use the line ‘You’re a sexy baby’ in ‘Anti-Hero’. I believe it is a reference to the T.V. show 30 Rock, but it does not land and it comes across very cringey, so I feel she had some missteps lyrically.”

TC: How did this album make you feel? Were there any strong emotions?

MR: “Yes, but I feel like I wanted the album to be more, you know, about those sleepless nights, the midnights, the self-doubt, self-deprecation. There are bits of that in there, but not enough. ‘You’re On Your Own, Kid’ I feel is very self reflective, as is ‘Anti-Hero.’ They’re about being hard on yourself and beating yourself up. I think this album is more about midnights, I think this album is also about being a neo-feminist, meaning being a  new-age feminist in 2022. It’s something that I definitely support, and I think ‘Midnight Rain’ in particular is about her wrestling with being in a perfect relationship and wanting more. She had everything that we’re told we should have in a relationship when we’re little kids, that perfect dream, but she wanted more. She wanted a career, so she sometimes has those restless nights thinking about whether or not she made the right choice. So coming back to the root of your question, yes there is some emotional depth to the album.”

TC: Were you able to relate to any of the songs presented on the album?

MR:  “A little bit, yeah. I feel it is a testament to Taylor Swift in general as a songwriter, she writes relatable music. I think that is why she is so popular. People are able to put themselves into the stories she tells. In ‘Anti-Hero,’ the idea of elements of your personality and your emotions constantly sabotaging you is very relatable. ‘Snow on the Beach’ talks about that strange, but also wonderful feeling of falling in love, or that feeling of falling in love with someone who you shouldn’t fall in love with. So I do think some songs are relatable, because not everything is cookie cutter. Sometimes life gets messy.”

TC: How do you feel this album compared to other pop artist’s albums, such as Harry’s House and Adele’s 30?

MR: “I’ve listened to both of those other albums, but Taylor Swift has a special place. I mean she’s my favorite, but I do have respect for both Adele and Harry Styles… they are immensely talented, and they both have amazing songs, but I feel that Taylor is a step above. I didn’t fully understand Harry’s House, and I thought that 30 was a step down from Adele’s 21 and 25. Being the same age as people like Adele and Taylor Swift, I can feel them being past their prime. It is scary to think that their best albums might  have come and gone. Are they no longer relevant in  today’s society and are they being replaced by newer and younger artists? I’m gonna say that they’re not too old and they had just put out some weird stuff due to Covid. Hopefully in the future they will put out better albums, but I will always feel extreme excitement when Taylor Swift releases a new album.”

TC: As a Swiftie, are you disappointed?

MR: “Yes and no. Yes, I’m disappointed because I don’t think this is the best album she could have released, but if I am being fair I did get thirteen new tracks not including the ‘3:00 AM’ version of the album. So I got roughly twenty new Taylor songs to listen to, which is awesome.”

TC: Do you think that any of the songs on this album could become one of your personal favorites?

MR: “I’m not sure, Taylor songs come and go for me. Sometimes I’ll rediscover a song I didn’t like the first time and like it much better the second time around. ‘Anti-Hero,’ ‘Midnight Rain,’ and ‘Mastermind’ currently have their teeth in me, so they have the best chance to go the distance to become one of my favorites.”

TC: What do you think could’ve been done better on this album?

MR:  “The main thing would be more focus on the Midnights concept. Taylor did dip back into albums like 1989 and reputation, but when she did they seemed like poor imitations of the older songs. I’ll give an example for the ‘deep swifties’: one of the “’3:00 AM’ tracks is called ‘Dear Reader,’ it is a good song but it seems like a remake of folklore, but with worse lyrics. Additionally, there is a song called ‘Marjorie,’ that’s about her grandmother on the album Evermore and again it has the same sound as ‘Dear Reader,’ but with superior lyrics. Also, if I’m being honest, there is way too much swearing on this album. As an English teacher, I understand swearing can be used artistically for benefit, but every single explicit track on this album could’ve done without the swearing and had the same effect. So I was a little turned off by the language in the album.”

TC: Do you think the album flowed well or was it composed of many different genres?

MR: “I think this album was very jumbled, that can be fun, because an album can become too much of the same thing, but because it was a concept album it allowed itself to be, because you can have different types of midnights, therefore you have different types of songs, but again the connection to midnight wasn’t strong enough so it didn’t really work. Some artists have done the ‘unreleased tracks straight from the vault’ thing, and it ends up being a hot dumpster fire of a mess, and not to be too harsh, but that is what Midnights kind of feels like.”

TC: Are you satisfied with the work she put out or do you feel it was overhyped?

MR: “Of course I’m satisfied–who am I to say Taylor Swift is an unsatisfactory song writer?–but I feel that she is dealing with something a lot of musicians and other performers deal with when you reach the level of stardom Taylor is at, is that when you have hit song after hit song, or hit movie after hit movie, it starts to become difficult to live up to your previous work. We have to realize she is human, and you can listen to the tracks you like and skip the ones you don’t, that’s why there is a skip button.”

TC: How do you think this album, in time, will be received by the music community?

MR: “I mean, it’s Taylor Swift, so it’s going to find its place in the catalog of great albums. I hear it’s breaking records on Spotify, so that alone is impressive from a streaming standpoint, and her vinyl sales are off the charts, so she has quite the fanbase. I do believe that there has been enough backlash for this album that she will cut ties with Jack Antonoff or he will only produce a few tracks and she will have other producers come in and collaborate, but I will be shocked if she does another whole album with him as sole producer. In terms of how it will age, we’ll have to wait and see.”


Check out Midnights wherever albums are sold!