Chinese Netizens Divided Over New Taylor Swift Album ‘Midnights’

Chinese Netizens Divided Over New Taylor Swift Album ‘Midnights’

Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album, ‘Midnights,’ is the priciest digital album ever sold in China. Dedicated fans are still listening — but overall opinions are conflicting

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12:32 PM HKT, Mon October 31, 2022 1 mins read

Midnights, Taylor Swift’s return to pop, dropped (predictably) at midnight on October 21. Priced at 35 RMB (about 5 USD) on QQ Music, the digital album is reportedly the most expensive to ever have been sold in the Chinese market.

Despite the unprecedented price, however, more than 281,000 copies have been sold on QQ thus far. The album has received an admirable average rating of 7.6/10 on review aggregator Douban Music, although listener comments highlight a range of divergent opinions.

Billed as the stories of “13 sleepless nights,” the synth-heavy songs of Midnights range from upbeat R&B in the opening track, ‘Lavender Haze,’ to rhythmic, ‘Bad Blood’-esque cheek in ‘Karma.’

This most recent release is reminiscent of 1989 and Reputation — the American singer-songwriter’s fifth and sixth albums, though Midnights is considered more sensual and sophisticated.

scenes from the bejeweled music video taylor swift midnights

Scenes from the ‘Bejeweled’ music video. Image via @butwhatcanitay on Twitter

However, the new LP is a definite departure from the nostalgic indie atmosphere of Swift’s pandemic-era records, folklore and evermore.

Acolytes of the two indie albums expressed their dismay at Swift’s return to pop. One Douban reviewer, who gave the album merely 1.5 stars out of five, wrote that “the creator of folklore and evermore releasing such work [Midnights], without changing melodies, and with ordinary or even childish lyrics, it feels like [she’s just] going through the motions.”

Another, who referred to the album as the “most disappointing of the year,” wrote that “‘Vigilante Shit’ [the album’s eighth track] tortures listeners’ spirits and makes them want to smash their phones after listening to it.”

Conversely, many other fans loved the maturity and tone of Midnights. One reviewer wrote, “The whole album is full of the intimacy of adult bedtime stories.”

Similarly, another commented, “These songs are like candlelight flickering at midnight, both quiet and vivid. I really like this kind of pop, despite its differences from the straightforward cheer of her Lover era,” referring to Swift’s seventh album.

taylor swift miss americana

Taylor Swift in the 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana. Image via IMDb

Polarized views on Midnights aside, Swift enjoys long-standing popularity among Chinese fans.

Last year, her re-recorded album Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was the best-selling album on all major Chinese music streaming platforms, outperforming famous Chinese artists, including Jay Chou and Lay Zhang.

Chinese fans also call her by the affectionate nickname Meimei (霉霉) for her beauty (mei 美 is a homonym for beauty in Chinese) and her previous misfortune in dating (daomei 倒霉 means ‘unlucky’).

Cover image via Twitter

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