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Midnight Rain

Midnights (2022)

“Midnight Rain” is the sixth track on Taylor’s tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). Written and produced by Taylor and Jack Antonoff, she contemplates on a lost love and how she chose her career and fame over a quiet domestic life in her hometown.
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Background and Release

On August 28, 2022, Taylor announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, set for release on October 21, 2022. One month later, she began unveiling the tracklist in a randomized order through a video series on TikTok, called Midnights Mayhem With Me. It consisted of 13 episodes, with one song revealed per episode. In the fourth edition on September 28, 2022, Taylor announced the title of the sixth track as “Midnight Rain.”

Lyrical Theme

“Midnight Rain” is arguably the album’s centerpiece, as it best sums up Taylor’s concept of “13 sleepless nights” scattered throughout her life. In the lyrics, she contemplates on a lost love that she left back in her hometown and how she chose her career and fame over a domestic life. She reflects her contemplation on her own career path, the determination, ambition, and sacrifices that got her to such rarefied altitude. The song’s theme of leaving a small-town lover behind harkens back to previous songs Taylor had written, like “dorothea” or “’tis the damn season” from evermore (2020). In the prologue for Midnights, Taylor wrote:

«Sometimes sleep is as evasive as happiness. Isn’t it mystifying how quickly we vacillate between self love and loathing at this hour? One moment, your life looks like a night sky of gleaming stars. The next, the fog has descended. [...] The boy’s devastated face as he peeled out of your driveway. The family man he is now. What must they all think of you?»

Taylor left her hometown (presumably Hendersonville) to pursue her dream of becoming a famous singer-songwriter and didn’t want to be tied down as a wife. Here, “Midnight Rain” ties back to “Fifteen” from her second album, Fearless (2008). In that song, she sings: “Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday but I realized some bigger dreams of mine.”

Production

“Midnight Rain” has a slow pace, R&B-tinged electropop production. Driven by a distorted Moog synthesizer, the song incorporates dubstep-influenced bass, and house/trap-oriented, indie pop beats. It begins by featuring Taylor’s vocals pitched down and manipulated by Auto-Tune, and then transitions back to her normal singing voice. From there, the vocal shifts seem to act as a call and response between the song’s narrator and subject.

Live Performances

“Midnight Rain” is part of the regular set list of Taylor’s sixth headlining concert tour, “The Eras Tour” (2023-2024).

Critical Reception

Elise Ryan for the Associated Press found “Midnight Rain” to be a strong showcase of Taylor’s lyrical abilities for displaying “her unparalleled ability to make any emotion feel universal”, and selected the track as one of the album’s most sonically interesting. Gajjar and Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph also picked it as one the album’s highlights. In a review for Vulture, Craig Jenkins deemed “Midnight Rain”, among select Midnights tracks, to be indicative of Taylor’s abilities to create an R&B-tinged album, “a mannered genre reset constantly threatening to cut in an alluring new direction”. Spin critic Bobby Olivier found the vocal manipulation to be “well executed, […] landing an uncharacteristically soulful smolder”. Also praising the vocal production, Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic found that the “oozing and panning noises” “conjure a feeling of suspended time”. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard ranked it fifth on a ranking of all 13 Midnights tracks; “that woozy hook is rock-solid […], and when Swift eventually adopts the refrain in her own voice, the words cut through with righteous clarity, and greater power.”

Commercial Performance

Upon Midnights‘ release, “Midnight Rain” debuted at its peak No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 with 36.9 million streams, 2,200 downloads, and 449,000 airplay impressions. The song along nine others made Taylor the first artist to occupy the entire Top 10 of the Hot 100 and the woman with the most Top 10 entries (40), exceeding Madonna (38). In the United Kingdom, the song reached No. 7 on OCC’s Audio Streaming Chart and received a Silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It charted at No. 5 on the Canadian Hot 100 and was certified Platinum by Music Canada. In Australia, the song peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Top 50 Singles chart and received a Gold certification from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

“Midnight Rain” reached national record charts worldwide, at No. 2 in the Philippines, No. 3 in Singapore, No. 4 in Malaysia, No. 6 in Vietnam, No. 10 in India and Portugal, No. 13 in South Africa, No. 14 in Iceland, No. 19 in Luxembourg, No. 22 in Czech Republic and Lithuania, No. 26 in Switzerland, No. 28 in Slovakia and Sweden, No. 33 in Denmark, No. 35 in Norway, No. 37 in Hungary, No. 50 in Spain, No. 52 in Austria, No. 84 in Italy, No. 92 in Germany, No. 94 in Argentina, and No. 111 in France. The song ultimately peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Global 200 chart.

Lyrics

[Intro]
Rain
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
Chasing that fame
He stayed the same
All of me changed
Like midnight…

[Verse 1]
My town was a wasteland
Full of cages, full of fences
Pageant queens and big pretenders
But for some it was paradise
My boy was a montage
A slow-motion, love potion
Jumping off things in the ocean
I broke his heart ’cause he was nice

[Chorus]
He was sunshine
I was midnight rain
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
Chasing that fame
He stayed the same
All of me changed
Like midnight…

[Verse 2]
It came like a postcard
Picture perfect shiny family
Holiday peppermint candy
But for him it’s every day
So I peered through a window
A deep portal, time travel
All the love we unravel
And the life I gave away

[Chorus Variation]
‘Cause he was sunshine
I was midnight rain
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
Chasing that fame
He stayed the same
All of me changed
Like midnight

[Chorus Variation]
Rain
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
Chasing that fame
He stayed the same
All of me changed
Like midnight

[Outro]
I guess sometimes we all get just what we wanted, just what we wanted
And he never thinks of me
Except for when I’m on TV
I guess sometimes we all get some kind of haunted, some kind of haunted
And I never think of him
Except on midnights like this… (Midnights like this, midnights like this)

General Information
ArtistTaylor Swift
AlbumMidnights
ReleasedOctober 21, 2022
Recorded2021-2022
StudiosRough Customer (Brooklyn)
Electric Lady (New York)
GenreElectro Pop
Length2:54
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Jack Antonoff
ProducersJack Antonoff
Taylor Swift
MIDNIGHTS CHRONOLOGY
You’re On Your Own, KidMidnight RainQuestion…?
Single Certification
"2x Platinum" certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. Signifying 2,000,000 units sold.
Song Artwork
Announcement
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Official Audio