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Synths, Anxiety, and a Genius ‘Dear John’ Sequel: The Ultimate ‘Midnights’ Track-by-Track

From the sonic and lyrical influence of the Lover track “The Archer” to the harrowing revelations of the “Dear John” sequel “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve,” the depths of Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights deserve deep examination. That’s exactly what happens on the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, in which Brittany Spanos and Rob Sheffield (who both wrote about the new album) join host Brian Hiatt for a nearly two-hour-long track-by-track examination of Midnights, including the seven bonus tracks on the 3am Edition.

To hear the entire episode, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or press play above.ng many other topics, the panel (tastefully!) speculates on the lyrical targets of some of the songs, while also discussing Swift’s stronger-than-ever vocals, the influence of her Taylor’s Versions sessions, the electronically altered, deep-voiced alter ego she debuts, Midnights’ connections to past moments in her catalog, how Swift overcame the artistic challenge of writing confessional songs in an era of personal happiness, the real meaning of the much-discussed “sexy baby” line, and much, much more.

Download and subscribe to our weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts), and check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others — plus dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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