Taylor Swift, Arctic Monkeys and introspective music

A couple of the newly released albums that are resonating with Trinity students

Fans of indie and pop music have been given plenty of music to enjoy in the past couple of months with new releases from industry giants like Carly Rae Jepsen, Joji, Taylor Swift and Arctic Monkeys. Swift’s album “Midnights,” released on Oct. 21, was the topic of countless conversations in the months leading up to its release and was welcomed with an overwhelmingly positive response that was reflected in record-breaking sales. It was released in the same month as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “The Loneliest Time” album and only a few days before Joji’s “Smithereens” album released on Nov. 4. Arctic Monkeys’ new album “The Car” was released the same day as “Midnights” and also received glowing reviews that praised its heavily orchestrated and introspective, mysterious feel. The albums made their way across Trinity’s campus quickly, and students had plenty to say about both albums.

The album “Midnights” was announced after an era of re-recordings from Swift in which Swift revisited old, popular favorites like “Wildest Dreams” and the “Fearless” album. The artist’s newest collection of songs uses subdued beats and lofi-type sounds to produce a spacey, dreamy feel that matches the introspectiveness of its lyrics.

Swift was reported as “the greatest self-portraitist of our time” by an article in Vulture written the day before “Midnights” was released, which also discussed Swift’s use of lyrics. Swift does have a consistent history of songs with earnest lyrics that pour out her feelings for the world to hear, and these lyrics often deal with topics like love, relationships and dating in general.

“I think that it gives a lot of insight into her life over the years, which is really cool,” said Molly Schroeder, junior biology major and avowed Swiftie. “Lots of fan theories about what things are about.”
“Midnights” contains this same openness in its lyrical content. This quality plays a big part in making the music accessible to its listeners.

“I think the song ‘Anti-Hero’ related to me a lot,” said Bailey Silverman, a first-year planning to double-major in psychology and political science. “And I’ve definitely seen a lot of people on the internet and a lot of people who have listened to the album saying that they related to it as well.”

Those who experienced the profound impact of her music will also be happy to hear that Swift recently announced a 2023 U.S. tour. The long-awaited event, called “Eras,” showcases her new album and is expected to run from March to August 2023.

Much like Taylor Swift, Arctic Monkeys have a history of introspective lyrics, and “The Car” uses its lyrics to add layers of complexity that can’t be communicated through sound alone.
Arctic Monkeys released “The Car” on Oct. 21 and have tours planned in North America and Europe in 2023 which will showcase their new songs live from the stage. The album itself, with its carefully crafted lyrics and a mysterious, enigmatic tone reflected by the cover art, was described as “elegant” by the Guardian in a largely positive review published eight days after the album’s release. Matt Mendiola, senior math and computer science double-major, further expounded on this when asked about the album’s overall sound.

“Sonically, you have a little bit of funk, but mainly … a lot of orchestra things going on,” Mendiola said.

In order to fully understand the album, though, Mendiola said he needed to understand the lyrics.

“There’s a lot of hidden things going on, and allusions to history and other things like that happening,” Mendiola said. “I know when I first listened to it, my roommate and I [had] our own interpretations of what was going on. We would literally listen to it and then read it line by line, so we could try to find out what’s happening and at least come to our own conclusions or our own interpretations, almost like we were in an English class.”

The general consensus on both albums was that they contained a certain introspectiveness that “puts you in a pondering mood,” as Mendiola put it. Both are quite laid-back, and the quieter music is a welcome place to sit and rest and think about life for a while.

“When albums can make you think, and make you debate on what they’re talking about, I really enjoy that,” Mendiola said. “Because it’s not solely up to one interpretation. You can apply it to a lot of other things and it allows you to feel more connection with it.”