Taylor Swift surprised fans Sunday night with the announcement of an all-new album, “Midnights,” set to come out Oct. 21.
The reveal of the album came during her climactic speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, as she accepted an award for video of the year, although she waited until midnight to reveal the name of the forthcoming record on her social media, along with not-quite-complete album art.
“We lie awake in love and in fear, in turmoil and in tears,” she wrote. “We stare at walls and drink until they speak back. We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren’t — right this minute — about to make some fateful life-altering mistake. This is a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching — hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve … we’ll meet ourselves.
“Midnights, the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life, will be out October 21. Meet me at midnight.”
Earlier, at the close of the awards show, Swift said, “You guys, I’m just so proud of what we made, and I now that every second of this moment that we wouldn’t have been able to make this short film if it weren’t for you, the fans,” she said, accepting for “All Too Well (10-Minute Version).” “Because I wouldn’t be able to re-record my album [‘Red (Taylor’s Version),’ which included the winning song] if it weren’t for you. You emboldened me to do that. And I had sort of made up my mind that if you were going to be this generous and give us this, I thought it might be a fun moment to tell you that my brand-new album comes out Oct. 21. And I will tell you more at midnight.”
The album art for “Midnights,” as presented, looks to emulate old-fashioned LP jackets in which the songs are listed on the front cover — but for current purposes, she just has them listed as “Track One,” “Track Two” and so on, up to 13.
Unlike her other recent releases, where the vinyl came out months after the digital versions because of the sneak attacks and pressing-plant backups, the product page for “Midnights” indicates that the LP version — pressed in a moonstone blue marbled edition — will ship on the Oct. 21 date that every other edition comes out.
Unlike other recent superstar releases, where the stars were at least known to be at work in the studio prior to their projects being announced, Swift had kept this one completely under wraps until now. Many of her followers had been expecting to see another edition in her “Taylor’s Version” series of re-recordings of her Big Machine catalog before the end of the year. But this release will consist entirely of fresh material — her first such album since “Folklore” and “Evermore” both came out as surprise releases five months apart in 2020.
Since those last two original albums came out of the same burst of creative energy working with the same producers during the pandemic, there’s been curiosity as to whatever she would move on to next would continue in that more subdued, acoustic, Americana vein, or bring her back more in line with the pure pop of 2019’s “Lover” and the albums that preceded it. The singer has not yet revealed what style the new album will be in or whether Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff will be back as producers.