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The commercial success of Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” has verged on the comical. In its first week of release, it moved the equivalent of almost 1.6 million units, the most for any album since Adele’s “25” in 2015 (which didn’t start out available on streaming services). More than half a million of those sales were vinyl albums, a new record that shows her power in physical media. She is the first artist to occupy the whole Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, a new record that highlights the album’s first-week streaming strength.
But dig past the numbers and the album poses plenty of questions. Should Swift dial back her collaboration with the producer Jack Antonoff? Are Swift’s lyrics getting more or less specific? Is “Karma” camp? And should Swift pursue a more … chaotic path?
On this week’s Popcast, a reckoning with Swift’s midcareer artistic choices and advice for her next steps.
Madison Malone Kircher, a Styles reporter for The New York Times
Quinn Moreland, a staff writer at Pitchfork
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