Midnights: Taylor’s Love Story with Edinburgh

Niamh McCabe uses Taylor’s latest album, Midnights, to explore her relationship with Edinburgh…

I was taking a walk on a Friday night. I had just submitted the biggest project of my life; my magazine Quine, and I was listening to Midnights, the album by Taylor Swift

As I was reminiscing about my last four years in Edinburgh, I could not help but find some meaning in the lyrics. Taylor Swift wrote this album for the Edinburgh students, it is literally the guide to being a student in Edinburgh. It is so uncanny. Whilst listening, all I could do was take lyrics and place them alongside a fond, or not-so-fond, memory of mine. 

Dear Reader, I’m not one to gatekeep, so here are those said lyrics and what they remind me of. Hopefully, you can find the connection too, or maybe you can find some solace, you aren’t the only one who has done these things… 

Photo from: Vulture

Lavender Haze

“They are bringing up my history.”

That awkward moment when you see someone from back in your hometown at a flat party. You give them the eyes, ‘don’t say anything embarrassing about me,’ but they do it anyway. One, two, three, and they have spewed out every single thing you tried to bury when coming to University. 

The worst part is; no one even asked.


“‘How’d we ended up on the floor, anyway?’ you say. “Your roommate’s cheap-ass screw-top rose, that’s how’.”

    We have all been there, you are at a pres with Echo Falls. You know the rest. I’ve been there, embarrassing to admit, two bottles of Echo Falls in, one disposable camera and no memory whatsoever. All I have are those tortured disposables to remind me of the night. Suffice to say, this lyric really struck a chord with me. 

    Thankfully, I was not on the floor for most of the night. My flatmates moved me to my bed, there are disposables to prove it!

    Anti Hero 

      “I have this thing where I get older, but just never wiser. Midnight become my afternoons.”

      I am sorry, does this not perfectly sum up your University experience? One thing I realised when I was in University was I may be intelligent, but I surely am not wise. My flatmates had to take a fork from the microwave that I had put in (it was on for about three seconds, there is no need to keep on bringing it up, let’s move on). 

      When I would go out clubbing five days a week, midnights definitely become my afternoons. I’ve grown up, however, I now am that person who dedicates an Instagram post to going out because it has been that long. 

      I do have another one for this one. 

      “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is a sexy baby. And I’m a monster on the hill.” 

      This lyric reminds me of anyone going to Why Not over the age of 20. I was 20 in Why Not and felt decrepit with all these eighteen-year-olds in Oh Polly dresses holding onto their VKS for dear life as they packed themselves into the LED Room. Suffice to say, you will not see me back there.

      Photo from: StyleCaster

      Snow On The Beach (Ft. Lana Del Ray)

        “And it’s fine to fake it ’til you make it. ‘Til you do, ’til it’s true.”

        Taylor Swift has said it herself, we can fake it till we make it! I swear words that have made me the person that I am today. 

        You’re on Your Own Kid

          “The jokes weren’t funny, I took the money. My friends from home don’t know what to say.” 

          The song itself is really for any student about to graduate; we really are alone when we go out into the big bad world of employment. Yet, this lyric does speak a lot of truths.

          You are going back to your home town during any break, and Edinburgh becomes your main personality. You are wearing flares, a Letterman jacket and carrying a tote bag saying ‘shan’ at every opportunity possible. Who even are you? 

          Also, you take the money from your parents, they want to support you, but little do they know they are fuelling, or sorry, ‘supporting’ your next night out to Cowgate. They think it is a food shop, but little do they know, you will be three venoms and five shots in with their money. 

          Mum, Dad, but this was never me, I swear!

          “I search the party of better bodies. Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare.” 

          You have actually gone home with that person from the afters, and in a drunken haze realise that dreams do become a reality. Until you wake up in the morning and come to the understanding that they were not as gorgeous as your drunken haze had made you believe. 

          “I see the great escape, so long, Daisy May.” 

          When he is making his ‘great escape’ out of your bedroom after getting a phone call from his mummy. So long, Daisy May

          Midnight Rain

          “He wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain.”

          Turns out comfortable for him was stringing me along, and pain for me was toxicity in a relationship that fueled the tortured artist within me. We have all had that sort of relationship, situationship I think. You know, when it gives Connall and Marianne vibes. 


          “Did you ever have someone kiss you in a crowded room? And every single one of your friends were making fun of you.” 

          If you haven’t had this, I don’t understand. That’s me every time I go to Subway on a Wednesday, I feel like that’s my Hive. But, realistically, it is when you are kissing someone on Hive’s dance floor and you turn, see your friends laughing away, and the realisation kicks in. You get the biggest reality check of your life, or, you just embrace it and see what will happen. 

          Vigilante Shit 

            “Draw the cat eye sharp enough to kill a man.” 

            You are two VBLs in, getting your makeup done for a student night out at Tamagotchi, or a Love Wednesday with the girls. I feel like this song really resonates with going on a night out, with someone who broke your heart, and really, showing them what they missed out on. We have all been there. 

            I left those memories on the Subway’s dance floor. 


              “Did all the extra credit, then got graded on a curve.” 

              When you literally try your best but you don’t succeed. That feeling of despair that we all get when we think we have bagged a 70, but actually get a 63. 

              Also, group work with group marks, the bane of my actual life at University. Why do we still have them? When the grade falls because someone stops replying to your sixteenth email about them not contributing at all. 

              All those days at Kilby for what? 


                “You know how much I hate that everybody just expects me to bounce back. Just like that.” 

                You come sauntering in for your 8 am shift but stopped drinking at 3 am, and your boss wants you to sober up fast. I can’t do this Helen, it is not my happiness at work that is coursing through my veins, but last night’s VKs. That are simultaneously coming up my stomach if you catch my drift. At that point, you should have just phoned in sick and beared the consequences. 


                  “Cause if you dare, you’ll see the glare of everyone you burned just to get there.” 

                  It is a self-love day, you manage to snag a four-seater booth or the circle booth at Kilby all by your lonesome. If somebody asks, you are saving it for a friend! 

                  Sweet Nothing

                    “Cause they say the end is coming, and everyone’s up to something.” 

                    The club is away to shut. Are you going back to that person’s flat, is it a Pizza Paradise kind of night, or are you needing your bed ASAP? Either way, you will be sitting at that 9 am lecture with a high possibility of being disastrously hungover. 


                      “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Strategy sets the scene for the tale.” 

                      You sit through an hour-long tutorial about writing a good essay, listening to the poor lecturer pour their poor heart out, practically giving you the answers for a first. But, you take none of it in. You know the best plan is a whole lot of stress, no sleep, pure determination and an all-nighter in Kilby.

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