7 Artists to Watch If You Can’t Stop Listening to Taylor Swift's 'Midnights'
On October 20, at midnight, the earth stood still. Or rather, Spotify went down for all of seven minutes when Taylor Swift dropped Midnights. Breaking multiple streaming records in a single day, it’s clear that this singer-songwriter megastar is at the top of her game. Midnights is a brilliantly produced album full of tracks that showcase Swift's unique style of storytelling through song.
Swift has been inspiring a generation of singer-songwriters throughout her entire career. So, if you find yourself craving more, you should probably familiarize yourself with these seven artists we're watching right now. If you love Midnights, you're sure to fall in love with these up-and-coming singer-songwriter darlings.
If you have developed an obsession surrounding Swift's sultry pop collaboration “Snow on the Beach” with Lana Del Rey, then do yourself a favor and get introduced to Winona Oak. With a powerful yet smooth-as-silk voice of her own, Oak uses a visceral style of songwriting to share stories of her past. Her music oozes an infectious authenticity. Oak’s latest album Island of the Sun is full of wildly catchy tracks that also happen to be heartbreaking tales. You might find yourself bobbing your head and shedding a tear, simultaneously.
“Vigilante Shit” is a classic Taylor Swift angsty devil-may-care pop banger. However, no one on the scene is doing it better than Lilyisthatyou. Her brand of in-your-face, anti-establishment music is both refreshing and empowering. Lilyisthatyou doesn’t care about anyone's agenda or what people think. With a bold personality and the music to back it up, you might love to hate her or hate to love her. Either way, her latest single “Do I Make You Nervous” just dropped and it's definitely worth a listen.
“The Great War” is vintage Taylor Swift in action. It’s catchy, it's clever, and it's more than likely written about one of her exes. Kristiane channels this same energy in the title track of her new EP, State Lines. Her sophomore EP feels less like a folk album and more like an angsty alternative rock offering. Several tracks on this EP explore themes of past love, heartbreak, and the self-discovery that follows broken relationships. If those experiences are anything you can relate to, State Lines could make for a very cathartic listening experience.
A singer-songwriter’s greatest asset is their storytelling. But it’s not just about what you are trying to say, it's how you sing it. Taylor Swift's “Anti-hero” is a solid track that showcases her unique intonation. If you’re looking for something a little less bouncy and a little smoother, Gracie Abrams has a truly beautiful cadence that effortlessly draws you into the stories she is telling. Abrams crafts a very literal and candid style of music, yet the way she sings feels so poetic. Her song “Difficult” is a compelling track that exchanges metaphors for honesty and self-reflection.
Midnights does an amazing job of showcasing the versatility of Taylor Swift. It's her tenth album and it feels like she’s been picking up different styles along the way. So far in 2022, Dora Jar has released four very different singles. It’s almost as if she is making a statement—she is willing to take risks by experimenting with different flavors of pop early in her career. Whether that’s her latest stripped-down acoustic single “Spell,” or something a little funkier with “Bumblebee.” Having an eclectic array of sounds has her fans both curious and excited about what she might be releasing next.
Traditionally, the singer-songwriter genre has been dominated by acoustic artists with a folk flair. On Midnights, some of Taylor Swift's strongest offerings like “Maroon” and “Lavender Haze” are the opposite. She exchanges her acoustic guitar and piano for a catchy, vibrant 808. If you find yourself gravitating towards her more radio-friendly departures, then Tate McRae is your girl. Her music is high-energy and vibey, yet still has all the qualities of a talented singer-songwriter—honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity. With tracks like “she's all I wanna be” and “uh-oh” McRae isn’t afraid to tell it like it is—and she sounds excellent doing it.
Taylor Swift provides us with a couple of tracks steeped in honest self-reflection in “You’re On Your Own, Kid” and “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve." In the same vein, Abby Sage uses tracks like “High Five” and “Backwards Directions” on her debut EP to explore some of her complex emotions surrounding past experiences. The Florist weaves together classic and modern folk elements with hints of psychedelic rock mixed in. This lends the EP a unique atmosphere as Sage explores different combinations of sounds and styles.