Mastermind: Storytelling of the Decade

Eden Neihoff, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

On October 21, 2022, “Midnights” by Taylor Swift was released including the song “Mastermind,” the master-manipulator anthem. Compared to her previous albums this entire album has a very different feel to it. The track “Mastermind” is the best due to the storyline. In which a woman takes all the steps necessary to make a man fall in love with her. However, in the beginning it seems to be a regular love story. The story begins with the words, “Once upon a time, the planets and the fates. And all the stars aligned.” These lyrics suggest that it was all by coincidence.

The story begins to change during the chorus where the lead vocals sing, “What if I told you none of it was accidental? And the first night that you saw me, nothing was gonna stop me.” The song goes on to explain the guidelines that the protagonist followed to start this heist for the love interest’s heart. “I’m the wind in our free-flowing sails. And the liquor in our cocktails.” These lyrics are a metaphor for the control she has over the entire exposition of a relationship, like how she is the wind controlling their sails or the power that alcohol has in a drink that can make someone intoxicated. With the beautifully written end coming up she decides to apprise to her manipulation towards the love interest. “No one wanted to play with me as a little kid. So I’ve been scheming like a criminal ever since. To make them love me and make it seem effortless” These words have so much emotional value with the protagonist’s reasoning as she had been waiting and hoping to use her talent. The ending shows that the “Mastermind” behind it all actually has quite incorrect idea of her lover’s consciousness of the situation. She is now aware that he in fact knew along and she could tell just from a, “white smirk” on the love interest’s face. Aside from the intelligent, twisting storyline, the overall sound of this song is glory. A synth can be heard and a quiet beat along with the intense buildup. The break at the chorus that goes into the twisting bridge is probably the best part of the song. All in all the entire song is a beautiful ballad about a manipulative love story.