Music, Arts

Taylor Swift’s “Lavender Haze” Excels in its Visuals, But Lacks Storytelling

★★★★☆

Fans of Taylor Swift have come to expect new content at a moment’s notice, as the star often announces albums, singles, and videos mere hours before their release. True to her style, Swift announced the music video for “Lavender Haze” on Jan. 26 and dropped it at midnight on Jan. 27. To portray the first track of her new album Midnights, Swift blends surrealism with cozy, vintage scenes to create a “sultry sleepless 70s fever dream,” rich in aesthetic power but lacking the storytelling prevalent in her other work. 

The video opens with an old alarm clock striking 12 as Swift’s voice echoes.

“Meet me at midnight,” Swift sings. 

The introductory line is an ideal gateway into the world of both the song and its corresponding album. As the video opens, Swift traces a galaxy pattern on the back of her co-star Laith Ashley who is asleep, and then crawls through a field of lavender in her living room. She dances in a purple fog as lush as the soft, layered vocals in the song’s chorus.

https://youtu.be/h8DLofLM7No

The use of surreal elements paid off in creating a unique aesthetic experience. Notably, the recurring motif of koi fish swimming in a galaxy pond provides a sense of playfulness that contrasts the maturity of the song. 

The most visually compelling scene of the video, however, arrives in the track’s resonant second chorus. Swift’s blue eyes and dark lipstick pop as the singer lies in a lavender-hued pool with lavender petals floating around her. While short lived, the scene is memorable and artistically distinct from the other shots. 

In true Taylor Swift fashion, fans immediately picked up on easter eggs within the video hinting at what Swift’s future projects may entail. 

The opening shot of “Lavender Haze” features a pan from Swift’s blue pedicure to her face, which caused online speculation that her next re-recorded album may be a return to her earliest work. Fans quickly pointed out the striking resemblance between this scene and her music video for “Our Song,” a hit from her 2006 self-titled debut album Taylor Swift, which begins with the same blue-painted pedicure sequence. 

Though Swift accomplishes striking visual moments, the music video falls somewhere in her creative middle ground. She hones in on a literal interpretation of her song’s title with a ’70s feel to support it, and the surreal elements integrate a fresh, dreamy quality. While the video is a satisfying visual landscape for the song, it lacks the plot-driven focus around which she often shapes her content—Swift’s storytelling is what usually sets her apart. Despite this fault, “Lavender Haze” checks all of the boxes for a strong video. As Taylor coyly mentioned in her Instagram post, “There is lots of lavender. There is lots of haze.” What more does she need? 

February 4, 2023