Last night, Taylor Swift was a big winner at the Grammys. Her latest album of original work, Midnights, was up for six awards. It won two, including Album of the Year.

But this was a mistake. The Grammys voters completely disrespected the state of music with Midnights' big wins. I get it's Swift, but the win felt like a desperate effort to make her the first four-time Album of the Year winner.

It's especially sad because Midnights is an awful album. Jack Antonoff shares these accomplishments as the primary producer and co-writer of most of the album (his Producer of the Year award is equally mind-boggling).

Congratulations to them — wins are wins — but the Grammys left several more deserving artists hanging.

Taylor Swift makes history

Taylor Swift with a Grammy and CBS logo.

After Fearless, 1989, and Folklore, Midnights becomes Swift's fourth Album of the Year winner. She was previously tied with Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon.

If Midnights was on the level of 1989 or practically any of her other albums, Swift would be golden. The notion of her winning her fourth Album of the Year Grammy isn't the biggest issue. It's the fact that such a subpar album won both Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.


Unless you're a Swiftie, I have a hard time believing you'd enjoy Midnights. I still remember listening to it for the first time, constantly asking myself, Did I just hear this? only to discover it was a different song.

Maybe it's a songwriting issue. It certainly doesn't help that all of the arrangements are generic pop beats. Like 1989 (Taylor's Version), Midnights is an embarrassment from a production standpoint. It's not as suppressed as 1989 (Taylor's Version), but Midnights is far from a technological feat.

Its tone varies, and not in a good way. Some songs like “Karma” and especially “Vigilante S**t” attempt to recapture the grunge attitude of Reputation. The radio-friendly pop hits, sans “Snow on the Beach,” fail epically to elicit any sort of response. They're all flat and even worse, uninspiring.

For as excited as Swift looked at the Grammys, I feel she knows she got away with highway robbery. There's a reason she plays her Midnights at the tail end of her “Eras” tour extravaganza — the songs stink. Sure, the fact it's her most recent album, or era, is key, but I prefer my theory. By that point in the show, her audience is worn out and will dance to anything.

To put it nicely, listening to Midnights is an exhausting exercise. Swift is more than capable of putting out good music, like her original 1989 album or Lover, but this was not it. And this is not a case where her worst is better than most people's best.

The other nominees

For Best Pop Vocal Album, the field was stacked. Olivia Rodrigo's Guts is a far better album. At least her music evolved between albums.

Ed Sheeran put out his most intimate and exquisite album, Subtract, which was up for the award. I can't speak to Miley Cyrus' Endless Summer Vacation or Kelly Clarkson's Chemistry, two albums I've failed to extensively explore, but there were clearly other options.

But okay, one win was fine. Swift took the Grammys stage and announced her next album, The Tortured Poets Department, which we can only hope is better than her last.

She then took home the biggest prize of the night, Album of the Year. She was up against SZA's SOS; Jon Batiste's World Music Radio; Boygenius' The Record; Lana Del Rey's Did You Know That There's A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd; Janelle Monáe's The Age of Pleasure; and Rodrigo's Guts.

You can take your pick. SZA made a case for herself after the performance she gave last night at the Grammys. The Record was an extraordinary debut album from Boygenius. Guts runs laps around Midnights.

The reality of it is, the Grammys' voting body made a popular and safe pick. There's a stark contrast in what is the most popular vs. the best.

I'd love to hear the argument that Swift's latest album is better than any of the other nominees. She's the biggest and most popular star on the planet, but what's the point of giving accolades away if they have no merit?

Where do the Grammys go from here?

Taylor Swift is not going anywhere, for better or worse. Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, she and her team have meticulously crafted her brand, and that has ensured she's here for the long haul.

But frankly, it's hard not to feel bad for the other artists in attendance. Sure, a lot of the artists Taylor Swift won Album of the Year over won other awards, but this is an awful album. Recognizing the album is the most baffling decision they made all of last night.

As Jay-Z lamented in his fiery Grammys speech, “Some of you don't belong in the category [Album of the Year].” Perhaps he was talking about Swift's Midnights.