Meet Me At Midnight
This is not an article dissecting theories about how the Midnights album and era have been foreshadowed.
This is not an article looking for every Easter egg, which Taylor has lovingly and probably painstakingly added with nuance to every interview, social and media post for the last 2–3 years, and every outfit she’s been seen in since announcing the album at the 2022 VMAs in August.
No, this is the story of how I found and fell in love with her music.
In 2004, I was an incoming freshman at the University of Florida.
I was randomly matched with a roommate in the dorms, and Katie and I got along pretty well right away.
Katie and I ended up becoming best friends and living and working together for the next 5 years in Gainesville, Florida.
Katie came from Ohio but was a country girl at heart. She loved country music, cowboy boots, and even trying line dancing.
I was a scene kid in high school who loved underground punk rock shows, Warped Tour, and you could pry my Dickies pants and disgusting Converse from my cold, dead hands.
We became best friends.
We started our own traditions — road trips, new-semester piercings together, going dancing.
And mix CDs.
Every time we got in the car, Katie would produce a new mix CD she’d made for the drive. It always included a mix of classic rock (for both of us), country (for her), and punk (for me).
Over time, we learned the words to all of them.
It was on one of these CDs that she popped on a couple of songs from Taylor Swift’s debut album.
One thing that lasted through all of college was how much we loved live music.
For each other’s birthdays, we bought 2 tickets to a show. I always got her tickets to see a country artist and she’d get me rock band tickets.
Together we saw everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Brad Paisley.
And at the Brad Paisley concert in the early 2000s, a young, curly-haired Taylor Swift opened…