There’s just something so romantic about midnight — at least, musicians across the world seem to think so. Over the years, singer-songwriters have repeatedly pondered the magic, the beauty, the sadness and the symbolism of the inevitable witching hour, when one day reliably turns into the next.
For instance, one of pop’s most influential musicians has written about the subject so often in her work that she ended up making a whole album specifically in honor of 12 a.m. Taylor Swift’s Midnights — surprise announced during her video of the year acceptance speech at the 2022 VMAs — is devoted to all who “lie awake in love and fear, in turmoil and in tears,” as Swift herself said in a description of the album.
“We stare at walls and drink until they speak back,” she wrote on Instagram. “We twist in our self-made cages and pray that we aren’t – right this minute – about to make some fateful life-altering mistake. For all of us who have tossed and turned and decided to keep the lanterns lit and go searching – hoping that just maybe, when the clock strikes twelve… we’ll meet ourselves.”
Swift — one of many lyricists to muse about midnight’s melancholy — hit the nail on the head in terms of why 12 o’clock can be such an emotional hour of the night. But, as groups like One Direction and ABBA can attest, midnight is also often the time stamp on some of life’s most fun, carefree moments. From New Year’s Eve celebrations to all-nighters spent on dance floors, many of the best parties in life are just getting started when the day comes to an end.
Keep reading to see these moonlit moments when the word “midnight” has appeared in popular songs throughout history.