Even the National Institute of Standards and Technology concurs that scheduling a meeting for “midnight” can cause misunderstandings.
Swift fans celebrated as she revealed her tenth studio album on Instagram on August 29. “Midnights, a collection of 13 nocturnal tales from different points in my life, will be released on October 21. I’ll see you at midnight.
Since then, Swift has been teasing the album on her social media accounts and has revealed the track list via a TikTok series aptly dubbed “Midnights Mayhem with Me.” It makes sense that there is a lot of hype surrounding this record. Despite the fact that we do know a little bit about what the album will contain—for example, one song will be a joint effort between Swift and singer Lana del Rey—one aspect is still a little hazy. When will “Midnights” be released?
I know I just mentioned it was released at midnight on October 21. But does that refer to the first or the last seconds on October 21? Do you state that it will occur on Thursday, October 20 at “midnight tonight”? Technically, which day does midnight belong to: the one before or the one after?
According to Swift, the answer to this query is simple enough. A clock at the top of the Taylor Swift Store, where pre-orders are possible, counts down till the album’s release. The hour of October 21 at 12 a.m. is approaching. So just to be really clear: If you stay up late on October 20 (or not so late, depending on who you ask), you’ll start out Friday by listening to fresh Taylor Swift songs.
But look: it’s objectively unclear to suggest that anything comes out “at midnight.” Here’s an attempt by Wikipedia to clarify the question of when a date’s “midnight” occurs: As the transitional hour between days, midnight resists straightforward categorization as either a portion of the day before or after. Although there isn’t universal agreement on the subject, midnight is typically seen as the beginning of a new day and is connected to the hour 00:00.
Even more trustworthy official sources are aware that “midnight” is a confusing time reference. According to the website of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, “the reference of time is evident when someone refers to “midnight tonight” or “midnight last night.” However, if a time or date is stated as “at midnight on Friday, October 20th,” it could mean either midnight at the start of the day or midnight at its conclusion. (Yes, NIST’s example chooses a date that is uncannily near to Swift’s release date. She has probably considered this.)
Specification of an event as taking place on a given day at 11:59 p.m. or 12:01 a.m. is a good idea, according to NIST, to avoid ambiguity. I understand that. However, “12:01 a.m.s” doesn’t have as great of a ring to it if you’re naming an album.
Photo Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org/