You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Taylor Swift Releases ‘Beautiful Ghosts,’ Her Andrew Lloyd Webber Collaboration for ‘Cats’

Not to be buried among the week’s other Taylor Swift news, the singer has released her recording of the song she wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber “Beautiful Ghosts,” which will be heard over the end credits of “Cats” upon its release Dec. 20.

Hers is one of three versions of “Ghosts” that will be heard in the film, as Swift and Lloyd Webber wrote it primarily to be sung by Francesca Hayward, who plays Victoria, the white cat that has been made a central figure in the film adaptation of the 1981 stage musical. It’ll also be heard as a reprise sung by Judi Dench. Swift’s version is not, as rumored by some, a “pop” version; with its lush orchestration and dynamics, it’s very much of a piece with the music that’ll be heard in the body of the film.

Although it’s hardly a country song, Swift is indulging in an old country music tradition, as well as a Broadway one: the answer song. And what it’s answering is the tune that broke out of the stage “Cats” and became a standard in the 1980s, “Memory.” In the film, as on stage, Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson) will sing that standard about her glamour days being over, Now, Victoria essentially tells Grizabella that at least memories are better than nothing, which is what she feels she has.

But, as Lloyd Webber told Variety in a recent interview, “as she goes through the song, she becomes empowered.” So, after two downbeat verses and choruses and a bridge, the lyrics change to a more upbeat mode for the final chorus. As the kitten finds her community on the streets with some other scrappy cats, the early chorus line “Born into nothing / At least you have something” turns into “…with them I have something,” and “Visions of dazzling rooms I’ll never get let into” becomes “I never knew I’d love this world they’ve let me into.”

Belying the fact that the song was written to be sung by the youngest member of the cast, Swift returns to a more youthful tonality in her voice in her reading of the song, too, with an interpretation that makes her sound more like the ingenue of her “Fearless” days than the domineering figure of “Reputation.” In essence, we’re hearing the return of the ghost of the younger Swift.

We now return you to the regularly scheduled cattiness of the music industry.

More Music

  • Juice Wrld Dead

    Rapper Juice Wrld Dead at 21 (Report)

    Juice Wrld, the fast-rising young rapper best known for his 2018 hit “Lucid Dreams,” died on Sunday shortly after suffering a seizure at Chicago’s Midway Airport, according to a report from TMZ. He was 21 years old. While no cause of death has been announced, TMZ cited law enforcement sources who claimed that the rapper, [...]

  • Billie EilishVariety Hitmakers Brunch, Inside, Los

    Read Billie Eilish’s Complete Thank You Speech at Variety’s Hitmakers Event

    Billie Eilish was named Variety’s Hitmaker of the Year at our annual Hitmakers event in Hollywood on Saturday.which also featured Lil Nas X, Kacey Musgraves, Tyga, YG, Ellie Goulding and others.  She thanked many people, including her brother and collaborator Finneas — whom she welcome onstage to share the award — her family, her team, [...]

  • Billie Eilish and Finneas

    Billie Eilish, Finneas Talk Dealing With Meat Dress, Van Halen Trolls

    Billie Eilish might have become the subject of some online vitriol after she had a less than enthusiastic response to Lady Gaga’s 2010 VMAs meat dress and admitted she didn’t know Van Halen, but Variety‘s 2019 hitmaker of the year really doesn’t care. “I didn’t even know about it,” she said of the uproar. “I don’t [...]

  • BTS New Music

    BTS Says New Music Coming Soon (Watch)

    The seven-member boy band known as BTS announced that they were in the process of creating new music and an album will be out soon at Variety‘s Hitmakers brunch at the Soho House in West Hollywood on Dec. 7. In their acceptance speech for Variety‘s group of the year, RM expressed gratitude for their fans [...]

  • Sheryl Crow poses in Nashville, TennMusic

    Sheryl Crow on Threading the Music Biz Needle: 'The Fact That the Album Exists is My Reward'

    Sheryl Crow is a survivor. Not only of breast cancer, a brain tumor, debilitating depression and a toxic relationship (don’t even ask about Lance Armstrong) but also the music industry. The controversy surrounding songwriting credit — not to mention two related deaths, including her ex-boyfriend and collaborator, Kevin Gilbert — linked to her Grammy-winning debut [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content