Cats won't even be released for another two months, yet it's already given us so, so much. First there was the trailer, and all the many memes it spawned. And now: a new track from Taylor Swift, who collaborated with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, composer of the original Cats musical, to write a number for ballerina and lead actress Francesca Hayward. (So yes, it's Hayward's Victoria who'll perform the song, not Swift's Bombalurina.)
A new featurette, uploaded to YouTube and subsequently posted by Swift on Instagram, explains how the song, titled 'Beautiful Ghosts,' came together. Lloyd-Webber composed the music, while Swift wrote the lyrics. "When I first read the screenplay—and the film is seen through Victoria’s eyes—the first thing I said was, 'We have to have a song for Victoria.' It’s an incredibly important central part of the whole film," Lloyd-Webber explained.
"There was an ambition and aspiration to have an original song in the movie," Swift said. "Just very much this understanding of, 'Let’s write the best song we can.'" She told Lloyd-Webber, "When you started playing the music, it was just this beautiful, haunting melody."
Swift took inspiration from the roots of Cats: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, on which the musical was based. "T.S. Eliot is such a specific type of writer and uses such specific language and imagery, so reading through his work and everything, I just really wanted to reflect that within," she said. "You can’t write a modern lyric for Cats, so if you can’t get T.S. Eliot, get T.S."
Oh, and don't quote me on this, but it sounds like we might get both a Hayward take and a Swift take of 'Beautiful Ghosts' on the movie soundtrack—Swift's already recorded a studio version.
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