Meow, Swifties, Taylor Swift's original song for Cats is finally here. On Friday, Swift released "Beautiful Ghosts," which she wrote for the upcoming film with Andrew Lloyd Weber.
On "Beautiful Ghosts," Swift breaks out her best faux-English Madonna accent, powers up that little alto voice, and says "Yes, I will be nominated for an Oscar." The song is melancholia at its finest, but it's still a bit hard to reconcile it with the existing Cats libretto.
"Beautiful Ghosts" will appear three times in the film: it's first sung by Victoria (Francesca Hayward), the white cat, and later a reprise is sung by Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench), and then Swift's version is sung over the end credits. Last month, Lloyd Weber told Variety that it was important to give the white cat (who is mainly a ballerina in the stage version) a song "to have some kind of reaction to what's going on around her. We felt there had to be a major statement for her, something that had the spirit of [T.S.] Eliot but also was specific to the story."
Hours before the release of "Beautiful Ghosts," Swift launched the latest grenade in her ongoing war with her former manager Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records founder Scott Borchetta. In an open letter, Swift claimed the pair -- who bought the masters of her older work out from under her in June -- are attempting to block her from using her old music at all of her upcoming live performances, which include an appearance at the American Music Awards, and a planned Netflix documentary about the last few years of her life.
"I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate," wrote Swift. "The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you'll be punished."
Swift pleaded with her fans and with artists who work with Braun and Borchetta to join her in calling for them to release her music. The hashtag #IStandwithTaylor is still trending on Twitter.
But Big Machine Records released a statement with a very different version of the story, claiming that the "narrative [Swift] created does not exist." They said they "have continued to honor all of [Swift's] requests to license her catalog to third parties" and point the blame at Swift for the ongoing legal battle. "Rumors fester in the absence of communication," the label insisted. "Let's not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve."
Cats is in theaters Christmas Day.
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