Beautiful Ghosts

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Songfacts®:

  • "Beautiful Ghosts" was written for the 2019 movie adaptation of the musical Cats. The song was co-written by Taylor Swift, who plays the flirtatious Bombalurina in the film, and the musical's composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  • The only new song that was written for the movie, "Beautiful Ghosts" was composed with protagonist Victoria the White Cat in mind. In the original musical, Victoria didn't get any musical solos because it's primarily a dancing role, but Lloyd Webber decided the puss was such a central character she needed her own song.

    Swift asked if she could write the lyrics, and the pair got together at Lloyd Webber's London residence and at the family estate in Sydmonton, Hampshire. "Once we got started, it got written pretty quickly,' he told The Daily Mail.
  • "Beautiful Ghosts" is sung twice in the film: Once by ballet star Francesca Hayward, who plays Victoria the White Cat, and again in a brief reprise by Dame Judi Dench, who portrays wise Old Deuteronomy. Swift's studio version plays over the end credits.
  • Swift was aware the song was going to follow "Memory" in the movie. After Lloyd-Webber played a musical idea on the piano she started improvising lyrics with that in mind. Swift recalled to Zane Lowe:

    "As soon as he starts playing it, I start singing the top line. I knew exactly what this character would say if she was going to sing a song. I knew where in the movie they were going to put her song.'"
  • "Memory" is sung by the elderly Grizabella who harks back to her days as a glamorous dancer. Swift imagined Victoria reflecting on the song she's just heard and countering it with her own point of view. She came up with a lyric in which the young cat tells Grizabella that she has had wonderful moments and glamour in her life "but I have had nothing."

    Said Swift: "I could see this young person thinking like, 'What if I never have any of that in my whole life? What if that's lost on me? What if I don't get that ever? At least you have that to cling to.'"

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