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          Taylor Swift’s ‘Cats’ Song Is Here and There’s Sooo Much to Unpack

          These lyrics!!

          Cat, Felidae, Whiskers, Small to medium-sized cats, Carnivore, Snout, Arabian mau, Fawn, Fur, Kitten,
          Warner Bros.

          The Cats movie might have basically bombed at the box office, but that doesn’t mean we’re done hearing about it. Taylor Swift not only acted in the film but also wrote an original song for it called “Beautiful Ghosts.” She wrote the new song with Andrew Lloyd Webber, and it’s up for the Best Original Song award at the Golden Globes tonight.

          The movie itself raised so many questions that it’s hard to keep up, but so did her song. We’re here to dissect the lyrics as best as we can.

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          “Beautiful Ghosts” was tacked on to Cats 500 Internal Server Error

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          Look, I was 8 years old and a weirdo in the ’90s. I unironically loved Cats for a large portion of my childhood. Cats fans are the horse girls of Broadway and I’m not afraid to admit it. The white cat that “Beautiful Ghosts” has been written for? I loved her and always wondered why she didn’t have a song in the stage musical. In theory, I am the target audience for this content. But even I can admit that this song is a lot. Do yourself a favor and listen along with me:

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          Follow me home if you dare to
          I wouldn’t know where to lead you
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          So I watch from the dark, wait for my life to start
          With no beauty in my memory

          First, we gotta address how T-Swift has gone full Madonna and is pronouncing words like “chances” and “dances” with a vague British accent. We get it—she has a British boyfriend now. She says “uni” now. She goes to BAFTAs after-parties now. She’s clearly drawing on her own life and experience as well as T. S. Eliot’s poetry for these lyrics.

          All that I wanted was to be wanted
          Too young to wander London streets alone and haunted
          Born into nothing
          At least you have something, something to cling to
          Visions of dazzling rooms I’ll never get let into
          And the memories were lost long ago
          But at least you have beautiful ghosts

          It seems like Victoria might be singing this song to Grizabella, the once-glamorous cat who sings Cats’ most recognizable power ballad, “Memory.” If that is the case, Victoria is absolutely stealing focus from all of Grizabella’s pain and suffering by trying to make it about herself and telling Grizabella to be thankful that at least she had life. Check your kitten privilege, Vicky!

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          What exactly are the “beautiful ghosts” that the song is referring to? More memories? For some reason, “visions of dazzling rooms” has me picturing that last scene in Titanic—with Grizabella as Rose on the staircase, surrounded by echoes of dead passengers. So the T-Swift and Webber collective decided that Cats needed a second song about memory. Sure.

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          I’m also getting major “On My Own” and “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables vibes from the bridge, even though that’s not an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, just another ’80s/’90s mega musical. Now my mind is wandering Paris streets thinking about how Taylor was supposed to be Eponine.

          Perilous nights their voices calling
          A flicker of light before the dawning
          Out here, the wild ones are taming the fear within me
          Scared to call them my friends and be broken again
          Is this hope just a mystical dream?

          To bring it back to ALW, Taylor drops a Phantom of the Opera reference in the last verse. The Webber-verse lives!

          And so maybe my home isn’t what I had known
          What I thought it would be
          But I feel so alive with these phantoms of night
          And I know that this life isn’t safe, but it’s wild and it’s free

          Then, in the final chorus, the song does something very musical theater that I actually really love—it changes the words slightly so they have a different meaning. Now it is all about Victoria, sorry to Grizabella, and the cat friends she’s made along the way. The world she’s been let into, obvs, is the Jellicle world. Love this journey for Victoria. Love this journey for Taylor. Love this journey for me.

          All that I wanted was to be wanted
          I’ll never wander London streets alone and haunted
          Born into nothing
          Now I have something, something to cling to
          I never knew I’d love this world they let me into

          It’s possible I feel lulled by the waltz-y nature of the song, but I’m kind of looking forward to seeing “Beautiful Ghosts” inevitably show up on Dancing With the Stars and/or The Masked Singer. At the end of the day (another Les Mis reference, this time from me), I think I just want Taylor Swift to write her own musical. An original musical, not like a jukebox musical about her life or a dramatization of Red. She’s such a good songwriter, and the song she wrote for The Hunger Games, “Safe & Sound,” is actually one of my favorites. Sure, “Beautiful Ghosts” is a little bonkers, but so is Cats. Lower your meow-xpectations.

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