People lost their minds last night because Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik released a song. Kathleen made me laugh earlier when I texted her to tell her that I had to admit that I liked it. She wrote back that “Omg I tried so hard to hate it. I can’t hate it”. I Don’t Want To Live Forever is good pop. It was written by Taylor, Jack Antonoff, and Sam Dew for Fifty Shades Darker. And it’s a surprise. This is not what we were waiting for. Or expecting. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that Taylor Swift would close out the year by collaborating with Zayn Malik for Fifty Shades Of Grey. Although now that we know, looking back, maybe the signs were there. In September, Taylor stepped out, smugly, just after breaking up with Tom Hiddleston, with Zayn and Gigi. The photo that Zayn posted to announce the song was taken that night. You can see they’re wearing the same outfits:
And now she and Zayn have a hit. I Don’t Want To Live Forever went to #1 on iTunes an hour after its release. It also might give us some indication of what next year will look like for Taylor Swift. Or, at least, February.
You’ll recall, part of Taylor’s mega deal with AT&T involves a performance on Super Bowl weekend, the night before. That’s February 4th. Fifty Shades Darker comes out on a few days later, February 10th. Two days after that, on February 12th, it’s the Grammys. She’s not nominated but the schedule seems to suggest that she’s going to be around and top of mind. There’s no doubt that Taylor is working on something. I’m not mad that part of that something is I Don’t Want To Live Forever. Not only because it was a surprise, from someone who’s been more obvious than surprising, but also because she might be showing us where she’s going. Can you hear her on this track? She’s almost … moaning. Like, she’s trying to sing with a sex voice. If 1989 was the era of new-pop Taylor Swift living in New York, all independent and all about her girlfriends, the next album could be about sex-pop Taylor Swift, horny as f-ck, not obliquely but directly telling us that, sometimes, you just need a good dicking. Can she pull it off? I mean, I don’t know. But I kinda want to see her try.