Beautiful Ghosts

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"Beautiful Ghosts"
Taylor Swift - Beautiful Ghosts.png
Promotional single by Taylor Swift
from the album Cats: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
ReleasedNovember 15, 2019 (2019-11-15)
Lyricist(s)Taylor Swift
Lyric video
"Beautiful Ghosts" on YouTube

"Beautiful Ghosts", alternatively titled "Beautiful Ghosts (From the Motion Picture Cats)", is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for the 2019 Cats film adaptation, in which Swift played Bombalurina. The song was written by Swift (lyrics) and Cats creator Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), and produced by Greg Wells, Lloyd Webber, and Cats director Tom Hooper. It was released on November 15, 2019. The song is performed in the film by the principal character Victoria, portrayed by Francesca Hayward as its signature song. A 30-second reprise is also sung by Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy.[1] Swift performs the official single version that is played over the ending credits.[2]

Upon release, the song received positive reviews from music critics. It received a nomination for Best Original Song at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, and is nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards—Swift's third nomination for the latter, following "Safe & Sound" (2011) and "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (2016).

Background and release[edit]

As a concept, the then-untitled song was first reported in early 2018, when the film adaptation was in early stages of production.[3] The song was designed to provide a way for Victoria to introduce her character to the audience, as she communicates solely through gestures and dance in the original stage show.[2] Swift described the song as such:

"Beautiful Ghosts" is sung from a young voice who is wondering if she will ever have glory days. Longing for the sense of belonging she sees everyone finding. Reaching for it, desperately afraid of never having beautiful ghosts of days gone by to cling to in her older years.[4]

The song was released on digital platforms and to streaming services on November 15, 2019, one month before the film's theatrical release.[5] A lyric video for the song was released on YouTube the same day. The lyric video has over 6 million views on YouTube.[6]


The song has a running time of four minutes and twenty-one seconds. It is in the key of E, modulating from minor key in the verses to a major key in the chorus with a vocal range spanning from G#3 to C#5. It has a tempo of 60 beats per minute. The song is in a compound meter that changes between 6
and 9
time signatures throughout most of the song, with the ending in compound septuple meter 21
.[7] The orchestral ballad started as an acoustic melody composed by Lloyd Webber.[2] During rehearsals in December 2018 at his London studio, he played Swift the melody on the piano, and Swift immediately started improvising lyrics.[1][4] According to Lloyd Webber, the two "wrote 90 percent of it pretty much over an afternoon."[1] He described the collaboration with Swift as "a joy", the collaboration as "one of the finest of [his] 50-year career",[8] Swift's lyrics as "brilliant", and her performance of the song as "emotional" and "among the very best [he's] ever had". [9] Tom Hooper, director of the film and a producer of the song, complimented the "extraordinary beauty" of Swift's lyrics and praised Swift for her "profound understanding of what we're trying to do with the movie."[10]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received positive reviews from music critics, who praised Swift's vocal performance. Darlene Aderoju and Joelle Goldstein of People described the song as "chillingly-beautiful" and a "haunting melody" that "speaks to a feeling of longing to be wanted and reminiscing on better memories." They also praised Swift's singing, describing it as "impressive pipes beyond her typical country-pop style", especially the final belted note.[10] Writing for HuffPost, Ron Dicker complimented Swift's vocals, referring to the song as "hauntingly gorgeous" and an "absolute showstopper".[11] Elite Daily's Jessica Bolaños opined that the song is "nothing short of perfection" and stated that the lyrics are "dripping with passion".[12][13] Chris Willman of Variety wrote that the song is a return to the "youthful tonality" in Swift's voice, typical of "her Fearless days".[14] Brittany Spanos and Ryan Reeds of Rolling Stone described the song as "cinematic" and "wistful". They also opined that the song "builds to a rousing climax with the singer's voice in a full roar".[15] MTV's Madeline Roth praised Swift's vocal performance and labeled the final high note of the song as "more powerful than anything we've heard from T. Swift in recent memory".[16] Carolyn Droke of Uproxx wrote that the song is about "the melancholy feeling that comes with reminiscing on old memories" and appreciated Swift for showing off her vocal range.[17]

Others gave the song less favourable reviews. Adam Feldman wrote for Time Out that "Beautiful Ghosts" is "terrible", saying that "Swift's lyrics clank with banality at nearly every turn of phrase".[18] Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post agreed, calling the song "a boring 'Memory' copycat", "an awkward fit" and "a desperate attempt to be affably plain".[19] Leah Marilla Thomas of Cosmopolitan praised the final chorus, but described the song as "a little bonkers" and said that listeners need to lower their expectations before listening.[20] Various Vulture staff also criticized the song, describing the lyrics as nonsensical and corny; Swift's vocal performance was criticised, with Rebecca Alter summarizing the song as Swift "leaping for that note and falling off a cliff".[21]


The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, becoming Swift's third nomination in the category, following "Safe & Sound" (2013) and "Sweeter than Fiction" (2014).[22] At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, "Beautiful Ghosts" is nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media, marking Swift's third nomination in the category, following "Safe & Sound" (2011) and "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (2016).

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated [23]
Huading Awards Best Global Film Theme Song Nominated [24]
Grammy Awards Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated [25]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[26]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber – producer, songwriter
  • Greg Wells – producer
  • Tom Hooper – producer
  • Gus Pirelli – engineer, studio personnel
  • Ryan Smith – mastering engineer, studio personnel
  • Serban Ghenea – mixer, studio personnel
  • John Ashton Thomas – conductor
  • Everton Nelson – orchestra leader
  • Susie Gillis – orchestra contractor
  • Eliza Marshall, Helen Keen – alto flute, flute
  • Anthony Pike – bass clarinet
  • Jodi Milliner – bass guitar
  • Andy Wood – bass trombone
  • Adrian Bradbury, Caroline Dearnley, Chris Worsey, Frank Schaefer, Ian Burdge, Paul Kegg – cello
  • John Carnac – clarinet
  • Jane Marshall – cor anglais
  • Allen Walley, Mary Scully, Richard Pryce, Steve Mair – double bass
  • Alexei Watkins, Martin Owen, Richard Watkins, Simon Rayner – French horn
  • Skaila Kanga – harp
  • David Thomas – oboe
  • Chris Baron, Frank Ricotti – percussion
  • John Ashton Thomas, Peter Murray – piano
  • Bill Lockhart – timpani
  • Ed Tarrant, Mark Nightingale – trombone
  • Dan Newell, Kate Moore, Pat White – trumpet
  • Owen Slade – tuba
  • Andy Parker, Gillianne Haddow, Gustav Clarkson, Jake Walker, Martin Humbey, Peter Lale, Polly Wiltshire, Sue Dench – viola
  • Dai Emanuel, Dave Williams, Debbie Preece, Debbie Widdup, Emil Chakalov, Everton Nelson, Ian Humphries, Jonathan Evans-Jones, Julian Leaper, Kate Robinson, Laura Melhuish, Lorraine McAslan, Mark Berrow, Martyn Jackson, Miranda Dale, Natalia Bonner, Odile Ollagnon, Patrick Kiernan, Paul Willey, Ralph de Souza, Richard George, Rick Koster – violin


Chart (2019) Peak
Australia Digital Tracks (ARIA)[27] 22
Canada Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[28] 31
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)[29] 5
Hungary (Single Top 40)[30] 26
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[31] 36
Scotland (OCC)[32] 44
UK Download (OCC)[33] 32
US Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[34] 14

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 15, 2019 Polydor [35]


  1. ^ a b c Burlingame, Jon (October 24, 2019). "Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber Have Co-Written a New Song for 'Cats'". Variety. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Vlessing, Etan (October 24, 2019). "Andrew Lloyd Webber Talks Working With Taylor Swift on New 'Cats' Song". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 5, 2018). "Andrew Lloyd Webber Pens New Song for Possible Cats Film". Playbill. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Swift, Taylor (November 15, 2019). "The Importance of 'Cats,' in Taylor Swift's Own Words". Billboard. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Aniftos, Rania (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift Releases 'Beautiful Ghosts,' Co-Written With Andrew Lloyd Webber for 'Cats' Film". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Swift, Taylor (November 15, 2019), "Taylor Swift - Beautiful Ghosts (From The Motion Picture "Cats" / Lyric Video)", YouTube, retrieved November 30, 2019
  7. ^ "Taylor Swift "Beautiful Ghosts"". November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Lloyd Webber, Andrew [@OfficialALW] (November 18, 2019). "Thrilled at the reaction to "Beautiful Ghosts". This collaboration with @taylorswift13 has been a joy, one of the finest of my 50-year career" (Tweet). Retrieved November 23, 2019 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Lloyd Webber, Andrew [@OfficialALW] (December 1, 2019). "Taylor's lyric for Beautiful Ghosts is brilliant and her emotional performance of our song must be among the very best I've ever had" (Tweet). Retrieved December 2, 2019 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ a b Aderoju, Darlene; Goldstein, Joelle (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift Shows Off Her Impressive Vocals in New Song 'Beautiful Ghosts' from Cats Musical Film". People. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Dicker, Ron (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift's New Song For 'Cats' Is An Absolute Showstopper". HuffPost. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  12. ^ Bolaños, Jessica (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift's "Beautiful Ghosts" Lyrics Will Make You So Emotional". Elite Daily. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Bolaños, Jessica (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift's "Beautiful Ghosts" From 'Cats' Shows Off Her English Accent". Elite Daily. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Willman, Chris (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift Releases 'Beautiful Ghosts,' Her Andrew Lloyd Webber Collaboration for 'Cats'". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  15. ^ Spanos, Brittany; Reeds, Ryan (November 15, 2019). "Hear Taylor Swift's New 'Cats' Soundtrack Song 'Beautiful Ghosts'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  16. ^ Roth, Madeline (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift Drops Her Pitch-Purrfect Cats Ballad 'Beautiful Ghosts'". MTV. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  17. ^ Droke, Carolyn (November 19, 2019). "All The Best New Pop Music From This Week". Uproxx. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Feldman, Adam (November 15, 2019). "The Taylor Swift song from Cats has dropped and it's terrible". Time Out New York. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  19. ^ Oleksinski, Johnny (November 15, 2019). "Taylor Swift's 'Beautiful Ghosts' is a boring 'Memory' copycat". New York Post. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  20. ^ Thomas, Leah Marilla (November 18, 2019). "Taylor Swift's 'Cats' Song Is Here and There's Sooo Much to Unpack". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  21. ^ "Let Us Gather to Discuss Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats Song". Vulture. December 9, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  22. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 9, 2019). "Golden Globes Nominations". Deadline. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  23. ^ Babiana, Ana Maria (December 9, 2019). "Nominations for the 77th Golden Globes Have Been Announced". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  24. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 28th Huading Awards -- "The Global Film Satisfaction Survey Release Ceremony"". Tyler Morning Telegraph. October 23, 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List". November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  26. ^ ""Beautiful Ghosts" (From The Motion Picture Cats) by Taylor Swift". Tidal. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  27. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 40 Digital Tracks" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. November 25, 2019. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  28. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "Greece Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  30. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  31. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. November 25, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  35. ^ "Beautiful Ghosts (From the Motion Picture "Cats") - Single by Taylor Swift on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 15, 2019.