Taylor Swift treated fans to an acoustic rendition of her Billboard Top 5 Zayn collaboration, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)" as part of her rehearsal for her DirecTV Now Super Saturday Night Concert. Swift posted the one-minute-plus clip on YouTube on Feb. 2, the same day as her duet partner and friend Zayn also posted a solo version of the song. Listen to both renditions below.
Swift looks laid back and lovely in a casual black turtleneck, strumming a matching acoustic guitar. This version is considerably more mellow than the angst she exudes in the track’s official video. It’s a rehearsal, after all, and she doesn’t have a partner to plead with (or play with) as she floats through the familiar lyric. So any kind of romantic tension that pulsates between the two “Fifty Shades of Grey” characters the song was written for is noticeably absent.
That said, the song was Swift’s (and co-writers Jack Antonoff and Sam Dew’s) creative brainchild before they handed it off to the highly-anticipated upcoming "Fifty Shades of Grey" film sequel. The soft, acoustic side of Swift we see in this rehearsal clip reminds us of her guitar-strumming breakout years. We can almost hear, “When Drew looks, at me/I fake a smile so he can’t see” from her Billboard No. 2 Hot Country Songs hit “Teardrops on My Guitar” piping in somewhere in the background. Almost.
The edgier, more sophisticated Swift is recognizable here too. The song’s subject matter alone demonstrates her lyrical evolution from a shy teenage newcomer to a confident, twenty-something music industry icon. Fans and critics alike are anticipating Swift’s exclusive pre-Super Bowl LI Houston concert set and at this point, scoring tickets is like finding a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar wrapper.
Of course, celebs shouldn't have any trouble locking in a seat at the show. Former “Glee” and current “Scream Queens” actress Lea Michele (a huge, self-professed Swiftie) will be there. She recently told People, “There isn’t a day that goes by that Taylor Swift music isn’t blasted in my house. Right now, her new song with Zayn … if I play it one more time, I might combust. I love her.”
Check out T-Swift's "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" acoustic rehearsal, as well as Zayn's rendition, in the videos below and stay tuned to AXS for Taylor Swift updates.