A week ago, if you'd asked me about the connection between Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik, I would've said, "Pretty sure they both know Harry Styles," and left it at that. But now Swift and Zayn's duet "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" lyrics have me thinking of them as some sort of tortured couple, and I can never go back. On the evening of Dec. 8, we were all living our lives, trying to come to terms with the fact that Swift won't have a new album out in 2016. Then, all of a sudden, the devilish little sprite and the former One Direction lad turned everything on its head with this collaboration.
"I Don't Wanna Live Forever" was produced by Jack Antonoff for the movie Fifty Shades Darker, the follow-up to 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey. Kudos to everyone involved, because there's nothing light or romantic about this couple or about these lyrics. We already know that Fifty Shades Darker will be a thriller. Fifty Shades of Grey was about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele meeting and falling in love, and its sequel introduces elements like stalking, blackmail, and even attempted murder by shadowy fringe characters trying to intrude on what the kinky couple have found together.
The influence of those themes are more than reflected in the lyrics to "I Don't Want To Live Forever". Zayn begins the song with:
Been sitting eyes wide open behind these four walls, hoping you'd callIt's just a cruel existence like there's no point hoping at allBaby, baby, I feel crazy, up all night, all night and every dayGive me something, oh, but you say nothingWhat is happening to me?
Right off the bat, we're talking imprisonment, fear, dread, cruelty, and insanity, so no, this isn't your average couple, even in their separation. And then Swift comes back with:
I'm sitting eyes wide open and I got one thing stuck in my mindWondering if I dodged a bullet or just lost the love of my lifeBaby, baby, I feel crazyUp all night, all night and every dayI gave you something, but you gave me nothingWhat is happening to me?
One thing I'm already seeing is this repeated theme of both characters "feeling crazy," which is exactly what I'd expect to happen if the relationship that was built in Fifty Shades of Grey was exposed to the outside air. Once other people start to infringe, things can get a lot more complicated — and potentially terrifying — and that appears to be what's happening in "I Don't Wanna Live Forever." Zayn and Swift are questioning everything, so I imagine that will be echoed in Fifty Shades Darker as well.
I've been looking sad in all the nicest placesBaby, baby, I feel crazyI see you around in all these empty facesUp all night, all night and every dayI've been looking sad in all the nicest placesGive me something, oh, but you say nothingNow I'm in a cab, I tell 'em where your place isWhat is happening to me?
The bottom line seems to be that these two characters — whether Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik or Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey — don't feel like themselves unless they're together. I'd imagine that will be a big theme of Fifty Shades Darker when it hits theaters on Feb. 14, 2017.