If you nurse a secret affection for the Greek statue-come-to-life that is Zayn Malik, then you've probably already listened to his collaboration for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack with Taylor Swift. But the "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" acoustic version is the better song. He of the beautiful brows dropped a solo acoustic version of the track just hours after Swift did the same, but there were some key differences. Swift's shows her performing it live while Malik chose to record his in a studio. Whatever, they're both beautiful versions.
Here's the deal. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" in its original, Fifty Shades Darker version is great, but it's electronic. It's custom-designed to get your butt to the dance floor in the shortest possible time. You'll be pumping your fists in the air for the chorus, regardless of how many beers you've necked. Which is great, kind of. Because when you examine the song's lyrics, you start to wonder, well, was an electro anthem the right direction for this track? If you take a song that's deeply personal and emotionally intense enough to serve as the backing for a movie about S&M, does a chilly electronic gloss do it justice? No, my friends. No, it does not.
The song opens like this:
I don't want to stereotype, but is this song about your first intense teen crush? Almost certainly, because, once you've weathered a few breakups, you know that life's also worth living post losing that special someone. And how did you soothe the pain back then? How did you apply balm to your achey-breaky heart?
I don't know what youths do now, because I'm at least a decade past teen-dom, but, back in my day, you grabbed your trusty acoustic guitar and you made up a song — kind of like that kid in Unfabulous. Maybe, if it was an extra intense song like the above, you played it extra quietly so your parents wouldn't overhear and offer you some unsolicited love life advice. As such, the acoustic version feels right. You know that's how you'd be playing it if you made up this song yourself.
It's a breakup song, but it's a sad breakup song, not a feisty one. It's basically the opposite of "I Will Survive." If they rename it, they should call it "I Might Not Survive," because seriously:
This is your drunken scribblings in your journal after your high school love broke up with you the day before prom. This is you weeping on your best friend for an hour watching Before Sunset way too soon after your breakup. As such, the intimacy the acoustic version offers, with both singers acting like a whisper in your ear, works so much better for this track.