Review: Zayn and Taylor Swift – I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Pop)

This review covers the pop track Zayn and Taylor Swift – I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.

This track was released in 2016 as a single. It also appears on the movie official soundtrack, Fifty Shades Darker.

The track starts off with some synth chords as well as some vocal samples. From there, the track goes into a verse with a very slow tempo. Generally speaking, so far, the track has a logical flow with it’s minimal sounds.

After this part, the vocals go up by a whole octave. Bear in mind, these are male vocals moving into the higher octave. At this point, it is very clear that the vocals were just not meant to hit those particularly high notes. For vocal talent, there is a certain range the vocals can hit and still sound good. Some can reach into the higher ranges while others can reach the lower ranges. A few particularly talented voices can reach various extremes on both ends of the spectrum. In this case, the vocals clearly don’t sound that good at such high notes, so it’s a mystery why it didn’t stay on the cutting room floor. They almost sound like a screech sound in my view.

From there, the vocals go back into their more natural range while a piano element is brought in. My expectation is that the vocals will stay there throughout this part of the chorus. Instead, it ping-pongs back and forth between near screech sounds and normal sounds. Even with vocals that can reach those higher notes, it would be difficult to pull off. In this case, it hits all sorts of tones that really make a mess of the overall sound.

From here, the female vocals come in going into the next verse. The pluck synth synth generally works better than I would’ve expected. Still, with the type of lyrics that are on display, the backing pads don’t exactly mesh with the overall mood. If the lyrics were calm and soothing, the backing pads would make sense, but the theme is drastically different. So, it is an emotional mismatch even though it doesn’t necessarily sound all that bad. All you have to do is ignore the lyrics and this problem goes away.

The high note problems return going into the main chorus and the problems of the main chorus do repeat.

Going into the next chorus, I think to myself that at least these sections are worth listening to. This ends up being a mistake because randomly splashed in are the uncomfortably high notes throughout this section.

The main chorus comes back with some added bassline. While this is actually a decent way to add flow, the flaws ultimately overshadow this sense of musical progression.

At the end of the track, there is some mumbling lyrics at the end. This is a new element just seconds towards the end of the track. While it does seem a bit out of place, it isn’t a terrible thing to hear at the end. While the lead out of this track is brief, it does tie up the track somewhat. So, its as if there is thought put behind the track.

Generally speaking, this is one of those tracks that has one element that really ruins the listening experience. That element is the male vocals hitting notes higher than they are capable of. As a result, they almost have a screeching element throughout the track. While one element doesn’t always make for a bad track, in this case, the producers seemingly relied on this shoulder to the wheel from beginning to end. This makes for a ruined listening experience from beginning to end with hardly anything to salvage throughout. The problem of emotional mismatch part way through only makes matters worse. Because of this, I would say that this track just isn’t worth listening to.


Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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