Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik managed to sneak in right at the end of the 2016 to deliver a surprising pop duet. Sure, they share a bestie/girlfriend in model Gigi Hadid, but the two artists have distinctly different sounds—Zayn, fearless and sultry, and Taylor, mostly PG13 pop—so, recording a duet together didn’t seem like an obvious fit. But it totally works.
Teaming up with producer Jack Antonoff, Swift and Malik released “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” for the upcoming Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack in December. The two ‘longtime friends’ have now both covered the song acoustically on their own, leading us to ask—who did it better?
Swift is busily preparing for her first concert of 2017, which is going down on Saturday in Houston as a pre-Super Bowl show. Swift’s Coca-Cola sponsorship means she won’t be headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show, sponsored by Pepsi, anytime soon, making Saturday’s concert the closest she’ll get to the biggest day of the year in sports.
Sharing a video from her rehearsal for Saturday’s show, Swift’s acoustic performance of “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” is a slowed down version of the song that strips away the sexy overtones and replaces them with a sadness that gives us flashbacks to Swift’s early work on songs like “White Horse” and “Teardrops On My Guitar.” It’s really pretty.
Next up is Zayn’s acoustic version, which we feel is a bit unfair to compare to Taylor’s cover. Hitting the recording studio, Zayn released a full version of the song and a black and white music video, showing off his smooth vocals while giving an emotional delivery of the heartbreak track. The cover gives fans yet another way to enjoy an already impressive song, taking the sexy single to a new level by turning it into a ballad.
Of course, there’s also always Gigi Hadid’s lip synching version to consider. Let’s just say they’re all winners.