Wildest Dreams (Taylor Swift song)

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"Wildest Dreams"
Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album 1989
Released August 31, 2015 (2015-08-31)
Format Digital download
Recorded
Genre Dream pop
Length 3:40
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Max Martin
  • Shellback
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Bad Blood"
(2015)
"Wildest Dreams"
(2015)
"Out of the Woods"
(2016)
"Bad Blood"
(2015)
"Wildest Dreams"
(2015)
"Out of the Woods"
(2016)
Music video
"Wildest Dreams" on YouTube

"Wildest Dreams" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fifth studio album, 1989. The song was released to radio by Big Machine Records on August 31, 2015,[1] as the album's fifth single. Swift co-wrote the song with its producers Max Martin and Shellback. Musically, "Wildest Dreams" is a love ballad with a prominent dream pop influence, with the lyrics describing Swift's plea for her lover to remember her.

Following the release of 1989, it charted in the United States, Canada, and Australia on the strength of digital downloads, after its release as a single, it reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the fifth consecutive top-10 song from 1989 and Swift's 19th top-10 single on the chart.[2] It also became her sixth chart topper on the Radio Songs chart.[3] Later a remix by Dutch DJ R3hab was released digitally in October 11, 2015.

Writing and composition[edit]

Swift wrote the track with the song's producers, Max Martin and Shellback.[4] Reviewers compared the song to the works of Lana Del Rey.[5][6] Written in the key of A major in Mixolydian mode and set in a common time signature, it has a relatively slow tempo of 69 beats per minute. Swift's vocal range spans from E3 to E5.[7] The song samples With Every Heartbeat by Robyn and Kleerup.

Critical reception[edit]

Sputnikmusic called the song an "impassioned piece" and thought that, "all it really proves is that Swift is capable of taking the contemporary influences around her and molding them into something impressively original."[5] Corey Bealsey of PopMatters described it as "Swift doing more or less a literal Lana Del Rey impression and managing it with a ventriloquist's mastery to conjure Del Rey's moody, sultry atmospherics."[8] Marah Eakin of The A.V. Club said that "Swift even takes her voice down a few notches, sounding a bit more like the brusque Del Rey than her chipper self."[6] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian praised the wit of the lyrics: "there's something hugely cheering about the way Swift turns the [Lana del Rey-style] persona of the pathetic female appendage snivelling over her bad-boy boyfriend on its head. Ramping up the melodrama by way of Be My Babyish drums, Wildest Dreams paints the man as the victim, doomed to spend the rest of his life haunted by what he's carelessly lost."[9] In a review by The New York Times, noted that this song contained the "most pronounced vocal tweak" on the album and how "at the bridge, she skips up an octave, sputtering out bleats of ecstasy, before retreating back under the covers."[10]

On the other hand, Craig Manning of AbsolutePunk dismissed the song as "a bit disposable".[11] Jem Aswad of Billboard had a mixed reception about the Lana Del Rey similarities, saying that "it's hard to tell if the song is homage or parody."[12]

Chart performance[edit]

"Wildest Dreams" first entered the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 76 on the week ending November 15, 2014 as a cut from 1989. Following its release as an official single and the release of an accompanying music video at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at number 15 on the chart dated September 19, 2015, it reached number 12 the following week, and peaked at number 5 on November 7, 2015. The song's peak position made Swift only the fourth artist to have at least one single peak at each position of Billboard's top 10 as the lead performer (after Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Madonna).[13] It re-entered the Billboard Digital Songs chart at number 7 selling 83,000 copies (up 981% from its previous week sales). At the Billboard Radio Songs chart it debuted at number 26 with 43 million audience impression (up 114%).[14] It climbed to the top position of the Radio Songs chart on the week ending November 14, 2015,[15] on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart, the single became Swift's first number one.[16]

Music video[edit]

Development and synopsis[edit]

Parts of the video were shot in the Serengeti, Tanzania.[17]

The accompanying music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, who previously directed the music videos for the second and fourth singles from 1989 ("Blank Space" and "Bad Blood"). The music video was filmed in Africa and California,[18] the video was first aired on television during the pre-show of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015.[19] Scott Eastwood appeared in the video.[20] In the video, Swift plays a fictional actress named Majorie Finn which is a reference to her grandmother's name, Majorie Finlay, and Scott Eastwood plays a fictional character named Robert Kingsley. Swift's grandfather's name was Robert and her dad's middle name is Kingsley. Swift came up with the concept after reading a book by Ava Gardner and Peter Evans, The Secret Conversations, her premise for the video is that—since social media did not exist in the '50s—it would be impossible for actors not to fall in love if they were isolated together in Africa, since there would be no one else to talk to.[21] According to Kahn the video is based on classic Hollywood romances like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as classic movies like The African Queen, Out of Africa and The English Patient.[22]

The video, set in an African savannah in the 1950s during the golden age of cinema, follows the story of fictional brunette actress Marjorie Finn (Swift) shooting a romantic adventure film, Wildest Dreams (a reference to the 1985 film Out of Africa[23]), with co-star Robert Kingsley (Eastwood). The video is interspersed with shots of African wildlife and natural scenery, including a cascading waterfall and Swift lounging with a lion. Finn and Kingsley are shown having a love affair, but after a fight on set the romance ends and the video cuts to the Wildest Dreams premiere, where Finn sees her co-star, Kingsley, with his wife. Finn is visibly upset but tries to act nonchalant, as they both watch the film, Finn is finally overcome with emotion, fleeing the premiere and getting into a waiting limousine. The video ends with a shot of the limousine's side-mirror showing Kingsley running into the street and watching as the car drives away.

Two different biplanes were used in the video, for the flight scenes a de Havilland Tiger Moth was used[24] however for the green screen and ground scenes an 80% scale replica, a Fisher R-80 Tiger Moth[25] was used instead. Swift is donating all of her proceeds from the video to wild animal conservation efforts through the African Parks Foundation of America.[26]

Reception[edit]

In the video, Swift portrays an actress akin to Elizabeth Taylor, while Eastwood portrays an actor akin to Richard Burton.

The video received mixed reviews. Slate's Forrest Whickman found that the video was "a lot more engaging" and that "it does a good job matching the song's theme of lingering on with someone 'even if it's just pretend'."[27] Mike Wass of Idolator called the video "a much stronger effort" than Swift's previous videos and likened it to romance films Out of Africa, The English Patient and The Notebook. While saying "it all hangs together rather nicely", he highlighted the scenery, which "raises this above your average video".[28] Rolling Stone writer Brittany Spanos felt that the video's visuals emulated "retro Hollywood glamour" and Brittany Spanos of The Wall Street Journal opined they were "lush".[29][30] Writing for Digital Spy, Justin Harp deemed the video "spellbinding" and as "streamy" as the music video for "Bad Blood".[31]

Writing for NPR, Viviane Rutabingwa and James Kassaga Arinaitwe criticized the video for "present[ing] a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa" and ignoring the brutality of colonialism. "[...] We don't totally blame Taylor Swift, but the people behind the video should have done a little more research. They should have wondered how Africans would react, this nostalgia that privileged white people have for colonial Africa is awkwardly confusing to say the least and offensive to say the most."[18] Lauren Duca of The Huffington Post criticized the video for bringing back "white colonialism" despite the fact that both its producer and its editor are African-American. Duca opined that "Instead of the cultural appropriation that has become almost status quo in today's pop music, Swift has opted for the bolder option of actually just embodying the political exploitation of a region and its people. It's brave, really. Almost as brave as moving sensuously in the vicintiy [sic] of a real-life lion."[32] Lauretta Charlton of Vulture.com responded to these criticisms, writing "I am a black woman, and this week the internet says I should be angry because Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" video is set in an Africa full of white people....Racists are very real. Colonialism is very real, but Taylor Swift is not a racist, and her "Wildest Dreams" video is not a boon for colonialism. Take a deep breath, exhale, and direct our rage toward something that matters."[33] Joseph Kahn, who directed the video, responded to accusations that the video glorified colonialism, saying: “We collectively decided it would have been historically inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors as the video would have been accused of rewriting history, this video is set in the past by a crew set in the present. This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950.”

Cover versions and performances[edit]

Swift performing "Wildest Dreams / Enchanted" mashup on The 1989 World Tour.

Ryan Adams covered "Wildest Dreams" for his album 1989. Yahoo! writer Oscar Gracey said that Adams' cover is "best heard when driving through Big Sur with the top down."[34]

As part of the 1989 World Tour, Swift performed a mashup of "Wildest Dreams" along with "Enchanted" from her third studio album, Speak Now.

Track listings[edit]

Digital download (R3hab Remix)[35]

  1. "Wildest Dreams (R3hab Remix)" – 3:17

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from liner notes of 1989.[36]

Recording and management

Personnel

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[71] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[72] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[73] Gold 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[74] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[75] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States August 31, 2015 Hot/Modern/AC radio [1]
September 1, 2015 Contemporary hit radio [76]
United States
Canada
October 15, 2015 Digital download (R3hab Remix) Big Machine [35][77]
Italy October 30, 2015 Contemporary hit radio Universal [78]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]