The Golden Globes Best Original Song nominees are a typical hodgepodge of orchestral ballads, Broadway grandeur, and pop star glam. That trend continues apace with the nods for the 2020 ceremony. This year’s selection includes Taylor Swift‘s team up with stage maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber, Beyoncé‘s Simba-inspired single from the live-action Lion King, and Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s continuation of their decades-long partnership.
Ahead, we give a brief breakdown on each of the five nominees. You can hear the winner announced during the 77th Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.
“Beautiful Ghosts” (Cats) — Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Cats co-star and three-time Golden Globe nominee Taylor Swift may play Bombalurina in the critically maligned adaptation of the Broadway musical, but she wrote this original song with Andrew Lloyd Webber for the character of Victoria (Francesca Hayward). The ballad — a version of which Swift sings over the film’s end credits — is all about reclaiming your glory days: “And the memories were lost long ago/ But at least you have beautiful ghosts.”
“Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2) — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
No, it’s not “Let It Go.” But it doesn’t need to be. As director Chris Buck told EW’s Marc Snetiker, “We realized that that [track] was lightning in a bottle. It’s a fantastic song, but we wanted this movie to find its own songs and find its own voice.” Enter: “Into the Unknown.” Like its Golden Globe-nominated predecessor, this triumphant track is sung by Idina Menzel and written by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. It also sees Elsa at a moment of trepidation: “I’ve had my adventure, I don’t need something new/ I’m afraid of what I’m risking if I follow you/ Into the unknown.”
“Spirit” (The Lion King) — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Timothy McKenzie and Ilya Salmanzadeh
New Beyoncé music seemed all but guaranteed when she signed on to the 2019 remake of The Lion King. Last summer, the Hive got their first taste in the form of a lead single off the Bey-executive produced soundtrack The Lion King: The Gift. Kicking off with a Swahili chant that roughly translates to “Long live the king,” the jubilant “Spirit” goes hand in hand with the film’s themes of chasing greatness and achieving destiny, along with the album’s overall goal in highlighting African sounds and rhythms.
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman) — Elton John and Bernie Taupin
The fantastical, Dexter Fletcher-helmed biopic on Elton John gets an equally fantastical new single by the Rocketman himself. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from John and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin is a horn-heavy blast from the past about overcoming challenges no matter the cost: “I’m gonna love me again/ Check in on my very best friend/ Find the wind to fill my sails/ Rise above the broken rails,” sings John, who is joined on the track by his on-screen counterpart, Taron Edgerton. Considering the last 12 months of his professional life — which saw the release of the biopic and a memoir, along with the continuation of his grand Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour — it sounds like Elton has been living the song’s chorus exactly as Taupin wrote it.
“Stand Up” (Harriet) — Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo
Sung by the Tony Award-winning Cynthia Erivo, “Stand Up” retells the plight of Harriet Tubman, from her escape from captivity to saving slaves through the Underground Railroad. Here Erivo channels her on-screen role as Tubman into a gospel-infused anthem co-written by Joshuah Brian Campbell. “Oh, I got eyes in the back of my head, just in case I have to run/ I do what I can when I can while I can for my people,” she sings.