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Bad Blood (Taylor Swift song)

"Bad Blood" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, from her fifth studio album 1989 (2014). The remixed version of the song, featuring American rapper Kendrick Lamar, was released on May 17, 2015, by Republic Records as 1989's fourth single. The album version was written by Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback, with Lamar writing his verses on the remixed version. The lyrics of "Bad Blood" describe the betrayal of a close friend. The album version is the eighth track of 1989.

"Bad Blood"
Taylor Swift Feat. Kendrick Lamar - Bad Blood (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar
from the album 1989
Released May 17, 2015 (2015-05-17)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014
Genre Pop[1]
Length 3:19
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Ilya
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Style"
(2015)
"Bad Blood"
(2015)
"Wildest Dreams"
(2015)
"Style"
(2015)
"Bad Blood"
(2015)
"Wildest Dreams"
(2015)
Kendrick Lamar singles chronology
"King Kunta"
(2015) King Kunta2015
"Bad Blood"
(2015) Bad Blood2015
"Alright"
(2015) Alright2015
Music video
"Bad Blood" on YouTube

The song reached number one in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States, becoming the third song from 1989 to do so. The accompanying music video was directed by Joseph Kahn and features an ensemble cast. The video previously held the 24-Hour Vevo Record with 20.1 million views, before being surpassed by Adele's "Hello". It won Video of the Year and Best Collaboration at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The song received a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance while its music video won Best Music Video at the 58th Grammy Awards.

A cover version of "Bad Blood" was released as the first promotional single from singer-songwriter Ryan Adams' interpretation of Swift's 1989 album, released in September 2015.

Contents

Writing and compositionEdit

"That was about losing a friend… But then people cryptically tweet about what you meant. I never said anything that would point a finger in the specific direction of one specific person, and I can sleep at night knowing that. I knew the song would be assigned to a person, and the easiest mark was someone who I didn't want to be labeled with this song. It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship."

—Swift, behind the meaning of the song and the media's varying perception of the undisclosed person in the song.[2]

Swift co-wrote "Bad Blood" about an undisclosed female musician. Swift says the artist attempted to sabotage one of her concert tours by hiring people who worked for her.[3] Publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Time, and The Washington Post have speculated that Katy Perry is the subject of the song.[4][5][6][7] Daniel D'Addario for Time and Emily Yahr for The Washington Post noted parallels between "Bad Blood"'s lyric "If you live like that, you live with ghosts" and "Ghost", a song from Perry's 2013 album Prism.[6][7] The album version of the song only contains Swift as the vocalist on verses, while the single version features a re-worked instrumental and guest vocals from rapper Kendrick Lamar on verses.

Jem Aswad of Billboard felt the song is "reminiscent of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl".[8] The Guardian's Kitty Empire wrote that the song "faintly recalls Charli XCX with its stark beats."[9] It is written in the key of G major, and runs at 88 bpm.[10]

Critical receptionEdit

 
Kendrick Lamar's appearance in the single was praised by critics

The original version of "Bad Blood" received generally negative reviews from music critics. Many described the song as "clichéd" while also criticizing its writing, chorus, and production.[11][12][not in citation given][13][14] Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the best songs on the album.[15]

In contrast, the remixed version of the song featuring guest vocals from Kendrick Lamar received acclaim from critics, with praise from music critics directed at Lamar's guest verses and the reworked instrumental.[16][17] George Seabrook of The Edge awarded the song four and half stars out of five, and called it "glorious" and "intoxicating". He praised the song for "Lamar’s simple, brutally effective verses" and acknowledged the collaboration as "not just one more meaningless stunt collaboration, but a powerful new duo".[18]

Chart performanceEdit

"Bad Blood" first charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in November 2014 and January 2015 as an album cut from 1989, peaking at number 78.[19]

Following the music video premiere at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, the remixed version of the song featuring Kendrick Lamar re-entered the chart at number 53 and number 26 on the Digital Songs Chart, selling 47,000 digital copies.[19] The following week, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending May 24, 2015, selling 385,000 copies and jumping 52 positions, one of the largest jumps to the top spot in Billboard history. It became her fourth number one single and the third number one from 1989 (following "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space"), making Swift the first artist since Adele to yield three Hot 100 chart toppers from the same album; it is also her fourth consecutive top-10 single from 1989.[20] It also became her 18th top 10 single and Lamar's second (also his first number-one single in the United States).[20] It dropped to number two the week after, being replaced by Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again", where it stayed for five consecutive weeks. It spent another five consecutive weeks at number four, before leaving the top ten of the chart after thirteen consecutive weeks in it on September 5, 2015.[21] By the end of 2015, the song had sold 2,584,000 digital copies in the US, becoming the tenth best selling single of the year.[22]

Music videoEdit

BackgroundEdit

The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, who previously directed the music video for the second single from 1989, "Blank Space". The video was filmed in Los Angeles on April 12, 2015, but is set in London. The music video was premiered on May 17, 2015, at the start of the Billboard Music Awards.[23] Each actress chose her character's name.[24] Swift began teasing the video in May on Instagram by posting photos of each character.

SynopsisEdit

The music video starts with Catastrophe (Taylor Swift) and her partner, Arsyn (Selena Gomez), fighting off a group of men wearing suits in an office in London, for a mysterious briefcase. When all of the men are defeated, Arsyn double crosses Catastrophe by stealing the briefcase in Catastrophe's hand and kicking her out of a window. The song begins with Catastrophe lying on a broken car, as Welvin da Great (Kendrick Lamar) begins to rap his verse and Lucky Fiori (Lena Dunham) smokes a cigar. Catastrophe is shown being nursed back to health by a trio of girls called The Trinity (all played by Hailee Steinfeld), and after some time, she is ready to start training for her revenge. The other characters in the video are shown in succession, some in training with Catastrophe. They are (in order of appearance):

When her training is complete, Catastrophe and her friends exact their revenge on Arsyn and her masked henchwomen. The two teams approach each other in what seems to be slow motion while an enormous explosion goes off in the background, blotting out the London skyline, including 30 St Mary Axe, and the video ends with both of the women simultaneously striking each other in the face.[25]

ReceptionEdit

Rolling Stone described it as a "futuristic neo-noir" video.[24] Daniel D’Addario of Time called it Swift's "most elaborate" music video yet, and compared its visuals to those of Sin City.[26] Slate agreed and found other film inspirations: "Along the way, they pay homage to countless films. Besides the video’s Robocop premise, there’s its Sin City aesthetic, its nod to Tron’s light cycles, and its Kill Bill-like fight in the snow."[27] Hair and outfits reminiscent of The Fifth Element also appear on several occasions throughout the video. Billboard drew parallels between the video and the music videos for the Britney Spears songs "Toxic" and "Womanizer", which were both directed by Kahn.[28] The video broke Vevo's 24-hour viewing record by accumulating 20.1 million views in its first day of release, beating the 19.6 million 24-hour record previously held by Nicki Minaj for the music video of her song "Anaconda" in 2014.[29] It was later broken by Adele's "Hello" in October 2015, with 27.7 million views in the first 24 hours.[30] As of May 2017, the video has amassed over 1.0 billion views. It is in the top 60 most viewed and top 40 most liked videos on YouTube.

"Bad Blood" received eight nominations at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.[31] Ultimately, it won Video of the Year and Best Collaboration. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video.

Track listingEdit

  • Digital download[32]
  1. "Bad Blood (featuring Kendrick Lamar)" – 3:19

AccoladesEdit

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Song Nominated [33]
Choice Music - Collaboration Won
Choice Break-Up Song
MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year [31]
Best Collaboration
Best Art Direction Nominated
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Direction
Best Visual Effects
Song of Summer
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song Won [34]
Best Video Nominated
Best Collaboration
American Music Awards Collaboration of the Year [35]
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite Song [36]
Grammy Awards Best Pop Duo/Group Performance [37]
Best Music Video Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Song of the Year Nominated [38]
Favorite Collaboration
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Collaboration [39]
ASCAP Pop Music Awards Most Performed Songs Won [40]

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from liner notes of 1989.[41]

Recording and managementEdit

PersonnelEdit

Usage in mediaEdit

In 2016, the song was used in an Apple commercial which Drake starred in.[42]

For their tenth anniversary, How It Should Have Ended released a cover parody video based on "Bad Blood", titled "Bat Blood". Performed by Batman, voiced by show creator Daniel Baxter, the video parodies the marketing of the then-upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and uses characters from HISHE's entire history. The lyrics were re-written by Baxter, and the music composed by Bryan English.

The song is also used in the trailer of the 2017 film, The Lego Ninjago Movie.

ChartsEdit

Ryan Adams's versionEdit

For more info on this version, see 1989 (Ryan Adams album).

Chart (2015) Peak
position
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[89] 36

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[90] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[91] 3× Platinum 240,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[92] Gold 7,500*
United Kingdom (BPI)[93] Gold 400,000 
United States (RIAA)[94] 5× Platinum  3,100,000[22]

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

  Since May 2013, RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.[95]

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label
United States May 17, 2015 Digital download[32] Big Machine
May 19, 2015 Contemporary hit radio[96]
Italy June 12, 2015 Mainstream radio[97][98]
  • Big Machine
  • Republic

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit