Bad Blood is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, from her fifth studio album 1989 (2014). The single version, featuring American rapper Kendrick Lamar, was released on May 17, 2015 by Republic Records. The song reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is the third song from the album to do so.
Writing and composition
Swift wrote Bad Blood about an undisclosed female musical artist. Swift says the artist attempted to sabotage one of her concert tours by hiring people who worked for her. Publications such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, Time, and The Washington Post have speculated that Katy Perry is the subject of the song. Daniel DAddario for Time and Emily Yahr for The Washington Post noted parallels between Bad Bloods lyric If you live like that, you live with ghosts and Ghost, a song from Perrys 2013 album Prism. 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 Awad of Billboard felt the song is reminiscent of Gwen Stefanis Hollaback Girl. The Guardians Kitty Empire wrote that the song faintly recalls Charli XCX with its stark beats.
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. 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. 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. It also became her 18th top 10 single and Lamars second (also his first number-one single in the United States) and the 11th song with the word Bad in it to top the Hot 100 chart. It held the top spot for one week, before being replaced by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puths See You Again. As of July 1, 2015, the song has sold over 1,657,000 million digital copies in the U.S.
The original album version of Bad Blood received generally mixed reviews from music critics. The song was mostly criticised for its writing, with many reviewers describing it as full of clichés. The chorus in particular was criticised with Jim Farber of The New York Daily News describing it as a repetitive, arena-mongering chant. The song was also criticised for its weak production. However, Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the best songs on the album.
However, the remixed version of the song received mostly positive reviews, with praise directed at Lamars guest verses and the reworked instrumental. 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 Lamars simple, brutally effective verses and acknowledged the collaboration as not just one more meaningless stunt collaboration, but a powerful new duo.
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 the setting for the video is the City of London. The music video premiered on May 17, 2015, at the start of the Billboard Music Awards. Each actor chose their characters name. Swift began teasing the video in May on Instagram by posting photos of each character. The video broke Vevos 24-hour viewing record by accumulating 20.7 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.
The music video starts with Catastrophe (Swift) and Arsyn (Selena Gomez) fighting off a group of men wearing suits in an office somewhere in London. When all of the men are defeated, Arsyn decides to betray Catastrophe by 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 The Trinity (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):
Slay-Z (Gigi Hadid)
Destructa X (Ellie Goulding)
Homeslice (Martha Hunt)
Mother Chucker (Cara Delevingne)
The Crimson Curse (Hayley Williams)
Frostbyte (Lily Aldridge)
Knockout (Karlie Kloss)
Domino (Jessica Alba)
Justice (Mariska Hargitay) and Luna (Ellen Pompeo)
Headmistress (Cindy Crawford)
When her training is complete, Catastrophe and her friends exact their revenge on Arsyn and her henchmen. The two teams approach each other 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.
In a set of promotional posters, Elsa Hosk was supposed to be appear as Cutlass, but her appearance in the video was scrapped for unknown reasons.
Rolling Stone described it as a futuristic neo-noir video. Daniel DAddario of Time called it Swifts most elaborate music video yet, and compared the visuals to Sin City. Slate agreed and found other film inspirations: Along the way, they pay homage to countless films. Besides the videos Robocop premise, theres its Sin City aesthetic, its nod to Trons light cycles, and its Kill Bill-like fight in the snow. Billboard drew parallels between the video and the music videos for the Britney Spears songs Toxic and Womanizer, which were both directed by Kahn.
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