Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ Video: Pop Culture’s Avengers Assemble to Throw Shade at Katy Perry
Drawing on every sci-fi film in recent memory, from The Matrix to The Hunger Games, Swift recruited all her A-list pals for the video accompaniment to her Katy Perry diss track.
Even The Washington Post, the paper that exposed Watergate, crafted a think piece about how Taylor Swift’s F-You anthem “Bad Blood” is clearly about fellow pop diva Katy Perry.
After all, Swift, in describing the motivation for the tune in an interview with Rolling Stone, confessed it was inspired by a female musical artist who’d “basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour” (a gaggle of Swift’s backup dancers on her “Red” tour were allegedly poached by Perry for her “Prism” tour).
“For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not,” Swift said. “She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?’”
“She did something so horrible,” Swift continued. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I'm surprisingly non-confrontational—you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”
Perry also, of course, dated Swift’s ex John Mayer. Oh, and there’s a line in “Bad Blood” referencing “Ghost,” a song sung by Perry that was co-written by Max Martin, who also co-wrote “Bad Blood,” as well as this cryptic tweet fired off by Perry, presumably about the Swift feud:
All this brings us to the batshit crazy music video for “Bad Blood,” which debuted at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. Directed by Joseph Kahn, who helmed Swift’s recent “Blank Space” video as well as other out-there classics like Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” it’s a Frank Miller-tinged send-up of virtually every sci-fi film in recent memory, from The Matrix to The Hunger Games, that sees Swift and all her real-life friends band together Avengers-style to deliver a collective suck it to Perry.
Kahn’s symphony of dystopian destruction, bondage gear, and shade-throwing opens channeling The Matrix, with Swift, a.k.a. Catastrophe, and Selena Gomez, aka Arsyn, kicking the crap out of a group of faceless agents in an office—that is, until Arsyn (the Katy Perry character), double-crosses her pal, snatching her briefcase and kicking her out a glass window to her death.
Or so she thought. Swift is reanimated in a bandaged top, a la Leeloo from The Fifth Element, a process overseen by a rapping Kendrick Lamar (Welvin Da Great), a cigar-smoking Lena Dunham (Lucky Fiori), and several scientists known as Trinity, played by Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld. After she’s reconstructed, we’re privy to a Hunger Games training montage where seemingly everyone Swift’s posed for an Instagram selfie with—Cara Delevingne swinging nunchucks, Ellie Goulding posing with a bazooka, Gigi Hadid menacingly fondling a ninja star, etc.—flaunt their weaponry.
Later, “Bad Blood” channels Divergent, as Swift is seen trading blows in a boxing ring with real-life BFF Karlie Kloss. Oh, and there’s a nod to Tron, too, with Swift and Jessica Alba, aka Domino, riding around a laser course on bikes.
Even Swift’s two favorite TV characters—and the namesakes for her cats Meredith (R.I.P.) and Olivia Benson—make appearances, with Law & Order: SVU’s Mariska Hargitay strutting her leather-clad stuff as “Justice,” and Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo giving her best “blue steel” as well.
The madness ends with the entire #Squad in loaded-up Sucker Punch mode, squaring off amid a chorus of explosions against Arsyn’s gang.
Bad blood, indeed. Katy Perry, the ball is in your court.