With the ‘Swift’ release of the divisive music video for Taylor’s ‘Bad Blood’, Sarah Gough, Editor, and Akash Beri, Screen Editor, argue whether Taylor has retained her title as “Queen of Pop”.
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[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]ell well Tay Tay, you’ve come a long way since the banjo and the boyfriend. There is something hilarious about a former country-pop sweetheart ditching the curls for a crowbar, but let’s face it, everyone knew she was trouble when she walked in.
After much anticipation (everyone but Katy Perry’s in it), Swift’s latest ‘Bad Blood’ video has smashed … everything. Cars, records, stereotypes. A star-studded line-up helped Swift break the Vevo record, with 20 million views in its first 24 hours knocking Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ off the top spot, and down a dress size or two.
‘Bad Blood’ says goodbye to the boyfriend and hello to the girl gang – and it’s bloody brilliant. Theatricality and spectacle combine with strutting supermodels to fight off the archetypal weak woman – I’m looking at you Selena Gomez – in style. Swift is the celebrated chameleon: she is Kill Bill, Sin City, Hunger Games all rolled up into one tiny package. You’ve got Lena Dunham, queen of awkward screen sex, puffing a cigar, whilst Cara Delevingne, queen of making you notice those eyebrow things you’ve always had on your face, shoots a brilliant smouldering side gaze. If Ellie Goulding firing a bazooka doesn’t make you want to live life as a strong, independent woman I don’t know what will. It’s all so extravagantly empowering.
“If Ellie Goulding firing a bazooka doesn’t make you want to live life as a strong, independent woman I don’t know what will.”
Admittedly, the song was a little whiny and lacklustre before Kendrick Lamar’s verses injected some much-needed gangsta. Well, as much gangsta as is possible when your co-artist is obsessed with cats. You might think a Lamar-Swift collab is an odd one, I did too, but then it all becomes clear when you remember his own album’s called ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’.
Indeed, Swift continues to soar on those beautiful success wings of hers. With eight wins at the Billboard Music Awards, she’s proving pretty unstoppable. If the ‘Bad Blood’ referenced is a jibe at Perry, then it’s the best comeback I’ve ever seen. Critics have belittled the video as over-dramatic and underwhelming. Yet from my telepathic instinct with Swift herself, I can presume that this was its very premise. It is over-dramatic to prove her power, it is too short to leave you wanting more.
Perhaps it’s all just a metaphor for those failed relationships of hers, or more specifically, John Mayer’s disappointing performance in the bedroom: enormous hype, but over too soon.
“Out with the Mayer, in with the Martin”, yells Tay Tay, exuberantly, to all her power-house girlfriends. Give us more Tay, give us a feature length film. The immortal phrase remains: Haters gonna hate.
Sarah Gough, Editor
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[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]’ll be honest. I’ve never been a fan of Taylor Swift, but I’ve respected her music and success, which she deserves. She’s a good person (mostly) and her support for gender equality is truly admirable.
Her latest video for her single ‘Bad Blood’, however, is both dull and stupid, and the rampant praise it is getting is unjustified. In it, Taylor (or the appropriately named ‘Catastrophe’) and Selena Gomez (as the painfully obvious Katy Perry lookalike) beat the living bejesus out of a bunch of blindfolded, nameless men in grey suits – because female empowerment evidently involves vicious violence against men.
It later cuts to shots of women clad in ridiculously scanty combat outfits, the type of thing you’d find in special shops to spice up loveless marriages. The hilarity ensures when Ellie Goulding appears wielding a rocket launcher with a prominent ‘X’ featured on the shell, snarling at us. I can honestly imagine executives sat round a table saying ‘what’s the most overt, unimaginative way to connote female empowerment? Why, give them guns of course, because that empowers you, right?’
“Female empowerment evidently involves vicious violence against men”
Can I also point out how immeasurably witless the nicknames they give to the women really are? A woman weilding knives called ‘Cut-Throat’? A women in a snowy area called ‘Frostbyte’? Mate, come on. Plus, this ‘lethal feminity’ isn’t being used to fight some fair cause, like corrupt and misogynistic corporations or some evil force. It’s used to fight other women over a petty squabble.
I could have enjoyed the video for what it was (women kicking serious ass with guns), if it wasn’t so glaring obvious that’s it’s just a jab at Katy Perry. The recent Mad Max: Fury Road was a fantastic example of female empowerment with a kickass female hero. ‘Bad Blood’ is not. It’s a shame because a lot of people won’t see this video for what it is. It’s not a beacon of feminist hope; it’s not a protest against gender inequality across the world; it’s a guise of women with guns and explosions, to hide a petty, desperate attempt to get back at Katy Perry. Shake that off.
Akash Beri, Screen Editor