Bad Blood by Taylor Swift (feat. Kendrick Lamar) Review

On the eighteenth of May, Taylor Swift dropped her new single ‘Bad Blood’ featuring Kendrick Lamar rocketing straight to number one on the iTunes charts. However, it wasn’t the song itself that was making waves. T-Swift’s film clip for the song has set a new Vevo world record getting 20.1 million views in just 24 hours. Directed by Joseph Kahn, it has been heralded as the all-female version of Marvel’s popular Avengers franchise, employing techniques reminiscent of comic books and graphic novels. The selling point is the sheer amount of stars T-Swift managed to rope into it.

Here’s a list of stars and their characters in the clip:

  • Selena Gomez as Arsyn
  • Karlie Kloss as Knockout
  • Cara Delevingne as Mother Chucker
  • Ellen Pompeo as Luna
  • Mariska Hargitay as Justice
  • Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori
  • Cindy Crawford as Headmistress
  • Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinity
  • Jessica Alba as Domino
  • Hayley Williams as The Crimson Curse
  • Martha Hunt as Homeslice
  • Lily Aldridge as Frostbyte
  • Ellie Goulding as Destructa X
  • Gigi Hadid as Slay-Z
  • Zendaya as Cut Throat
  • Serayah as Dilemma
  • Kendrick Lamar as Welvin Da Great

As for the song itself, it’s easy to hear why it has become a hit. Originally this song is the eighth track on T-Swift’s 1989 album, but Kendrick Lamar remixed it resulting in this version. Both versions use T-Swift’s chorus, which incidentally uses a chorus effect making it sound like there’s a bunch of Taylors singing at the same time. In the original the verses are sung in T-Swift’s lower range which is probably her strongest area. In the new remixed version, Kendrick Lamar inserts his own rap verses which really take the song to the next level. Especially when you watch the video clip, Lamar’s rapping makes the whole thing a lot more bad-ass, fitting with the superhero vibe.

Another feature of the remixed version is the increase in computerised sounds, causing the song to sound even farther away from T-Swift’s original country-pop music. This is good in the way that it shows she has broadened her horizons, however because of the nature of her voice and its country influences occasional notes in the song sound slightly pitchy. Saying this, I absolutely loved her softer range in the third verse which reminded me of Paramore’s song ‘Misguided Ghosts’ (and incidentally the lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams is in the clip).

Bad Blood Cover ArtWhen it comes to Kendrick’s performance, he does not disappoint. Especially notable is his seamless transition during verses into different rhythmic patterns. Even though I love his rapping in this, for me nothing can top his explosive verse on the Imagine Dragons track ‘Radioactive’.

The great news about this song, alike many pop songs, the lyrics (for the chorus anyway) are quite repetitive. This means that you’ll be singing along in no time. It also means that it had the potential to become extremely annoying. Thankfully, the chorus is varied: the first half using chords that rhythmically match the beat, and the second half adding sustained chords. Also, in the very last repeat of the chorus semiquavers on a closed hi-hat are added to lift the song for its conclusion.

My last criticism of the song occurs in the last chorus as well. T-Swift does a bit of vocal ad-lib over the lyrics and I would have loved it if she’d just let go a little more and went for a big note or two. I know this isn’t her usual style, but since she has been branching out of her comfort zone a little in her last album, it would’ve been great to hear some more of her vocal prowess through one big note.

Although this song is very catchy, I don’t think it can ever be as great as T-Swift’s song ‘Shake It Off’. Purely because ‘Shake It Off’ has become such an anthem for many who are trying to move on with their lives and ignore the haters. For this reason I’m giving the song a 9/10.

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