Taylor Swift with Kendrick Lamar
Writer(s): Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback, Kendrick Lamar (see lyrics here)
Released: May 17, 2015
First Charted: November 15, 2014
Peak: 11 US, 15 BA, 15 DG, 16 RR, 9 AC, 13 A40, 4 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU, 12 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.6 UK, 7.05 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1589.23 video, 826.18 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Taylor Swift’s fifth album, 1989, marked her completed transition away from country to mainstream pop. She enlisted producers Max Martin and Shellback to give the album its 1980s snyth-pop sound. The result was five top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. “Bad Blood” charted briefly when the album was released in October 2014, but was officially released as the album’s fourth single – in a remixed version featuring Kendrick Lamar – in May 2015. It was the third song from the album to hit #1.
It was speculated the song was about Katy Perry, with whom Swift had a widely reported feud. Swift claimed that a female singer had tried to sabotage her concert tour by hiring away people who had worked for her. Others simply thought the song was about lost romance, the central theme of the album. Swift told GQ, “It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship.” SF She told Rolling Stone, “Sometimes the lines in a song are lines you wish you could text-message somebody in real life…like, ‘Burn. That would really get her…but…my intent was not to create some gossip-fest. I wanted people to apply it to a situation where they felt betrayed in their own lives.” SF Either way, it fit with an established tendency for Swift to play victim and call others out publicly.
Critics gave the song mixed reviews, some saying the lyrics were repetitive and the production was generic. WK Mike Diver from Clash called it “a litany of diary-page break up clichés set to directionless thumps and fuzzes.” WK Mikael Wood from the Los Angeles Times said it was “a generic song where Swift fails to showcase herself as a distinctive artist.” WK On the flip side, Sasha Geffen of Consequence of Sound applaued it as a defiant tune with heavy, hip-hop beats. Andy Pettifier of The Quietus said the song was “crammed with merit…all sass and bile.” WK
A high-budget video directed by Joseph Kahn featured a cast of singers and models whom the media called Swift’s “squad.” The group included Jessica Alba, Cindy Crawford, Selena Gomez, Ellie Goulding, Gigi Hadid, Hailee Steinfeld, and Zendaya. The video was premiered at the Billboard Music Awards. It set a then-record for most views (20.1 million) in its first day. SF It won MTV’s Video of the Year and Best Collaboration. It also won a Grammy for Best Music Video and was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Performance.
Last updated 8/9/2023.