Taylor Swift’s usual modus operandi tends to favor releasing songs and accompanying music videos that highlight a certain disdain for her ex-flames. Her latest single from 1989, however, is a “swift” departure. “Bad Blood,” directed by Joseph Kahn (best known for directing videos for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Janet Jackson), is the pop star’s first genuine attempt at an epic narrative–and one that showcases contempt for a female rival.
Opening with an action-packed sequence wherein Catastrophe (Swift) and Arsyn (Selena Gomez) fight against their male antagonists in an office building near the Tower Bridge in London, Arsyn turns on Catastrophe abruptly after they defeat them, momentarily blinding her with some powder and then pushing her out the window. Falling to her betrayed end, Catastrophe is restored in some sort of factory-like facility where she is trained to claim her vengeance by other powerhouse women, including The Trinity (Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit), Cutthroat (Zendaya), Knockout (Karlie Kloss), Domino (Jessica Alba), The Crimson Curse (Hayley Williams of Paramour), Destructa X (Ellie Goulding), Frostbyte (Lily Aldridge), Slay-Z (Gigi Hadid), Lucky Fiori (Lena Dunham, who doesn’t quite take as much of an “active” role in the video), Luna (Ellen Pompeo), Mother Chucker (Cara Delevingne) and Headmistress (Cindy Crawford). Evidently, each cameo singer, actress and/or model chose her own character name.
Rumors of which fellow female pop star the song could be about have long ago concluded that the lyrics are aimed at Katy Perry, who allegedly hired personnel that worked for Taylor Swift in order to cause complications for her tour. Then again, people have also speculated that Miley Cyrus is the subject of the song. Who knows? Female pop stars are squirrelly sometimes, especially since you can’t get to the top of the charts fast enough before another zygote kicks you off it.
Whoever the true subject of the song is, it’s refreshing to hear Swift talk vague shit about female solidarity, though she did gather all her Victoria’s Secret friends together to ironically make this point. Moreover, it’s the first sign Swift has shown of video artistry in the vein of Michael Jackson or Madonna, proving that maybe, just maybe after five albums, she’s poised to achieve longevity.