One, in particular, stands out: her visual judgment. Over her 17-year career, Swift has demonstrated a strong commitment to the visual medium, including concert movies and even a feature film. However, her music videos have often been lackluster, with overly literal concepts, excessive CGI, and frequent shots of her feet. But there's one exception that deserves recognition: the cameo-filled music video for "Bad Blood."
While I may have objections to some parts of the video, it stands out as a sleek and engaging espionage thriller, noir, and sci-fi parody. It's arguably Swift's best collaboration with director Joseph Kahn, serving as the main event rather than a mere supplement to a single.
The drama surrounding "Bad Blood" only intensified its impact. In a Rolling Stone cover story from September 2014, Swift revealed that the song was inspired by a feud with another female artist in the music industry. This not-so-subtle reference to a fellow pop star with a penchant for theatrics sparked speculation. Katy Perry subsequently confirmed her role in the feud through a tweet. While the two have claimed to reconcile, Perry's support for Olivia Rodrigo, who has her own ties to Swift, suggests lingering tensions.
The "Bad Blood" music video capitalized on this feud. It featured a parade of famous women, including Kendrick Lamar, adding legitimacy to a somewhat corny diss track. However, the video also drew attention to Swift's posse, known as her "squad," which was criticized for its lack of diversity and questions arose about whether it truly reflected organic friendships or was more of a weapon in the feud.
This video, along with other public beefs, seemed to have lasting effects on Swift's rivals. Most have experienced declines in their careers or faced challenges, from Scooter Braun to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Perry's musical career, in particular, suffered following her feud with Swift.