Arts & Culture

Perry vs. Swift: the tumultuous rivalry

Music taking a back seat to the feud

Perry vs. Swift: the tumultuous rivalry
written by Anahit Kondyan
October 6, 2017 9:21 am

Katy Perry and Taylor Swift’s rivalry makes headlines – tucked comfortably between stories on the impending nuclear war and that weird wavy brow trend. Their rivalry in itself nothing new, but their music is.

We’ve watched them go head to head both on the charts and in the tabloids for years now.

It all started when Swift released Bad Blood in 2013, going on record to say that the song was about another female artist who had tried to sabotage her. She sparked an insipid feud that left fans of both artists scratching their heads.

Grudge match between old friends

Didn’t the two used to be friends?

Were they simply doing this for publicity? Or was there truth to the harsh words that were pre-approved and dealt in 140 characters or less?

For a while, Perry was mum on the topic of her fallout with Swift, instead taking to twitter to warn her fans to ‘watch out for Regina George in sheep’s clothing’. It was soon noticed that the two had different roles to play in this grudge match.

Swift, despite her tendency of playing the victim, is the undisputed frontrunner – always one step ahead of Perry when it comes to maneuvering the battle field. When Perry was set to release her fifth studio album Witness, Swift released her entire discography on Spotify and beat Perry in streaming numbers within the week. This calculated powerplay left Perry scrambling like a deer in headlights, desperate to level the playing field.

Fighting back with new music

That opportunity arose recently when Perry announced that she’d be dropping the video for her new song Swish Swish; but Swift dealt her yet another blow and revealed that her long awaited single, Look What You Made Me Do, would drop the same day. It didn’t appear to phase Perry much. With the release of Swish Swish,  she would finally be able to tell her side of the story.

But when the video dropped many were left confounded at what it was exactly that they were watching.

Perry has never shied from embracing eccentricities and trying out concepts other artists would deem bizarre. Swish Swish delivered a discombobulated mess of mismatched parts that’s difficult to stomach.

The video showcases Perry and co. as players on a laughably terrible basketball team –ironically coined The Tigers – who must face off against their intimidating opponents: The Sheep. The Tigers are on the brink of losing before, BAM!, a moment of inspiration (and an IV drip of Kobe Bryant’s sweat) helps them unlock their inner strengths – including profusive perspiration and bizarre taco seduction.

The whole thing feels like one big joke. It falls flat even by Perry’s notoriously vapid standards. The song that was supposed to be her grand clapback is uninspired and offers little to recommend except, perhaps, that appearance by Nicki Minaj.

Dramatic videos failing in the music department

Swish Swish became a laughingstock, with Swifties everywhere quick to claim victory before Look What You Made Me Do was even released. When midnight rolled around high expectations fizzled. Look What You Made Me Do has Swift playing the victim again. Blaming others for her poor decisions in life. Her lyrics are threatening, yet lacking in any real substance or conviction. The whole song plays out as a cheaply produced, desperate attempt at shedding a persona that has become too tedious to bear.

As Swift herself points out in a bizarre mid-song voice over, “the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she’s dead.”

After listening to her latest release, one can’t help but wonder if the Old Taylor took her good music to the grave with her.

Whatever the reasons for their feud may be, it’s apparent from both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry’s latest releases, that their bitter rivalry has drawn the attention away from the music.

Considering the fact that both songs went on to garner millions of views and have been a hot topic since their release, it’s clear that whatever publicity the two are garnering from their enmity, it’s doing nothing but wonders for their sales. As they say, money talks, and these two are taking their Bad Blood straight to the bank.