"Bad Blood (Remix)"
I can summarize Taylor Swift's remix of her song "Bad Blood" (featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar) with one word: betrayal.
The video? That's going to take more than one word. So I'll start by saying it's definitely a candidate for the Most Bonkers Over-the-Top Video of 2015. Maybe the whole decade.
Someone has done Taylor wrong in this song, and most pop culture pundits in the know agree it was Katy Perry. Ms. Swift is having exactly none of it, so she sings, "Oh, it's so sad to/Think about the good times/You and I/'Cause, baby, now we've got bad blood." Swift continues bitterly as the bass drops in like a B-52 bomber: "You know it used to be mad love/So take a look at what you've done/ … Now we've got problems/And I don't think we can solve 'em/You made a really deep cut."
Kendrick Lamar furthers the riff with, "Remember when you tried to write me off?/Remember when you thought I'd take a loss?/Don't you remember? You thought I would need ya'?"
Well, like Taylor Swift, he doesn't: "Still, all my life, I got money and power/And you gotta live with the bad blood now."
Like I said: betrayal.
Now, for that video:
It's an eye-popping, action-movie-style mash-up of The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Tron, Mad Max, Pulp Fiction, Charlie's Angels and a few others, too. Amid that, Swift plays a leather-clad femme fatal named Catastrophe. Her partner? Selena Gomez, code-name Arsyn. Together they take out a group of goons bent on overrunning them.
And that's when Selena shoves Swift out of a high-rise window.
OK. Maybe that betrayal word does work for the video, too.
There's a car below to break her fall, of course. And the rest of the video is all about getting revenge. A training-to-fight montage boasts a long, long list of mostly female celebs who become part of Catastrophe's comin'-ta-getcha posse. There's Jessica Alba as Domino, Serayah as Dilemma, Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori, Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinity, Ellie Goulding as Destructa X, Gigi Hadid as Slay-Z, Hayley Williams as The Crimson Curse, Cindy Crawford as Headmistress ('cause why not?), Karlie Kloss as Knockout, Martha Hunt as HomeSlice, Zendaya as Cut-Throat, Lily Aldridge as Frostbyte, Ellen Pompeo as Luna, Mariska Hargitay as Justice and Cara Delevingne as Mother Chucker (yes, it's a play on exactly what you think it is).
Mayhem, explosions and bursting cleavage ensue, ending with a fire-ring rumble whereupon Catastrophe and her crew face off against Selena and her mask-wearing henchwomen.
Much has already been made of the myriad winks and send-ups of so many iconic actioners. No need, then, to spend any more time on that. I'd like instead to end this review by noting that Taylor Swift continues, album by album, song by song, video by video, to turn up the sensuality quotient while heating up her rebellion and angst. A mere nine months before this track's release, she told the U.K.'s Guardian, "Being looked at as sexy? Not really on my radar. But nice? I really hope that that is the impression."
The "Bad Blood" video—which fans viewed a record 20.1 million times its first day of release—is hardly nice, as betrayal begets revenge, and Swift's shrinking outfits (not to mention the bustier-busting outfits her compatriots squeeze into) often leave little to the imagination throughout a frenzied, sexy, boot-'n'-booty throwdown.