This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #200: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift.
300 songs down. 200 more to go! Thanks to all of you for accompanying me this far on this little musical journey of ours. Today we come to song #200. As always, every 25th song goes to one of my girls and today, we have a song that Sophie ranks as #5 on her personal Top Ten list….”Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.
“Bad Blood” is a song that comes from an album called “1989”. When Sophie was just starting to make that transformation out of early childhood and into her pre-teen years, one of the things that she was given was a small cd-player. It had belonged to the family but, with the digitization of so many songs, we were using it less and less so, Sophie was given it and was allowed to keep it in her room for her own personal use. As you can imagine, having some semblance of control over how you live your life is an important first step toward adulthood. For Sophie, one of her first steps taken was through music and, specifically, through a little white cd player and some of her own cds; one of which was “1989” by Taylor Swift.
As she is for so many young girls, Taylor Swift became a bit of a role model for Sophie. In our home, we listened to “1989” in its’ entirety many times through the walls of Sophie’s bedroom. We all recognize the lyrics and musical structure of songs like “Welcome to New York”, “Blank Space”, “Style”, “Shake It Off” and “Wildest Dreams”. Included in that chart-topping album that helped cement Swift’s transition from Country star into a Pop Princess, was “Bad Blood”. “1989” which, btw, stands for the year Taylor Swift was born, has sold over ten million copies worldwide. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in the year it was released, 2014.
Specifically, “Bad Blood” was written about the disappointment Swift felt towards someone she once deemed to have been a close friend. In general, Taylor Swift has become known as someone who mines her personal life for inspiration when it comes to her songs. She is often praised for allowing herself to be so publicly vulnerable. While she has many break-up songs under her belt, “Bad Blood” was different because it was aimed at another female. Taylor Swift has never come forward and identified who the subject is on “Bad Blood” but many people suspect that it is fellow singing star, Katy Perry. For a while in the mid-2010s, Swift and Perry carried on a very public “feud” which resulted in both releasing songs that hint at ill-will directed toward the other. Supporters of Taylor Swift point to “Bad Blood” as being a sign that they, too, should feel unafraid to stand up for themselves when others let them down. I am not sure if Sophie likes “Bad Blood” for this reason or if she simply feels Swift is being bold and she likes to feel she would react with the same confidence given the circumstances.
When I asked Sophie why she liked the song, she simply replied that she likes how it sounds. Fair enough. I would like to hope that she can see through some of the manufactured emotions that accompany new releases sometimes. Studio romances. Bad breakups. Friendship betrayals. These are part of real-life, at times, and they are also part of how the music business plays its’ games, too. I am hopeful that Sophie is becoming a bit more of a critical consumer when it comes to her entertainment choices. But, having said that, I want her to enjoy how songs sound, too. Music is meant to be listened to and danced to and enjoyed. So, if “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift is simply a good sounding song in Sophie’s mind then, I am ok with that. Not that what I think about it matters because, as we all know, having the power to make your own choices in life is one of the best parts about growing up. And, as much as I have mixed emotions about it, Sophie is definitely growing up. She enjoys Taylor Swift songs and I hope that you do, too. So, without further delay, here is “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Taylor Swift, can be found here.