Is Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ About Katy Perry? A Textual Analysis


The ritual surrounding new Taylor Swift songs has, historically, been sussing out their subjects. Sometimes, the singer makes it easy, as with “Dear John,” her 2010 song widely perceived as a kiss-off to John Mayer; other songs, like most of her 2012 album Red, are more difficult to parse. Swift’s use of her own life experiences as grist for her lyrics has made her the subject of tiresome jokes, but has also become a central part of her identity.

But 1989, Swift’s new album, has precious few songs that grant the listener the pleasure of celebrity speculation (although, okay, the title of “Style” is five-sixths of the name of Swift’s ex Harry Styles, whose necklace Swift is believed to reference on “Out of the Woods”). The album comes off as deeply personal without relying on celebrity gossip to make its impact — except for the glee of “Bad…

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