At first glance I wasn’t a big fan. It was a bit too busy. Too much happening in such a short period of time. I’m a part of the Thriller, BAD and Do You Remember The Time generation that were spoiled with epic Michael Jackson videos that pushed the envelope, but never overshadowed Michael’s talent. To this day, the star of Michael Jackson’s videos weren’t the stories or the acting; it was Michael’s dancing (and the costumes). Watching modern music videos is enough to make you break out into a Bernie Mac-like rant about how much better things used to be.
After revisiting Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video a few days later, I appreciated it more. It’s a product of this generation that loves celebrity and computer generated special effects. Purists may hate it; everyone else will love it. If MJ were making Thriller today he might do the same thing.
Bad Blood has a fairly eclectic cast featuring strong and successful women from different age groups and creative disciplines, from music and acting to modelling, including Selena Gomez as Arsyn, Cindy Crawford as Headmistress, and Karlie Kloss as Knockout. Kendrick Lamar, who features on the track, makes an appearance as Welvin Da Great. Kudos to Swift for wanting to empower women of all ages. The one setback is that there are so many women in the cast, a lot of time is spent introducing characters. As a result, the climax, the final battle scene, only lasts a few seconds. Perhaps there will be an extended version, like some of MJ’s classics, that will give us a little more.
Overall, I commend Taylor Swift for putting so much time and effort into a music video and pushing the artistic envelope. It’s probably the most elaborate video that we’ve seen in a long time. There’s no doubt that Swift is a major cultural influencer. As if she needed anymore shine, this video along with her record-breaking lifetime Billboard Music Award haul establishes her as not just the top pop act in the world, but the top recording artist on the planet right now. It would be good for the industry if this leads to an increase in movie quality, story-based music videos where recording artists see themselves as not just a product but a producer. My bold prediction: Kanye West was inspired by Bad Blood and will star in, produce and direct a short film for one of his upcoming videos.
Reviewed by Kevin Bourne (@kevinrbourne)