All the grudges Swift sings about in Reputation’s best and pettiest track.
Listening to a Taylor Swift album happens on two levels. There’s the cursory listen, the one that reveals which songs sound completely different than Swift’s past work, which songs have that signature Swift earworm quality, and which songs aren’t quite up to snuff. And then there’s the deep listen, the one where every lyric stands poised to unlock some secret reference to her personal life.
“I Did Something Bad,” the third song on Swift’s new album Reputation, is a standout of both.
The song itself sounds like a mean girl imperial march wrapped around a churning beat, with thunderous stomps and synths that zip and zag, threatening to rip the song at the seams. It’s the best pop song on the album — which is why it’s so surprising that Swift has managed to weave so much juicy personal gossip into it.
“I Did Something Bad” is as petty as it is catchy.
In four minutes, Swift laces in references to longtime nemeses Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, while also dissing exes Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston. The number of vendettas on display is impressive, even for a master revenge songstress like Swift.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the song’s delicious Swift saltiness:
Kanye West is referenced in the first verse
The lyrics: “I never trust a narcissist, but they love me. So I play ’em like a violin, and I make it look oh so easy. ‘Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three. This is how the world works — now all he thinks about is me.”