Because Katy Perry’s aesthetic for this album cycle is doing way too much yet, at the same time, not quite enough, her just-released video for “Swish Swish” is the perfect Witness-era artifact. Bowing almost four months after the flop single arrived DOA, the slapstick “Swish Swish” doesn’t perpetuate bad blood with Taylor Swift (about all “Swish Swish” has in common with the “Bad Blood” clip is that it also portrays a crew). Instead, it focuses on a plot about a basketball game-turned-professional wrestling match—it literalizes the song’s metaphor so as to dumb down a track that was not at all smart in the first place.
What else? There is so much! (It’s six-and-a-half minutes long!) “Swish Swish” features Katy frequently mugging into the camera to remind us that though she may be woke now, she is still wacky at heart. There’s Terry Crews, there’s a Stranger Things kid, there’s an eating vlogger. There’s Nicki Minaj delivering one of her very worst verses in a scene that appears to have been shot on a day that Katy wasn’t on set? There’s a drone shot.
I could go on all day complaining about this latest misstep of Katy’s, but instead I will attempt to say something nice about this since I’m always trying to challenge myself and keep those brain wheels spinning. And so here is my nice thing: The color correction on this is lovely. Very cinematic.
Other coworkers of mine have chimed in with their one nice thing about this video. “I think Nicki Minaj looks great as usual,” says Aimée Lutkin. “When Nicki says, ‘Get it together, Katy,’ I like that part,” reports Bobby Finger. Now, stretch your mind, choose your words, and you give it a try!