You’re probably right. ‘Swish Swish’ is probably about Taylor Swift but Katy Perry keeps her crosshairs annoyingly wide enough that fans are forced to make the assumptions for themselves. ‘I think it’s a great anthem for people whenever someone’s trying to hold you down or bully you,’ claimed Perry when probed about the track’s intentions by Jimmy Fallon. Unfortunately, like the crude buffet-themed ‘Bon Appetit’, ‘Swish Swish’ is another so-near-yet-so-far for Perry.
Similarly to ‘Bon Appetit’, Perry enlists another all-star producer in Duke Dumont to set the pins up for Perry to knock down but his lite-tropical house beat is disappointingly generic. Tinie Tempah would have grounds for a ‘Blurred Lines’-esque lawsuit- the beat is extremely similar to the instrumentation on his Zara Larsson featuring hit ‘Girls Like’ (and probably half of the tracks that will congest the charts this summer). As for Perry, she just sounds uninspired; her lyrics sound like they’ve been stolen from those irritating motivational posters you see plastered around high school hallways (‘I stay winning’, ‘Can’t touch this’, ‘Swish, swish, bish’). ‘Your game is tired,’ spits Perry, ‘you should retire’. By this point, we really are questioning who Perry is talking about; is it Swift or herself? You can’t help but lean towards the latter.
But luckily for Perry, the always reliable Nicki Minaj spares her blushes. Minaj references her own beef with Remy Ma, as well as rapidly spitting a bunch of shoutouts to Migos and fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo. Sass and savagery comes naturally to Minaj and the conviction of her delivery far outweighs Perry’s pithy attempts. You can hear that Minaj is trying not to upstage Perry here, but it seems that nowadays even Minaj on a bad day has more sheen to her work than the disillusioned Perry.