Katy Perry Wants You To Know She's An Underdog
The Debrief: And Nicki Minaj is the queen, but you already knew that, right?
Katy Perry wants you to know that she’s the plucky underdog. In her new video for Swish Swish, she plays the inept captain of an incredibly under qualified basketball team. There’s a sweaty girl, a girl who won’t stop eating, Gaten Matarazzo from Stranger Things, some other dudes and that boy from the meme who danced to Swish Swish in that viral video. The Tigers are trying to play against a team of burly, skilled and hairy basketballers, but they’re not doing well. That is, until Nicki Minaj, stately and regal in demeanour (when is she not, to be fair) arrives and gives them all a pep talk.
Now, before Katy Perry stans get het up, we were ready to like Katy Perry as much as the next pop star. We were excited by the blonde crop, by the comeback, by the maturity in her voice and self and everything. It’s also pretty annoying that Witness hasn't done as well as it should have; a lot of the songs on it are Not Bad.
But with her new video for Swish Swish, she’s taken straight out of Taylor Swift (who the diss track is about!)’s book.
Taylor Swift has long tried to make it out that she’s the scrappy, relatable girl, who deserves a chance over all the other queen bees. It’s in her songs ‘She's cheer captain/ And I’m on the bleachers’ and in her interactions with other music bigwigs. Remember how she wrote that open letter to Apple asking them to pay their musicians properly and then, suddenly, they did? Funny, that…
Casting yourself as the underdog isn’t just a thing that Taylor or Katy have done. Ed Sheeran performs in scruffy jeans and sings about going to an all-u-can-eat Chinese restaurant as if he couldn’t get a G7 to fly him temperature-controlled takeaway from Shanghai.
This pretence is neither problematic nor upsetting. It doesn’t mean people who do it are ‘trash’ or not worth listening to. But after spending so long in a feud with Taylor, why has Katy taken straight from her songbook? Surely Katy has the objectivity to see that when millionaire stars pretend to normal schlubs that they're normal schlubs too, it comes off as patronising. What happened to pop stars acting like the stars they are, being majestic and owning up to that majesty? Well, look no further than one Nicki Minaj…
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