Breaking Down Katy Perry’s Word Salad About the Never-ending Taylor Swift Feud

By
Katy Perry and Taylor Swift during happier times. Photo: 2010 Getty Images

Katy Perry is currently promoting her forthcoming untitled album, which will be her first full-length release in four years. In the intervening weeks and months, she has busied herself completing a bachelor’s degree in postcolonial feminist theo — no wait, she has been feuding with Taylor Swift. The legendary clash of the pop titans commenced roughly four years ago, when Perry reportedly hired some of Swift’s backup dancers out from under her for an arena tour. Swift responded to the alleged backstabbing in 2014 with “Bad Blood,” a mean-girl anthem widely believed to be directed at Perry. The question on every American citizen’s mind now is obvious: Will Perry provide a response to “Bad Blood” on her new album?

Luckily, Entertainment Weekly asked the 32-year-old pop star this exact question in an interview released today. Unluckily, Perry’s reply is inscrutable. I have read the 198-word response, which invokes female empowerment and God, several times, and I still do not understand any part of it. Maybe you do? Let’s diagram these near-sentences together.

THE QUESTION: “There are rumors that ‘Bad Blood’ is about you. Does this album have a reaction to ‘Bad Blood’?”

THE ANSWER: “Well that’s not my question to answer — if it’s about me. I think [my new album is] a very empowered record. There is no one thing that’s calling out any one person. One thing to note is: You can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. It’s not about that. Honestly, when women come together and they decide to unite, this world is going to be a better place. Period end of story. But, let me say this: Everything has a reaction or a consequence so don’t forget about that, okay, honey. [Laughs] We got to keep it real, honey. This record is not about anyone else! This record is about me being seen and heard so that I can see and hear everyone else! It’s not even about me! It’s about everything that I see out there that I digest. I think there’s a healing in it for me and vulnerability. If people want to connect and be healed and feel vulnerable and feel empowered and strong, God bless and here it is.”

AS I SAID: What?

I guess we should start from the beginning.

“Well that’s not my question to answer — if it’s about me.”

Perry begins her answer to the question by referring to another question: the question of whether “Bad Blood” is, indeed, about her. That question is not her question to answer. Fair enough; let’s continue.

“I think [my new album is] a very empowered record. There is no one thing that’s calling out any one person.”

So this part is moderately straightforward: Perry says her record is “empowered,” and that on it she does not call out “any one person.” So that’s the answer, right? There is not a response to “Bad Blood” on the album. But wait, one thing to note is:

“One thing to note is: You can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. It’s not about that.”

ATTN: Anyone, Anyone, Anyone, Anyone: Don’t come for Perry. That’s a message for Anyone, not Taylor Swift. Okay, so are we done now?

“Honestly, when women come together and they decide to unite, this world is going to be a better place. Period end of story.”

Sure. BUT.

“But, let me say this: Everything has a reaction or a consequence so don’t forget about that, okay, honey. [Laughs] We got to keep it real, honey.”

This part seems to suggest that there is a reaction to “Bad Blood” on the album, honey. Except:

“This record is not about anyone else! This record is about me being seen and heard so that I can see and hear everyone else! It’s not even about me! It’s about everything that I see out there that I digest.”

So, this record is not about Taylor Swift, but it is about Katy Perry, but it’s not even about Katy Perry — it’s about everything that Katy Perry is eating. Or maybe it’s just about, like, Jesus.

“I think there’s a healing in it for me and vulnerability. If people want to connect and be healed and feel vulnerable and feel empowered and strong, God bless and here it is.”

God bless and here it is: an album that may or may not refer, obliquely, to Perry’s archenemy, which is not to say that Perry even has an archenemy, or that her name is Taylor Swift — that is not for Perry to answer. It would be better for us all to unite, except, of course, if someone is being rude. The future is female, Amen.

It’s simply as clear as Perry’s previous statements about the Swift matter.

Breaking Down Katy Perry’s Word Salad About Taylor Swift