Yes, let’s talk about it, shall we. We’ve already troubled our meagre minds over one of the trickiest questions of 2017, pondering at length whether Katy Perry’s ‘Swish Swish’ is certifiable trash or not, but now there’s another element to add to the equation. After a messy promo campaign that saw the release of a baffling lyric video, K-Pez has finally dropped the real thing. So before we go any further, let’s take a look at everyone’s favourite goofball in action.
I mean, it’s a lot to take in. Perry has form for releasing colourful, high-production music videos, but ‘Swish Swish’ is one of the most elaborate to date. And needless to say, it’s a bit of a mess.
So let’s start with the cast. Now, who are these humanoids? Aside from Perry, I recognise the lad out of Stranger Things and the backpack kid who appeared with her on this admittedly fantastic SNL performance. I feel like I’m expected to know who these other characters are, but for the life of me I have no idea. Sure, I could Google it, but there’s not an ounce of me that wants to know the name and profession of the moist girl in the yellow specs. There just isn’t.
Now for the serious bit. Dear readers, I regret to inform you that Katy Perry is at it again. She’s back on her bullshit. Reverting to eye-wateringly cringey antics so that Twitter gays will gif it and caption it ‘me’. We see Perry falling down after taking a basketball to her face in typically shrug-inducing slapstick style. Props to Perry for listing her hobby as ‘Miley Cyrus impersonator’, though.
“Where do they find these people?” asks an exasperated commentator who is probably also someone famous, and you’re left thinking that it’s quite a fair point, actually. Once the pre-song – that’s right, we’re not even at the song yet – guff is over, we see Perry and her low-achieving basketball buddies take on a rival – and far superior – team. Hilarity fails to ensue and not even a seemingly hefty budget can stop this all being a bit of a disaster. There are glimmers of hope though, such as a shot of the crowd holding up placards depicting a crying Perry – a screenshot from her recent 24 hour live stream that was subsequently memed. Despite its flamboyant and in-your-faceness, it’s the littler things that get the laughs.
Eventually, after an injection of ‘Kobe sweat’ – a reference to basketball pro Kobe Bryant – Perry and her team find a newfound energy that propels them to victory. A cheerleading squad of drag queens watch from the side, though that’s unfortunately where they stay. A pity, given Perry’s excellent drag-themed live version of the song.
At last, Nicki Minaj turns up to completely fuck up the narrative but at least shower a little glamour on the whole fugly affair. For a moment, I genuinely thought she’d be a no-show, but Perry’s team must have paid her a hefty sum to put in a cameo. Looking flawless, Minaj keeps her eyes covered for a large portion of her verse, presumably out of embarrassment and there’s an added irony when she delivers the line ‘I’m making hits with Katy’ given that, at least thus far, ‘Swish Swish’ has been a stupendous flop.
Annoyingly, the track is butchered for the video, punctuated by gaps that make for a jarring listen. By the time it reaches its confettied conclusion, you’re left with the rather empty feeling that comes from having squandered six and a half minutes of your life. ‘Swish Swish’ might be a vibrant, high-energy affair littered with (maybe) famous faces, but it lacks the humour, style or originality to make it worth the money that was undoubtedly thrown at it.