Swine (song)

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Song by Lady Gaga from the album Artpop
Length 4:28
  • Blair
  • Lady Gaga
  • Monson
  • Zisis
Artpop track listing

"Swine" is a song by American singer Lady Gaga, taken from her third studio album, Artpop (2013). The song was written and produced by Gaga, Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair, Dino Zisis, and Nick Monson. It debuted at number 88 in the Gaon Chart of South Korea, selling 2,430 copies. In the United States, "Swine" reached a peak position of number 23 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart. "Swine" was featured (along with Gaga's "Till It Happens to You") in the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, which focuses on rape at American universities.[1]


Paul "DJ White Shadow" Blair co-wrote the song.

Musically, "Swine" is a dubstep and industrial song.[2][3][4] Based on the "teaser" of Gaga rehearsing for the iTunes Festival, Entertainment Weekly described "Swine" as a "real shocker with Nine Inch Nails lyrics and bull-in-a-bong-shop Deep Purple groove".[5] Consequence of Sound noted the creation of the Twitter hashtag #swinefest and called the song a "melancholy piano ballad that eventually erupts into a raging pop-rocker, backed by piercing guitar and synths".[6] Gil Kaufman of MTV News described the track as a "rock-heavy" song.[7] Lyrically, the song denounces a suitor by comparing them to a pig.[8]

In December 2014, Gaga revealed on The Howard Stern Show that she was raped at age 19 by a producer twenty years older than her.[9] During her conversation with Stern, Gaga recalled, "I went through some horrific things. I'm able to laugh now because I've gone through a lot of mental, physical and emotional therapy ... I wasn't even willing to admit that anything had even happened ... I saw him one time in a store, and I was paralyzed by fear." She confirmed that the incident inspired "Swine", saying, "I wrote a song called 'Swine'; the song is about rape. The song is about demoralization. The song is about rage and fury and passion, and I had a lot of pain that I wanted to release.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

After the song was made available online, Idolator contributor Carl Williott compared the studio version to her iTunes Festival performance and said, "That rendition was particularly wild, and the studio version is even more schizophrenic and rave-ready". Furthermore, he wrote of the song: "It's a sonic onslaught of synth washes, a ground-churning bass line, jittery keyboards, hiccuping vocal samples and crescendos leading to drops in all the expected places. But amidst the EDM overload, Gaga manages to humanize things with one of her raspier, rawer vocal performances. And, for a dubstep song, it's got a remarkably huge 'Swiiine' refrain hidden in there."[2] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard called "Swine" a "shrieking industrial number" in which Gaga sounds "physically disgusted". Lipshutz said the song was not as "accessible or cleverly penned" as other songs on Artpop, but "as far as detours go, this one's fascinating".[4] Nicole James from Fuse deemed it "basically the polar opposite of 'Applause'".[11] Kitty Empire from The Guardian praised the song as the album's "wow-factor centrepiece, if not its greatest hit".[12]

Live performances[edit]

In August 2013, Gaga released a one-minute "teaser" of the song, which showed her rehearsing for the iTunes Festival.[13] Simultaneously, she posted a picture with a tweet that read, "REHEARSAL PIC #SWINEFEST #GETREADYTOSQUEAL."[14] Gaga's show at the iTunes Festival, held in London on September 1, 2013, was streamed online.[6] During her performance of "Swine", Gaga's dancers wore pig masks and sprayed paint into the crowd. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy rated her performance 3.5 on a scale of 5 and said that she "reached the peak of bonkersness". He further wrote, "Fortunately, beneath the madness seemed to be quite a good song that we can only describe as an angsty raveathon".[15]

Gaga and her dancers performing "Swine" in San Diego in 2014 as part of ArtRave: The Artpop Ball tour

In March 2014 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, Gaga introduced "Swine" as a song about "rape and rage",[16] then invited artist Millie Brown to accompany her on stage. During the duo's performance, Brown vomited green-colored liquid onto the stage and Gaga.[17][18] They then climbed onto a large mechanical bull that had a pig's head and a ball gag in its mouth,[16][19] riding it together and simulating sex acts.[17] Brown continued to vomit onto Gaga and her white apron during their time atop the bull.[19] Rolling Stone reported:

While Gaga lay on her back, writhing on the rotating pig, Brown straddled her and humped her. It would have been a burlesque version of overheated sexuality — except that Brown was sticking her fingers down her throat, regurgitating black goo that splattered all over Gaga. The result was memorable and genuinely unsettling: even with the apron, unwanted body fluids were all over Gaga, in her skin and her dreadlocks. For the rest of the show, Gaga would have this black sheen, marking her as a metaphorical survivor of rape and an actual survivor of performance art.[16][18]

In the background was a neon sign with the text, "Lady Gaga's BBQ – Haus of Swine".[17][19] "Swine" has been called an "anti-rape track" and similarly her SXSW performance was called an "anti-rape demonstration".[18]

The performance of "Swine" at SXSW was criticized for when Brown vomited liquid on Gaga. Recovered bulimic Demi Lovato complained that the performance "glamorized" eating disorders.[20] In response to the controversy, Brown told MTV News: "I can understand why people would make that association, but my performance is really not a statement about eating disorders themselves."[21] Gaga herself told Today, "Millie and I know that not everybody's going to love that performance, but we both really believe in artistic expression and strong identities, and I support her and what she does. Artpop, my new album, is about bringing art and music together in the spirit of creative rebellion, and for us, that performance was art in its purest form."[22]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Lady Gaga – songwriter, lead vocals, producer, vocal arrangement
  • DJ White Shadow – songwriter, producer
  • Dino "speedlove" Zisis – songwriter, producer
  • Nick Monson – songwriter, producer, mixing
  • Dave Russell – recording
  • Daniel Zaidenstadt – additional recording
  • Benjamin Rice – recording assistant
  • Tony Masterati – mixing
  • Jon Castelli – mixing engineering
  • Justin Hergett – mixing assistant
  • Rick Pearl – additional programming
  • Nicole Ganther – background vocals
  • Natalie Ganther – background vocals
  • Lyon Gray – background vocals
  • Ivy Skoff – union contract administrator
  • Gene Grimaldi – mastering

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Artpop.[23]


Charts (2013) Peak
South Korea (Gaon Music Chart)[24] 88
US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs (Billboard)[25] 23


  1. ^ Gallo, Phil (February 2, 2015). "Lady Gaga Contributes a Track to a Documentary About Campus Sexual Assaults and Other Music News From Sundance". Billboard. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Williott, Carl (October 24, 2013). "Lady Gaga's "Swine" Hits the Web: Listen". Idolator. SpinMedia. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Tucker, Rebecca (November 13, 2013). "With Artpop, Lady Gaga has done the unthinkable: She's gotten a bit boring". National Post. Postmedia Network. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (November 13, 2013). "Lady Gaga, 'ARTPOP': Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ Catucci, Nick (August 30, 2013). "Mix Lady Gaga makes the right moves with 'Manicure,' 'Swine' — hear her new music now". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Geslani, Michelle (August 29, 2013). "Watch Lady Gaga perform new ARTPOP song "Swine"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ Kaufman, Gil (August 29, 2013). "Lady Gaga Teases Rock-Heavy 'Swine' In ARTPOP Rehearsal Video". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ Martin, Samantha (September 5, 2013). "Lady Gaga "Swine" Lyrics Analysis: Pigs, Drugs, and General Confusion". Popdust. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/lady-gaga-reveals-raped-teen-article-1.2030868
  10. ^ Payne, Chris (December 2, 2014). "Lady Gaga Discusses Rape During Howard Stern Interview". Billboard. Retrieved February 8, 2016. 
  11. ^ James, Nicole (August 29, 2013). "Lady Gaga Teases Intense New 'ARTPOP' Track in Rehearsal Video". Fuse. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ Empire, Kitty (November 9, 2013). "Lady Gaga: Artpop – review". The Guardian. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Lady Gaga sneak peek: Who's new track 'Swine' about?". The Week. August 29, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  14. ^ Chan, Stephanie (August 30, 2013). "Lady Gaga Teases New Song 'Swine': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Copsey, Robter (September 2, 2013). "Lady Gaga at iTunes Festival: Track-by-track review". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Edwards, Gavin (March 14, 2014). "Lady Gaga Stages Dramatic Performance-Art Spectacle at SXSW". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c "Lady Gaga spitroasted and vomited on at SXSW event". NME. March 14, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c DeVille, Chris (March 14, 2014). "Watch Lady Gaga Get Doused in Neon Vomit While Riding a Mechanical S&M Pig at SXSW, Brought to You by Doritos". Stereogum. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c Anderson, Kyle (March 14, 2014). "Festivals Lady Gaga dedicates encore to SXSW accident victims, gets puked on". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Lady Gaga's new antics, gets vomited on during SXSW show". India Today. March 15, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ Ehrlich, Brenna (March 18, 2014). "Lady Gaga's Vomit Artist Responds To Demi Lovato's SXSW Slam". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (March 21, 2014). "Lady Gaga Previews 'G.U.Y.' Video, Explains SXSW Performance on 'TODAY' Show". Billboard. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ Gaga, Lady (2013). "'Swine' Digital booklet". Artpop (Liner notes). Lady Gaga. Santa Monica, California: Interscope Records. p. 5. 687955814. 
  24. ^ "Gaon International Download Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. November 17, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Lady Gaga – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for Lady Gaga. Retrieved March 31, 2014.