Swish Swish

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"Swish Swish"
Katy Perry - Swish Swish.png
Single by Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj
from the album Witness
Released May 19, 2017
Format Digital download
Studio
Genre
Length 4:02
Label Capitol
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Duke Dumont
  • PJ Sledge (additional)
  • Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy
  • (additional and vocal)
Katy Perry singles chronology
"Bon Appétit"
(2017)
"Swish Swish"
(2017)
"Feels"
(2017)

"Bon Appétit"
(2017)
"Swish Swish"
(2017)
"Feels"
(2017)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Kissing Strangers"
(2017) Kissing Strangers2017
"Swish Swish"
(2017) Swish Swish2017
"Rake It Up"
(2017) Rake It Up2017
Music video
"Swish Swish" on YouTube

"Swish Swish" is a song by American singer Katy Perry featuring American rapper Nicki Minaj for Perry's fifth studio album, Witness (2017). It was written by Perry, Duke Dumont, Sarah Hudson, PJ "Promnite" Sledge, Minaj and Brittany Hazzard, while being produced by Dumont, with additional production by Sledge and Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy and vocal production by Passovoy. The song was initially released as a promotional single on May 19, 2017, and later it was quickly served as the album's third single. "Swish Swish" is a house-inspired EDM and hip hop song that samples "Star 69" by Fatboy Slim which in turn samples "I Get Deep" by Roland Clark.

A song about fighting against bullies, "Swish Swish" uses basketball metaphors to talk about overcoming hateful people and thriving. Multiple media outlets suspected that the song was a response to Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood", which was believed to be about Perry. Music critics were divided with "Swish Swish"; some praised the track's empowering environment, while others criticized its lyrics. However, Minaj's verses were applauded. Commercially, "Swish Swish" reached the top 10 in the Philippines and Scotland, the top 20 in Belgium (Wallonia), Canada, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, and the top 30 in Australia, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Promotion for the track begun with a live debut of the track on Saturday Night Live, with a performance that went viral. Subsequently, Perry continued to promote the track during BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend, the 2017 Glastonbury Festival and The Voice Australia. Later, to further promote the track, a lyric video for the track, featuring Brazilian singer Gretchen, was released on July 3, 2017. The official music video, directed by Dave Meyers, premiered on August 24, 2017. Three days later, Perry and Minaj performed the track together for the first time during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. "Swish Swish" is featured in the video game Just Dance 2018, with its dance choreography also appearing in its music video.

Production and release[edit]

Minaj (pictured) is a featured artist on "Swish Swish" and co-wrote her verse.

After Duke Dumont produced a track Perry recorded for H&M's 2015 holiday campaign called "Every Day Is a Holiday",[1] he expressed interest in working with the singer again, adding: "I think we could switch things up a little more for the next record. Who knows what we could do?."[2] Eventually, they paired together to work on the record, with Dumont claiming that Perry was a fan of his music and that they kept in touch, noting that "her vision for the album wasn't a million miles away from the stuff I'm making."[3] He added: "[...] working on this project it was great seeing what her vision was for the album and being able to help with that. I am genuinely excited for the music."[3] Dumont also said that "it was a very easy process and we made the song quickly. And then about two weeks ago I heard that [Nicki Minaj] is going to feature on it, it was very quick."[3]

Minaj's appearance on the track was only discovered when the song was released. Minaj and Perry previously worked together on Minaj's song "Get on Your Knees", with Perry writing it with the rapper. However, she did not have time to record her vocals, and Ariana Grande ended up singing the song. As Perry recalled, "We've always wanted to collaborate, we've done so many things together... we did a VH1 show. [...] I actually sent her a couple of songs before these songs were out and she loved 'Swish Swish' the most and she just did it so much justice. Honestly, I just want her to do the whole song."[4] Perry also talked about Minaj's rap skills, commenting: "With Nicki, she's such a [boss-ass bitch] that you can send her anything and her pen game is crazy."[4] On May 18, 2017, Perry announced on Instagram the track would be released at midnight Eastern time.[5] "Swish Swish" was released the next day as the third single from her fifth album Witness, and was included along with the pre-order of the album upon its debut.[6][7] Its single cover features Perry's "blinged-out hand holding receipts from a place called 'Karma Coffee & Tea'."[8] On May 26, 2017, Capitol Records confirmed it would focus on promoting "Swish Swish" to pop radio.[9]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Swish Swish" was written by Perry with Duke Dumont, Sarah Hudson, PJ "Promnite" Sledge, Minaj and Brittany Hazzard, while its production was done by Dumont with additional production by Sledge and Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy.[10][11] It samples "Star 69" by Fatboy Slim which in turn samples "I Get Deep" by Roland Clark.[12][13][14][15] Its bass line was noted to be similar to Maya Jane Coles' "What They Say" (2010).[16][15] The song is performed in the key of F minor with a tempo of 120 beats per minute in common time. It follows a chord progression of Cm7–A♭maj7–Gm7–Cm7–A♭maj7–Fm7, and Perry's vocals span from E♭3 to A♭4.[17] The track is four minutes and two seconds long.[18] "Swish Swish" is a house-inspired[14][19] EDM song.[20] Raisa Bruner of Time defined it as a hip hop song.[21] It starts with a sparse piano,[13] before the "club-ready beat" kicks in.[21] Lyrically, "Swish Swish" uses basketball metaphors to talk about getting over the haters.[13][21] As added by Da'Shan Smith of Billboard "'Swish Swish' "is targeted towards a 'sheep' who is 'calculated' but not capable of bringing down Perry's spirits."[22] Perry stated "Swish Swish" represents "a liberation from all the negative that doesn't serve you" as part of the "360-degree liberation" theme of her Witness album. She also called it a "great anthem for people to use when someone's trying to hold you down or bully you".[23] The song starts with Perry comparing herself to a tiger, "declaring that one 'don't lose no sleep/ don't need opinions/ from a shellfish or a sheep.'"[13] During the song, she claims herself as a "courtside killer queen,"[13] and in the chorus, Perry "sweetly" sings "'Swish swish, bish. Another one in the basket!'."[24] Minaj's rap alludes to her "silly rap beefs" as well as Migos.[13]

Following its release, several publications suggested that "Swish Swish" was a diss track in response to Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" (2014), which was believed to be about Perry.[12][13][16][22][24][25][26] Before the song being released, Perry was asked if there was a reaction to "Bad Blood" on Witness, with Perry replying: "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."[27] When asked if the song was directed at anyone in particular on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Perry simply replied that the song is an anti-bullying anthem.[28] Additionally, Nicki Minaj's verse contains the line, "Silly rap beefs just get me more checks," which addresses Minaj's own purported "beef" with rapper Remy Ma, while also referring to her as a stan.[29] On May 22, 2017, while appearing on the Carpool Karaoke segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden, after singing to "Swish Swish", Corden asked Perry about a 2013[30] feud between her and Swift. "There's a situation. [...] Honestly, it's really like she started it, and it's time for her to finish it."[31] She also added: "[T]here is the law of cause and effect. You do something, there's going to be a reaction, and trust me daddy, there's going to be a reaction. It's all about karma, right?."[31]

Critical reception[edit]

"Swish Swish" divided music critics. Leonie Cooper of NME was very positive, noting that "calling in Nicki Minaj’s fast and furious flow for the Fatboy Slim-sampling 'Swish Swish', meanwhile, is something of a master stroke, turning a good song into a great one."[32] Raisa Bruner of Time defined the song as "a feisty hip-hop track that lets both artists show off their respective areas of expertise".[21] Rianne Houghton of Digital Spy called it "a sexy, shady banger, and it's all about keeping receipts."[33] Hannah J Davies of The Guardian claimed that the song "is a house-fuelled banger with undeniable groove and nonsense content."[34] Kevin O'Donnell of Entertainment Weekly called "Swish Swish" "one of the best party-starters of her career, destined for some killer remixes," also praising the "fiery verse" from Nicki Minaj.[35]

Nylon writer Sydney Gore also praised Minaj for being "absolutely ruthless when she comes in toward the end."[8] Kitty Empire of The Observer also noted that "the Roland Clark sample" and "the ever-inventive Nicki Minaj, provides more top-flight, shade-throwing diva product."[36] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine praised that Perry "convincingly dabbles in house" in the song.[37] Wren Graves for Consequence of Sound picked as the album's standout track, defining it as a "spunky, funky kiss-off track with a spellbinding beat by Duke Dumont, [where] Perry is deadly with her put-downs" and "Nicki Minaj is trotted out for punchline duty and punches gamely."[38] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic also selected it as a highlight from the album.[20] Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times thought the song was "a delight as Perry rhymes 'another one in the basket' with 'another one in the casket' over Duke Dumont's thrusting '90s-house beat".[39]

Jillian Mapes of Pitchfork was less favorable, declaring: "If you're going to do something as tired as fueling this beef, at least give us the satisfaction of making it deliciously shady."[40] Anna Gaca of Spin noted it as "another single that makes little sense", and "a random grab bag of Perry's vocals, obnoxious voice-altering effects, and piano flourishes, all laid over a house-inflected beat".[19] Gavin Miller of Drowned in Sound was mixed in his review, calling "largely just a deep house track with Katy Perry singing a topline, which isn’t a bad thing," but felt the producers were "just offering up tunes they’ve had on their hard drives for Perry’s team to compartmentalise and see what demographics they represent."[41] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph felt the song was "too generic to land any blows,"[42] while Mike Wass of Idolator felt Nicki's verse was "generic" and that it "sounds like a rehash of every feature she has released in 2017."[24]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Swish Swish" debuted and peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100[43][44] while reaching number 33 on the Pop Songs chart.[45] The song fared better on the Dance Club Songs chart, becoming her 18th number-one on the chart.[46] By having eighteen songs at the top, Perry became the fifth singer with most number-ones on the Dance Club charts and extended her record for most consecutive number-one songs on the chart.[46] As of September 2017, it has sold 165,288 copies in the country,[47] and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[48] In Canada, the song first opened at number 27 on the Canadian Hot 100.[49] "Swish Swish" later climbed to number 13, becoming Perry's 22nd top-twenty entry in the nation.[50] It has since been certified Platinum by Music Canada (MC) for shipments of 80,000 units.[51]

In Australia, "Swish Swish" first entered at number 37 on the ARIA Charts on June 4, 2017, before peaking at number 22 in July.[52] In the United Kingdom, "Swish Swish" debuted at number 40 on the UK Singles Chart.[53] It ascended to number 29 following the music video's release as well as Perry and Minaj's live performance of the track at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards,[54] and later reached number 19 in the nation.[55] "Swish Swish" has also been certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 400,000 units.[56] In France, the song debuted and peaked at number 24, on the week of May 27, 2017; although it has spent other six weeks fluctuating the charts, until its re-entering at number 51 on September 2, 2017.[57] In Germany, "Swish Swish" became Perry's lowest charting single, peaking at number 76.[58]

Music video[edit]

Development[edit]

A lyric video for the song was released on YouTube on July 3, 2017, and features Brazilian singer and reality television personality Gretchen.[59] It was directed by Dario Vetere, and it features choreography by Fabio Duarte and CK Calasans.[60] Two days later, Perry announced a contest titled the "#SwishSwishChallenge" for dancers to appear in the song's official music video where candidates submit videos of themselves dancing, and she would select her favorite dancer. After applicants posted their entries by the end of July 12, the video was filmed later in the month.[61] A teaser for the official video was posted on August 21, 2017, on Perry's personal YouTube account.[62]

Synopsis and reception[edit]

The official music video for the single was directed by Dave Meyers and released on August 24, 2017. It includes appearances from Russell Horning, Gaten Matarazzo, Jenna Ushkowitz, Doug the Pug, Christine Sydelko, Dexter Mayfield, Rob Gronkowski, Molly Shannon, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rich Eisen, Bill Walton, and Terry Crews. Kia Stevens, Britney Young, Sydelle Noel, Ellen Wong, and Jackie Tohn make appearances as their characters from GLOW. In the video, Perry plays "Kobe Perry" the captain of the basketball team "The Tigers" whose opponents are known as "The Sheep", and Minaj performs during the game's halftime show. The video also features the brief reappearance of Kathy Beth Terry, Perry's character from "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)",[63] as well as a brief segment featuring the Bag Raiders song, "Shooting Stars".[64] The National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, was used for exterior views of the venue in the video.[65] The official music video has over 450 million views on YouTube as of June 2018.[66]

Elias Leight of Rolling Stone named it "goofy".[67] Dave Holmes of Esquire noted that "like all great pop music videos, 'Swish Swish' leaves you exhausted, annoyed, confused, and a good seven years older than you were six minutes ago. It's a shame, too, because when Katy Perry stops trying to be your hilarious best friend, she's capable of great pop music."[68] Jordan Sargent of Spin wrote that the video was "bad", though added "it does at least feel like Katy Perry in all her messy glory. Still, there's a gulf between Perry's slapstick character and the fang-toothed, confrontational song that's impossible to bridge. As such, Perry barely even performs the song during the video. Instead, it's as if 'Swish Swish' is the music playing softly behind a comedy sketch that you're not really meant to pay attention to."[69]

Live performances[edit]

Perry performing the song during her Witness: The Tour, in a basketball themed setting.

Perry performed "Swish Swish" solo on the Saturday Night Live season finale on May 20, 2017.[70] The performance quickly went viral, with much of the attention coming towards Russell Horning, dubbed the "Backpack Kid".[71] Perry also performed the song during her set on BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend on May 27, 2017,[72] the 2017 Glastonbury Festival on June 24, 2017,[73] as well as on The Voice Australia finale on July 2, 2017,[74] featuring male dancers in high heels.[74] On June 26, Minaj performed a verse of the song at the first-ever NBA Awards.[75] Perry also performed the song live with Minaj for the first time at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.[76] As stated by Billboard 's Joe Lynch, Perry started the performance "standing atop an enormous half-basketball on stage." As Lynch wrote, "her backup dancers sport[ed] nets-for-veils on their faces", while later "the half-basketball rotated around to reveal Nicki Minaj hidden inside." Near the end of the performance, Perry flew "above the crowd and landing atop a basketball hoop just in time to end the show on a literal slam dunk while basketball balloons dropped over the crowd."[76] The song is also performed on Perry's Witness: The Tour. Halfway through the performance, Perry invites a member from the audience onstage for a basketball shooting contest.[77]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[18]
  1. "Swish Swish" (featuring Nicki Minaj) – 4:02
  • Digital download – Cheat Codes Remix[78]
  1. "Swish Swish" (Cheat Codes Remix) (featuring Nicki Minaj) – 3:01
  • Digital download – Valentino Khan Remix[79]
  1. "Swish Swish" (Valentino Khan Remix) (featuring Nicki Minaj) – 3:20
  • Digital download – Blonde Remix[80]
  1. "Swish Swish" (Blonde Remix) – 4:06

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording

Management

  • When I'm Rich You'll Be My Bitch (ASCAP), administered by WB Music Corp., Adam George Dyment publishing designee, Italians Do It Better/Prescription Songs/Unsub Pub (ASCAP), Paul M. Sledge (ASCAP), Harajuku Barbie Music/Songs of Universal Inc. (BMI), People Over Planes/These Are Songs of Pulse (ASCAP), WB Music Corp. on behalf of itself and Greyhound Music (ASCAP) and Central P.E.C. Music (ASCAP)
  • Contais excerpts of "I Get Deep" written and performed by Roland Clark and published by WB Music Corp. on behalf of itself and Greyhound Music (ASCAP) and Central P.E.C. Music (ASCAP)
  • Nicki Minaj appears courtesy of Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records/Republic Records

Personnel

  • Katy Perry – lead vocals, songwriter
  • Nicki Minaj – featured vocals, songwriter
  • Duke Dumont – songwriter, producer, synths, drums, programming
  • PJ "Promnite" Sledge – songwriter, additional producer, keyboards
  • Noah "Malibox" Passovoy – songwriter, additional producer, engineering, vocal producer, additional keys, programming
  • Sarah Hudson – songwriter
  • Rachael Findlen – engineering
  • Zeke Mishanec – engineering assistant
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – additional engineering, vocals recording (Nicki Minaj)
  • Ian Findlay – vocals engineering assistant (Nicki Minaj)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • John Hanes – mixing engineering
  • Randy Merrill – mastering

Credits and personnel adapted from Witness album liner notes.[10]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[115] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[51] Platinum 80,000^
France (SNEP)[116] Gold 75,000*
Italy (FIMI)[117] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[48] Platinum 165,288[47]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label Ref.
Various May 19, 2017 Digital download Capitol [118]
June 30, 2017 Digital download –
  • Valentino Khan remix
  • Cheat Codes Remix
[79]
August 25, 2017 Digital download – Blonde remix [80]
Italy September 22, 2017 Contemporary hit radio Universal [119]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]