Track Review | Katy Perry ft. Nicki Minaj, ‘Swish Swish’
Katy Perry continues to search for some momentum leading into her fifth album, ‘Witness.’ Unfortunately, “Swish Swish,” featuring Nicki Minaj, falls short.
A new Katy Perry album arrives on June 9, 2017. Normally, the arrival of Witness would be an event. Yes, the arrival of Witness is still a big deal, BUT expectations have been tempered. Debut single “Chained to the Rhythm,” featuring Skip Marley performed solidly, but failed to ascend to the heights of previous Perry singles. Second single, “Bon Appétit” tapped Migos, but felt stale from the start. Perhaps third time is charm as she drops “Swish Swish,” assisted by Nicki Minaj.
Beginning with the pros, “Swish Swish” is more intriguing than “Bon Appétit.” Why? Everyone knows that Katy Perry is taking shots at her rival, Taylor Swift. That, in itself, amplifies the buzz.
“So keep calm, honey, I’m a stick around / For more than a minute, get used to it / Funny, my name keeps comin’ outcho mouth / ‘Cause I stay winning / Lay ‘em up like…”
Clearly, Perry is confident about her status in the game, evidenced by the chorus, which follows:
“Swish, swish, bish / Another one in the basket / Can’t touch this / Another one in the casket.”
Another pro is enlisting Nicki Minaj, who outperforms Perry. That isn’t to say it’s the greatest Nicki Minaj verse ever, but she has her moments. She cleverly name-drops Offset of Migos using wordplay, and she references “Stan” and Snow White. So, those are the pros. That said, there are CONS.
The first con is the production. While this particular track would’ve been a stunner in the 90s, it sounds dated in 2017. This is an anachronism that just doesn’t quite work. Sure, it’s danceable, but not particularly appealing. The second con is Perry’s vocals. Perry is by no means the best pop vocalist, no disrespect, but she’s had her fair share of moments. “Swish Swish” isn’t among them. There are no vocal moments here that make her stand out or incite the listener to dub her as the crème de la crème.
Continuing the criticism, “Swish Swish” as a whole feels like Perry is searching for another no. 1 hit. In 2013, “Roar” felt like a natural record to ascend to the top of the Hot 100, which it did. As for “Swish Swish,” it seems like another undercooked attempt for chart glory and redemption for Perry, who’s four years removed from her last album. While Nicki Minaj is the best part of this record, she isn’t enough to take this joint to the next level. All in all, “Swish Swish” underwhelms.