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I Did Something Bad

reputation (2017)

“I Did Something Bad” explores the darker trap sound of Taylor’s sixth studio album, reputation (2017). It plays on the media and public’s perception of her, with her singing as the character they portray her as. The song was apparently planned to be a single but was eventually scrapped.

Background

Taylor released her fifth studio album, 1989, in October 2014. Its synth-pop production transformed her sound and image from country-oriented to mainstream pop. The album was a massive commercial success, selling over five million copies in the U.S. within one year, and spawning three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles. The BBC asserted that the success of 1989 solidified Taylor’s status as a global pop star.

In 2016, when Taylor was at the peak of overexposure, some of her rivals in the industry (including Scooter Braun, Kanye West and Justin Bieber) succeded in launching a worldwide hate campaign against her. As a result, Taylor disappeared from public view for an entire year and thought about quitting music for good. She became increasingly reticent on social media, having previously maintained an active presence with a large following, and avoided interactions with the press. She conceived her sixth studio album, reputation, as an answer to the media commotion surrounding her celebrity.

Lyrical Theme

The song was initially teased with the lyric “they’re burning all the witches” in the music video for “…Ready For It?”. She said that this song was the first one she and Max Martin wrote where they felt they made something different enough from 1989.

«I wrote this song on piano...it's not going to sound like it, though. It's not that kind of song. So, I brought it to them [Max Martin & Shellback] and I was trying to explain the production. I had had a weird dream and I had woken up with this sound in my head. It was a sound that was so hooky and so catchy that I knew it had to be in a song because it was that annoying. It wouldn't stop going around in my head. Like, after the chorus, that's what I wanna hear, but I don't want it to be my voice, I want it to be an instrument. What instrument is that? So I was playing the voice memo to Max, and he's like 'Oh no, there's not an instrument that can do that. But what we can do is, we can take your voice doing it, and pitch it down, so that it sounds like an enchantress/a dude.' So, that's what you're hearing after the chorus.»

Taylor Swift
“I Did Something Bad” is also the first song in Taylor’s career which includes profane language (the word “shit”). Although it has explicit lyrics, the song and album are not marked as explicit.

Extended Bridge

Taylor performed “I Did Something Bad” when she opened the 2018 American Music Awards. In the remix performed on the “reputation Stadium Tour“, Taylor added new lyrics to the bridge of the song. In this version she says and insists that people are trying to destroy famous personalities only because they like to see someone fall from grace.

They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one
They got their pitchforks and proof, their receipts and reasons

They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one
And it’s just for fun

They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one
They got pitchforks and proof, they don’t need their reasons

Critical Reception

“I Did Something Bad” received mixed reviews. Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly noted the track as an example for Taylor’s new defiant attitude on reputation, where she makes confessional songs about “seduction, alcohol, and the soul-numbing isolation of fame”, which does not successfully show Swift’s abilities as a songwriter. Jordan Bassett from NME agreed, calling it the song that represents the album. On a positive side, Time‘s Raise Bruner complimented the lyrics for featuring “blazing imagery”. New York‘s Nate Jones opined that “I Did Something Bad” should have been reputation‘s lead single rather than “Look What You Made Me Do“, writing: “not only does ‘Something Bad’ sell the lack of remorse much better, it bangs harder than any other song on pop radio this summer except ‘Bodak Yellow’.” Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone said: “This is just waiting for her to turn it into a head-banging live guitar monster.”

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I never trust a narcissist, but they love me
So I play ’em like a violin
And I make it look oh-so-easy
‘Cause for every lie I tell them, they tell me three
This is how the world works
Now all he thinks about is me

[Pre-chorus 1]
I can feel the flames on my skin
Crimson-red paint on my lips
If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing
I don’t regret it one bit ’cause he had it coming

[Chorus]
They say I did something bad
Then why’s it feel so good?
They say I did something bad
But why’s it feel so good?
Most fun I ever had
And I’d do it over and over and over again if I could
It just felt so good, good

[Post-Chorus]
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
Da-da da-da

[Verse 2]
I never trust a playboy, but they love me
So I fly ’em all around the world
And I let them think they saved me
They never see it comin’, what I do next
This is how the world works
You gotta leave before you get left

[Pre-chorus 2]
I can feel the flames on my skin
He says, “Don’t throw away a good thing”
But if he drops my name, then I owe him nothin’
And if he spends my change, then he had it comin’

[Chorus]
They say I did something bad
Then why’s it feel so good?
They say I did something bad
But why’s it feel so good?
Most fun I ever had
And I’d do it over and over and over again if I could
It just felt so good, good

[Post-Chorus]
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
It just felt so good
Ra-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di-da-da
Da-da da-da

[Bridge]
They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one
They got their pitchforks and proof, their receipts and reasons
They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one
So light me up (Light me up)
Light me up (Light me up)
Light me up, go ahead and light me up (Light me up)
Light me up (Light me up)
Light me up (light me up)
Light me up (light me up)
Light me up

[Chorus]
They say I did something bad (Oh)
Then why’s it feel so good? (So good)
They say I did something bad
But why’s it feel so (Good) good?
Most fun I ever had (Most fun I ever had)
And I’d do it over and over and over again if I could
It just felt so good (Good), good

[Outro]
Oh, you say I did something bad (You say I did something bad?)
Why’s it feel so good, good?
So bad, why’s it feel so good?
Why’s it feel, why’s it feel so good? (Bad)
It just felt so good, good

General Information
Albumreputation
ReleasedNovember 10, 2017
Recorded2016–2017
GenreElectro Pop
Length3:58
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
REPUTATION CHRONOLOGY
End GameI Did Something BadDon’t Blame Me
Single Certification
Handwritten Lyrics
Making of
Live Performance
Official Audio