I Did Something Bad

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"I Did Something Bad"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Reputation
ReleasedNovember 10, 2017
StudioMXM Studios (Los Angeles, USA)
MXM Studios (Stockholm, Sweden)
Mixstar Studios (Virginia Beach, USA)
Sterling Sound Studios (New York City, USA)
LabelBig Machine
  • Max Martin
  • Shellback

"I Did Something Bad" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her sixth studio album Reputation (2017). The song is written by Swift and its producers Max Martin and Shellback. She performed the song at the Reputation Stadium Tour and 2018 American Music Awards.

Writing, background and composition[edit]

"I Did Something Bad" was written by Swift, Max Martin and Shellback, and was produced by the latter two. "I Did Something Bad" runs for a duration of three minutes and fifty-eight seconds;[1][2] and it has a tempo of 86 beats per minute. Swift performs it in the key of G minor in a vocal range span from G3 to D5. While the track was originally written on piano, the final version is an electro-trap,[3] grunge rock[4] and EDM[5] composition with a "funky" dubstep drop[6] and "Eurodisco bleeps and bloops".[4] Swift has also explained to iHeartRadio that the idea for the production of the song's post-chorus came to her in a dream. Swift described the concept to producer Max Martin, who used Swift's voice and pitched it down to create the effect that takes place after the chorus, because he was unable to use an appropriate instrument to make that sound.[7] The track was engineered and mixed at MXM Studios in Los Angeles and Stockholm, as well as Mixstar Studios in Virginia Beach and Sterling Sound Studios in New York City.[8]

Lyrically, the song is inspired by events taking place in the season 7 finale episode of Game of Thrones, as well as four of the series' central female characters: Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, and Cersei Lannister.[9] The song is speculated to be aimed at her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris[10][11] or Kanye West. The song marked the first time Swift used explicit lyrics in a song.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon release, "I Did Something Bad" received critical praise. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone ranked "I Did Something Bad" as Swift's thirty-eighth best song.[13]

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted at number 5 on New Zealand Heatseeker Singles,[14] and number 14 on Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100. The album-track became the biggest non-single from parent-album Reputation, garnering over 100 million plays on Spotify.

Live performances[edit]

The song had its debut performance at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on May 8, 2018, as part of the regular setlist for Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour. On October 9, 2018, Swift, opened the 2018 American Music Awards by performing the song.[15] The performance was ranked by a Billboard article as the second-best of the night.[16] Billboard hailed it as 'appropriately massive, with brilliantly deliberate pacing.' [17]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from the liner notes of Reputation.[18]


Chart (2017) Peak
New Zealand Heatseeker Singles (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 5
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[19] 14

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 10, 2017 Big Machine [20]


  1. ^ "reputation by Taylor Swift on TIDAL". TIDAL. November 10, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  2. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (November 10, 2017). "The Old Taylor Swift Is Hiding Within Reputation". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  3. ^ Kelley, Caitlin (December 1, 2017). "Taylor Swift's 'I Did Something Bad' Gets a Broadway-Worthy Cover by Cynthia Erivo & Shoshana Bean". Billboard. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (December 12, 2019). "All 153 of Taylor Swift's Songs, Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (September 8, 2020). "Every Taylor Swift song ranked in order of greatness". NME. Archived from the original on September 8, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Bruner, Raisa (November 10, 2017). "Analyzing Every Song on Taylor Swift's Reputation". TIME. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Taylor Swift's iHeartRadio reputation Release Party: Everything We Learned". 96.1 KISS. November 10, 2017. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  8. ^ reputation (CD booklet). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2017. p. 4. 00843930033102.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ Suskind, Alex (May 9, 2019). "Taylor Swift reveals how Game of Thrones (and Arya's kill list) inspired reputation". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  10. ^ "Who Is "I Did Something Bad" About? Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' Track Seems To Be About A Certain Ex". Bustle. October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  11. ^ "All of Taylor Swift's Calvin Harris References in Her "I Did Something Bad" Lyrics". Elle. November 10, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  12. ^ "Taylor Swift Curses for the First Time on an Album and It Might Be About Ex Calvin Harris". E! Online. 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (December 12, 2019). "All 153 of Taylor Swift's Songs, Ranked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Heatseeker Singles". Official New Zealand Music Chart.
  15. ^ "'I Did Something Bad': Swift to open 2018 American Music Awards". KEPRTV. October 2, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "2018 American Music Awards Performances Ranked". Billboard. October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  17. ^ "2018 AMAs Performances Ranked". Billboard. October 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Reputation (CD). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2017. p. 8. B0028815-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  20. ^ "Taylor Swift - reputation". Amazon. Retrieved August 12, 2019.

External links[edit]