Karma (Taylor Swift song)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

"Karma"
Cover art of "Karma" remix showing Taylor Swift and Ice Spice on a boat
Ice Spice remix cover
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Midnights
ReleasedMay 1, 2023 (2023-05-01)
Studio
Genre
Length3:24
3:22 (Ice Spice remix)
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Jack Antonoff
  • Sounwave
  • Keanu Beats
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"The Alcott"
(2023)
"Karma"
(2023)
"Cruel Summer"
(2023)
Ice Spice singles chronology
"Princess Diana"
(2023)
"Karma"
(2023)
"Barbie World"
(2023)
Music video
"Karma" (feat. Ice Spice) on YouTube

"Karma" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift from her tenth studio album, Midnights (2022). Swift wrote and produced the song with Jack Antonoff, Sounwave, Keanu Beats, and Jahaan Sweet. Republic Records released the song to US radio on May 1, 2023, as the third single from Midnights. A remix featuring the American rapper Ice Spice was released on May 26, 2023, as part of an extended Midnights edition.

In the lyrics of "Karma", Swift proclaims how her "good karma" brought her good things in life, as opposed to her detractors. Musically, the song combines chillwave, disco, electroclash, and synth-pop with elements of techno, alternative pop, and new wave. Its production is characterized by glossy beats and quivering synthesizers. Contemporary critics regarded "Karma" as a highlight on Midnights, praising its bright production, melody, and zany lyricism.

"Karma" peaked at number six on the Billboard Global 200 and charted in the top 10 in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the Philippines. In the United States, it peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became Swift's record-tying 10th and 11th number-one singles on the Adult Top 40 and Pop Airplay charts, respectively. The music video for "Karma" premiered on May 26, 2023, at her sixth headlining concert tour, the Eras Tour (2023–2024), in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and was released to YouTube the following day. The high fantasy video, written and directed by Swift, features her and Ice Spice as cosmic, celestial entities. "Karma" was included on the set list of the Eras Tour as the closing song. At the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, the remix received a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Background and release[edit]

Ice Spice (pictured in 2022) is the first female rapper to collaborate with Swift on a song

The singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her fifth studio album, 1989 (2014), to critical and commercial success. During promotion of 1989, Swift's public image suffered from increasing tabloid scrutiny, in part brought by a highly publicized dispute with the American rapper Kanye West and the media personality Kim Kardashian over West's 2016 single "Famous." Swift went on a hiatus and secluded herself from public appearances. To a question in an April 2016 interview with Vogue, Swift replied, "Karma is real." In November 2017, Swift released her sixth studio album, Reputation, accompanied by its lead single "Look What You Made Me Do", which contained lyrics referencing karma. She released her seventh studio album, Lover, in August 2019, amidst another controversy—a dispute with her former record label, Big Machine Records, and its new owner Scooter Braun over the masters of her first six albums. The music video of the fourth single, "The Man" (2020), contained graffiti spelling out karma.[1][2]

On August 28, 2022, Swift announced her tenth studio album, Midnights, set for release on October 21, 2022. The tracklist was not immediately revealed.[3] Jack Antonoff, a longtime collaborator of Swift who had worked with her since 1989, was confirmed as a producer on Midnights by a video posted to Swift's Instagram account on September 16, 2022.[4] Beginning on September 21, 2022, Swift began unveiling the track-list in a randomized order through her short video series on TikTok, called Midnights Mayhem with Me. It consisted of 13 episodes,[5] with one song revealed every episode.[6] Swift rolls a lottery cage containing 13 ping pong balls numbered from one to thirteen,[7] each representing a track of Midnights, and when a ball drops out, she disclosed the title of the corresponding track on the album.[8] In the eighth episode on October 6, 2022, Swift announced the title of the eleventh track as "Karma".[9]

Midnights was released on October 21, 2022, via Republic Records.[10][11] In April 2023, American trade publication Hits reported that "Karma" is set to be serviced to US radio as the album's third single, following "Anti-Hero" and "Lavender Haze".[12] Mediabase affiliate AllAccess confirmed the single's release date to US hot adult contemporary radio as May 1, 2023,[13] followed by its release to contemporary hit radio on May 2.[14]

Remix[edit]

On April 27, 2023, as per American Songwriter, Atlantic and Capitol Records former music executive Shawn Barron suggested that the American rapper Ice Spice could collaborate with Swift on a single after they had met at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards.[15] On May 24, Swift and Ice Spice announced via social media a remixed version of "Karma" featuring the latter and posted the cover artwork. The remix is a bonus track on the special editions of Midnights, released on May 26.[16] The same night of the release, May 26, Swift brought out Ice Spice during her Eras Tour at her stop in East Rutherford, New Jersey for their first live performance of the Karma remix.[17]

Its original announcement was met with backlash from some social media users, who interpreted the remix as "damage control" after Swift was criticized online for reportedly dating the English singer-songwriter Matty Healy, who had laughed at "racist" jokes made by the American comedians Adam Friedland and Nick Mullen about Ice Spice during their podcast.[18][19][20] Following the release of the remix, however, Swift revealed in a Spotify interview that Ice Spice's team reached out first to suggest a collaboration as Ice Spice had been a fan of Swift, who had been listening to Ice Spice's music while rehearsing for the Eras Tour (2023–2024). Swift also dubbed Ice Spice "[her] new favorite artist".[21]

Composition[edit]

"Karma" is three minutes and 24 seconds long.[22] It is an upbeat, synth-heavy,[23] disco,[24] electroclash,[25] synth-pop,[26] and chillwave[27] song. Lyrically, it is a "diss track"[28] with comical tones.[29] The playful track incorporates warm beats, warbled synths, and elements of new wave, alternative pop, and techno.[30][31][32] In the lyrics, a narrator talks about her "good karma" that brought her good things in life.[33][34] She does not seek revenge on her enemies and instead lets the universe takes its course; while karma makes her detractors suffer for their wrongdoings, it bolsters her for her good deeds.[35] In an interview with Apple Music, Swift said she wrote "Karma" from "a perspective of feeling really happy, really proud of the way your life is, feeling like this must be a reward for doing stuff right".[36] The remix features Ice Spice in a new second verse and interjections throughout the song.[37] In the new verse, Ice Spice raps about the destructive but also rewarding potential of karma.

"Karma" was written by Swift, Jack Antonoff, Mark Anthony Spears, Keanu Torres and Jahaan Akil Sweet. The song is set in common time with a tempo of 90 beats per minute, and is set in the key of E major.[38]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone named it the fourth best song of 2022; they called it an "album-defining hit" that combines Swift's "mastermind" lyrics and the "sleekest, most flexible" production.[39] John Wohlmacher of Beats Per Minute hailed "Karma" as an "immediate masterpiece" and lauded the "bright and colorful" music.[27] American Songwriter listed it as one of the 24 best songs of 2022, and called it the "sleeper hit" of Midnights; praise was directed towards Swift's lyrical approach, the "effervescent" chorus, and Antonoff's production.[40] Rania Aniftos of Billboard praised the song's "carefree and anthemic" chorus.[41] In a mixed review of the remix, Shaad D'Souza of Pitchfork opined that the collaboration was a "clash of sensibilities" that diminished the appeal of the original version. He found that Ice Spice's delivery lacked the "velocity" of her previous remixes.[42] In contrast, Billboard[43] and USA Today named the remix one of the best songs of 2023.[44]

Commercial performance[edit]

Taylor Swift onstage wearing boots, a faux-fur coat and a sparkling purple dress
Swift performing "Karma" on the Eras Tour in August 2023

Upon the release of Midnights, all of the album's tracks entered the Billboard Global 200, with nine of those within the top 10; "Karma" debuted at number 10. The tracks set the record for the most simultaneous top-10 entries and made Swift the first artist to occupy the entire top five of the Global 200.[45]

In the United States, "Karma" debuted at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. All of the album's 20 tracks debuted in the top 45 of the Hot 100, giving Swift a total of 188 Hot 100 entries.[46] Swift became the first act to occupy the entire top 10 of the Hot 100 concurrently and the woman with the most top-10 entries (40), surpassing Madonna (38).[47]

After it was sent to US radio, "Karma" marked the third consecutive top-10 entry on Adult Top 40 from Midnights, and Swift's 28th career entry, surpassing Maroon 5 for the all-time record.[48] It has since peaked atop the chart, marking Swift's record-tying 10th number one on Adult Top 40.[49] On other Billboard airplay charts, the song reached number one on Pop Airplay, marking Swift's record-tying 11th number-one on the chart,[50] and number nine on Adult Contemporary.[51] Following the release of the Ice Spice remix, "Karma" rose to new peaks on the Billboard Hot 100, Streaming Songs, Digital Song Sales, and Radio Songs charts at number two, four, two, and 12, respectively. The remix also marked Ice Spice's third career top-10 entry and highest-charting song, and made Midnights the first album since the Weeknd's After Hours (2020) to produce three top-two singles.[52] Ice Spice also became the artist with the most top-five Hot 100 entries in 2023, later surpassed by Swift herself.[53]

Elsewhere, "Karma" peaked at number four in Canada,[54] number seven in the Philippines,[55] number eight in Ireland,[56] number nine in New Zealand,[57] number 12 in Singapore,[58] Slovakia,[59] and the United Kingdom,[60] number 18 in Malaysia,[61] number 20 in Portugal[62] and number 26 in The Netherlands.[63] The song peaked at number two in Australia[64] and received a double platinum certification.[65] It was also certified gold in New Zealand[66] and Portugal;[67] and certified platinum in Canada,[68] Mexico [69] and the UK.[70]

Music video[edit]

Swift and Ice Spice holding the Moon and Saturn using a mystical lasso, with the constellations Sagittarius and Capricornus behind them, respectively.

Swift directed the music video for "Karma".[71] She premiered it on May 26, 2023, at the first East Rutherford show of her Eras Tour (2023), where she was joined by Ice Spice as a surprise guest to perform the song. The video was released to YouTube on May 27.[72]

The video features heavy digital effects, incorporating "cosmic or celestial" imagery, and packed with Easter eggs recalling some of Swift's earlier albums. Swift adopts various attires and personifications,[72] in several locations.[71] For example, she appears as a comical "Dorothy" on a yellow brick road featured in a Wizard of Oz-themed storybook; as a woman dressed in turquoise, backed by an enormous photo of her cat Olivia curled up sleeping; and as a green "giantess" covered by forest and mountain, whereas Ice Spice is in a "heavenly cloud formation."[72][71] Ice Spice delivers her rap verse from inside a golden clamshell.[73][74] Swift and Ice Spice climb a staircase from opposite sides and lasso the Moon and Saturn, respectively; this was seen as a reference to a verse from Swift's song "Seven". The final scene shows Swift's hands carrying a cup of coffee, the surface of which shows a foam clock with hands jumping to midnight.

The video received positive reviews. Billboard journalist Katie Atkinson said "the video is packed with stunning visuals".[73] Jennifer Zahn of Vulture called it a "magic-heavy" music video.[74]

Accolades[edit]

Awards and nominations for "Karma"
Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2023 MTV Video Music Awards Song of Summer Nominated [75]
Grammy Awards Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated [76]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Midnights.[22]

Recording
Personnel
  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer
  • Jack Antonoff – songwriter, producer, engineer, drums, programming, percussion, synths, Juno, Omnichord, and recording
  • Sounwave – songwriter, producer, engineer, programming, and recording
  • Keanu Beats – songwriter, producer, engineer, synths, recording
  • Jahaan Sweet – songwriter, co-producer, engineer, keyboard, synth pad, recording
  • Laura Sisk – engineer and recording
  • Megan Searl – assistant engineer
  • John Sher – assistant engineer
  • John Rooney – assistant engineer
  • Mark Aguilar – assistant engineer
  • Serban Ghenea – mix engineer
  • Bryce Bordone – assistant mix engineer
  • Randy Merrill – mastering engineer

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for "Karma"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[65] 3× Platinum 210,000
Canada (Music Canada)[68] Platinum 80,000
Mexico (AMPROFON)[69] Platinum 140,000
New Zealand (RMNZ)[66] Gold 15,000
Poland (ZPAV)[111] Gold 25,000
Portugal (AFP)[67] Gold 5,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[112] Gold 30,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[70] Platinum 600,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Karma"
Region Date Format(s) Version Label(s) Ref.
United States May 1, 2023 Hot adult contemporary radio Original Republic [13]
May 2, 2023 Contemporary hit radio [14]
Italy May 26, 2023 Radio airplay Ice Spice remix Universal [113]
United States May 27, 2023 Republic [114]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ RiotUSA and Ice Spice are credited as songwriters under their birthnames Ephrem Lopez and Isis Gaston on the remix version.
  2. ^ Combined charts for the original and remix versions

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