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Bad Blood
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
07/30/2015

Dynamic ImageThe Song: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

Main Point: When we face betrayal, we must show forgiveness, but take action so as not to be hurt again.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • Bad Blood comes from Taylor Swift’s 5th album, 1989. Featuring Kendrick Lamar, it’s the third song from this album to reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Like many of the other songs in Swift’s career, it’s about a real life blow up, but this time instead of it being a guy who broke her heart, the song is probably about a scrap she had with another female singer.

  • The music video is kind of cool. It features Swift as a “secret agent” of sorts who’s working with a female friend to accomplish a mission. But after the job is done, Swift, aka, Catastrophe, is double-crossed by Arsyn. The rest of the video is spent with the two of them building their respective teams for the upcoming showdown. The video ends with a bunch of 95-pound girls walking menacingly toward one another in 4-inch heels….

  • Consistent with Swift’s music, there’s nothing massively objectionable about the song or video. Childish video with mediocre CGI? Yes. But the song has some positive messages embedded in it that are helpful for young people as they face the strife and turmoil that comes with being betrayed in life.

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song:
You’ve heard the song Bad Blood by Taylor Swift, I know, because it went #1 on almost every chart in the world. It’s a great pop song fused with some hip hop elements provided by Kendrick Lamar who’s featured on the track. You’ve probably even heard that the song is about a rift that Swift had with another female singer, who some believe to be Katy Perry. But the music video that I want to show you reinforces the idea of betrayal in a unique way. Take a look at the lyrics sheet and follow along as the story develops.

The Music Video:
The video is available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcIy9NiNbmo



The Song’s Lyrics

[Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood, hey!

[Verse 1 - Kendrick Lamar:]
Hey! I can't take it back, look where I'm at!
We was on D like DOC, remember that? (Remember that)
My TLC was quite OD, ID my facts (ID my)
Now POV of you and me, similar Iraq
I don't hate you but I hate to critique, overrate you
These beats of a dark heart, use basslines to replace you
Take time and erase you, love don't hear no more
No I don't fear no more, better yet respect ain't quite sincere no more

[Pre-Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
Oh, it's so sad to
Think about the good times
You and I

[Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we've got bad blood, hey!
Now we got problems
And I don't think we can solve 'em
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we got bad blood, hey!

[Verse 2 - Kendrick Lamar:]
Hey! Remember when you tried to write me off?
Remember when you thought I'd take a loss?
Don't you remember? You thought that I would need yah
Follow procedure, remember? Oh wait you got amnesia?
It was my season for battle wounds, battle scars
Body bumped, bruised
Stabbed in the back; brimstone, fire jumping through
Still, all my life, I got money and power
And you gotta live with the bad blood now

[Pre-Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
Oh, it's so sad to
Think about the good times
You and I

[Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood, hey!
Now we got problems
And I don't think we can solve 'em
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we got bad blood, hey!

[Bridge - Taylor Swift (Kendrick Lamar):]
Band-aids don't fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
If you live like that, you live with ghosts
(You forgive, you forget but you never let it go)
Band-aids don't fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
If you live like that you live with ghosts
If you love like that blood runs cold

[Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood, hey!
Now we got problems
And I don't think we can solve 'em
(Think we can solve 'em!)
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we got bad blood, hey!

[Chorus - Taylor Swift:]
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
(Look what you've done)
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood, hey!
Now we've got problems
And I don't think we can solve 'em
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we got bad blood, hey!


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Q: What was the main message in Taylor’s song?

A: She had been betrayed by a close friend and now she had to deal with the reality for the remainder of her future.

Q: The song is all about betrayal. Most people think the song is about someone who betrayed Swift in real life. How did Taylor handle the betrayal in the video? What clues are you basing your decision on?
A: Taylor handled the act of betrayal about as well as most people would expect her to in that situation. She definitely tried to move on past the broken relationship, which is good. The only thing she might have been missing was forgiveness. It’s important to forgive the person who betrays us, even though it’s difficult to do.

Q: In the song, Taylor says, “Band aids don’t fix bullet holes. You say sorry just for show.” What should we do with a person who betrays us and then doesn’t want to make it right?
A: Like Taylor, we need to move on. We don’t have to be nasty in return. We don’t need to seek revenge. We just need to make sure we move on so that person can’t hurt us anymore.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
The music video we just watched does a great job showing the pain that accompanies betrayal. It also does a pretty good job talking about what we should do when we face betrayal. In the song, Taylor was betrayed by her friend, and she built another team of agents, a team she could really trust. But she also confronted her betrayer and then moved on. There’s a lot in there that we can learn from, for example, when we face betrayal, we must show forgiveness, but take action so as not to be hurt again. Let’s take a few minutes to look at another story of betrayal, a real one instead of a hypothetical one, and see what else we can learn.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share whether or not we’re fans of Taylor Swift.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever been betrayed? How did it feel?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What did you do about it? Did you handle it well, or did you make it worse by making mistakes?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What’s the best way to handle betrayal? How do you know?

  5. Read the following passage:

      2 Samuel 15:1-17 (NIV)

      CONTEXT: Before you read this passage, you need to share a few things with your students about the characters. David is King over all the land, and things had been going pretty well for him until very recently. Absalom, one of David’s more striking and popular sons, was getting jealous of his father’s fame and power, so he hatched a plan to change things to his favor. Take a look at what he did to his dad:

      2 Samuel 15:1-17

      In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. 2 He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." 3 Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you." 4 And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." 5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7 At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD. 8 While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: 'If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron. '" 9 The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron. 10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'" 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing. 13 A messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." 14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword." 15 The king's officials answered him, "Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses." 16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at a place some distance away.

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What were some of the ways that Absalom betrayed his father in this passage? How sinful did Absalom have to become to steal the throne away from his dad?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What did King David do in response, and was it the right thing in your opinion? Why or why not?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: After you’ve been betrayed, what are some things you need to do? (Parents – This is a key question. For starters, they need to forgive the person who betrayed them. But they also need to take action to prevent themselves from being further harmed by that person. We never get God’s permission to seek revenge, only justice.)

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What role – if any – does forgiveness play in betrayal?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In the song, Taylor was betrayed by a friend. In this story from the Bible, David was betrayed by a family member. Which is tougher? Why?

  11. NOTE: Interrupt the questions by talking about how this story ends up playing out. If you’re not familiar with it, the sad conclusion of this saga can be found in 2 Samuel 18:1-33. Familiarize yourself with that passage and then summarize it for them before continuing.

  12. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think Absalom was dealt with too cruelly? Why or why not?

  13. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you think God feels about betrayal when it happens in our relationships? Why?

  14. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: It’s a guarantee that you will face betrayal in life. What have you learned during our discussion that will help you handle it as positively as possible in the future?

Wrap Up:
During our time together, we talked about betrayal, as it happened in the life of Taylor Swift and then in the life of King David. Both were tragic and completely unnecessary; both were costly, as well.

If you look across the pages of history, you’ll see there are several very infamous characters who’ve changed the course of history with their betrayal. For example…

Brutus betrayed –
and killed! – his friend Julius Caesar in ancient Rome.

Benedict Arnold betrayed his friend George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Judas Iscariot committed the most well-known act of betrayal in history when he betrayed Jesus.

Sadly, you are going to face betrayal in your life. When you do, it’s important that you remember a few things. First, always offer forgiveness. Give the person who betrayed you what they need the most: forgiveness. This will be very, very difficult, but it gives God the opportunity to change that person’s life. That’s always a good thing. And remember, only God can make something good out of something as bad as betrayal.

Second, make sure you eliminate any chance of that person betraying you again. No, I didn’t say kill that person…just remove yourself from the relationship. For example, if a significant other betrayed you by cheating on you, then it’s time to move on. They’ve proven themselves unworthy of your love. Don’t give them another chance to hurt you. If it’s a friend, forgive them, but then choose wiser and more godly friends.

Yes, God wants you to forgive those who hurt you, but never once in His Word does He ask us to be continual fools. We must forgive and then move on.

Let’s close in prayer and ask God to forgive those who’ve hurt us through betrayal. But let’s also ask Him to give us the wisdom to move forward in a way that pleases Him.


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith

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