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December 13th, 2012
In celebration of her 23rd birthday today, Taylor Swift has released her 23rd music video with a grungy, gritty take on her debut into the world of dubstep with I Knew You Were Trouble, the third single from 2012’s Red. Sporting a dip dye pink and blonde wig and a very tattooed, troublesome accessory, Swift flexes her acting muscles in the six minute video.
Watch the premiere of Taylor Swift’s video for I Knew You Were Trouble under the jump!
Citing I Knew You Were Trouble as one of her favourites from Red “because it sounds just as chaotic as the feeling was when I wrote it,” Swift did her best to bring a chaotic feel to her video, exchanging her squirrel pajamas, A-line dresses and french pastries for motorcycle boots, a run-down motel room and a boyfriend with a penchant for picking fights and being unfaithful.
Casting Broadway actor Reeve Carney as her love interest in the video, Swift shows a more physical side to herself, engaging in her first on-screen music video kiss. Swift also took a new approach to her wardrobe in the video, though her wig proves as more of a distraction than an addition to selling her troubled-girl character (girls with nice hair make bad decisions too). Taylor wasn’t the only one to get a makeover for the video, with Carney sporting a collection of tattoos to drive home his bad boy image.
While I Knew You Were Trouble has all the makings of being the feather in the cap of Swift’s long list of impressive music videos, it misses the mark slightly, coming off as a Disney version of Rihanna’s We Found Love instead of a frank look at a relationship gone wrong. While the second half of the video does an excellent job of capturing the intensity of the song, Swift’s two minute spoken word intro tries unsuccessfully to add emotion and depth to a song that already possesses plenty of both. Spoken word intros to music videos are the grammar equivalent of semi-colons. They are used incorrectly 99% of the time, so just don’t do it. Full. Stop.
But my biggest issue with I Knew You Were Trouble isn’t that it’s a bad video. It’s actually quite good. Swift’s acting is genuine and believable, the storyline flows, the performance portion is captivating and the actual content of the spoken word intro is poetic (just save it for a song). My problem is that Taylor Swift has scored millions of fans worldwide because her songs are personal. They tell her story, which gives fans the feeling that they’re getting to know the ‘real’ Taylor. Her experiences are our experiences. But this video isn’t Taylor’s experience.
Sure, it may be a dramatized version of what really happened, but it’s not the truth. I don’t want to see Swift in the middle of a field after a rave. I don’t want to see her in a hard-core metal club. I don’t want to see her with matted hair, because that’s not her. I understand Swift wanting to keep her personal life personal and not share every detail of her romantic life with the world, but Taylor Swift has become one of the world’s most celebrated artists of the 21st Century because she hasn’t been anyone else but Taylor Swift. And that’s the person who knew he was trouble.Tweet