This new video for Taylor Swift‘s dubbed-out new single, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” is a curious thing. Gone are her pretty ballet flats and handsome fellas, the woodland creatures and Parisian skyline; and that cutesy Dirty Dancing routine she did with Harry Styles this is certainly not. Rather, we get Taylor with messy, pink ombre hair and a love interest who looks an awful lot like Pete Doherty, a crusty looking motel room and several ratty t-shirt changes, a long opening monologue ala Lana Del Rey‘s “Ride” video and lots of other moments that will have you thinking Taylor may not be such a goody two-shoes after all.
The mini-epic begins with Taylor alone and in the desert, just woken up in the detritus of some festival — if we had to guess which we would say Coachella, because she’s in the desert and too clothed to have just attended Burning Man –and all alone. An ominous score plays, and to the thumping of a heartbeat she delivers this dozy of a speech about her “kaleidoscope of memories” and “how can the devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel” and the meaning of life, just in general:
I think, I think when it’s all over it just comes back in flashes, you know. It’s like a kaleidoscope of memories, but it just all comes back. But he never does. I think part of me knew the second I saw him that this would happen. It’s not really anything he said, or anything he did, it was the feeling that came along with it. And, crazy thing is, I don’t know if I am ever going to feel that way again, but I don’t know if I should. I knew his world moved too fast and burned too bright, but I just thought, how can the devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you. Maybe he knew that, when he saw me. I guess I just lost my balance. I think that the worst part of it all wasn’t losing him, it was losing me.
And then those first and jaunty guitars return us to the happy beginning, when Taylor and her Doherty Doppelganger were wild and free and in love. We see them doing lovely-dovey but only ever-so-slightly dangerous things, like driving in a top-down convertible through the desert, making out in the back-booth at the local watering hole and in a grimy motel room, getting tattoos (Taylor just watches because she’s not really into trouble like that) and, eventually, getting into a bar fight because she knew he was trouble when he walked in and sure enough he is. There’s one last flash of Taylor dancing all alone in a crowd (because this is her dubstep song: oh ohh wubwub) while he makes out with another girl (trOUBLE!), and then she wisely concludes: “I don’t know if you know who you are until you lose who you are.”