“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

When this song first came out, everyone (including me) absolutely hated it. But now, several years after its initial release, our reasons for doing so no longer make a lot of sense. At the time, the mere fact that it was a Taylor Swift song incorporating Dubstep seemed to be a horrific outrage on common sense. But after a Taylor Swift album of electronic Pop music is now the most acclaimed Pop album of the decade, that reasoning no longer seems as compelling as it did at the time. It might be that the public just wasn’t ready for Swift to release a song like this, and we blamed that fact on the song when in fact it was our assumptions that were the problem. The music style alone led this song to be perceived as a sellout, but unlike the other pure Pop singles from that album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “22”, this is no frothy Pop bagatelle. This is actually an intensely dramatic track, with an anguished lyric about slowly losing your mind due to a particularly callous and inexplicable betrayal of love. With the addition of the heartrending spoken monologue that opens and closes the song’s music video, you could even interpret it as being about the results of full-on emotional abuse. I’ve come to the conclusion that this song has been unfairly maligned for the past few years, and while I readily admit that I’m far from guiltless in that process myself (this song was in my “Worst of the 2010s” section at the time of its release), I think it’s time that we all reexamined our assumptions about this song now that the circumstances that led to its original reception have undeniably changed.

Verdict: I’m as surprised as anyone, but I really have to say “good”.

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