Recently, we started playing music at work. Of course, we had to choose an office friendly online radio station. And this song seems to play every hour on the hour. So I've had a lot of time to analyze this song.
And you know what? It's brilliantly and subtly constructed.
Yes, Scott. I just said a Taylor Swift song was brilliantly and subtly constructed.
Unlike this previously featured Taylor Swift song, which beats you over the head with its earwormdom and self-reference ("some indie record that's MUCH cooler than mine" was completely self-referential), "I Knew You Were Trouble" grows on you. Really listen to this. For example, pay close attention to the first and second choruses. The words are the same - Taylor clearly knew you were trouble when you walked in - but there's more force, more harmony in the 2nd. The song is subtly growing in anger and force throughout.
Furthermore, I like how Taylor breaks out of her acoustic country comfort zone with this tune. Some have called this song "dubstep." It's not like she's Skrillex here, but it is refreshing to see a country-pigeonholed artist not be afraid to take influence from electronic music. And it makes for an interesting song.
Oh, and by the way.... I also own Red, but I didn't have to embarrass myself at Target to get it. (I have daughters. No shame there)