Hear Taylor Swift’s Dubstep-Tinged ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’
Skrillex this isn't. And yes, that's a period in the title
The aspect of Taylor Swift’s newest song that’s most likely to dominate conversation about it is also, in the end, its least remarkable. “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” which hit iTunes today (via Just Jared), is almost surely the song Rolling Stone was describing when it said one track on Swift’s upcoming Red includes a “dubstep-inspired bass breakdown.” But much as with Muse’s dubstep feint in the runup to The 2nd Law, Swift’s try at dropping the bass ultimately gets absorbed into the artist’s own aesthetic.
So, yes, “Trouble” shows some wub, and if it had come out back in the days of Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me,” it could have been a truly jarring departure for the country-pop mega-seller. But as dubstep breakdowns have increasingly become just another feature of the ever-changing pop landscape, like Auto-Tune or 2 Chainz guest spots, what emerges here is merely another sharply crafted Swift kiss-off, in post-David Guetta dance-pop clothing. How is it possible there hasn’t already been a hit song with a chorus this simple, direct, and familiar: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in”?
With thrumming bass guitar, springy electric guitar, and airy keyboard, “Trouble” isn’t otherwise so far from the peppy, uber-catchy pop of previous Red single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” And yes, the chorus is built around whirring sub-bass, with extra, digitally tweaked vocal hooks, so it’s a far cry from traditional country. But when Swift worries about being nothing more than “a new notch in your belt,” she could be addressing any of the celebrity second-persons from 2010’s Speak Now. As with President Obama’s “Forward.” campaign slogan, that isn’t an exclamation point in the song title; it’s a period.
Swift also recently announced the official track list for Red, due out on October 22. Happily, “Ronan,” a cancer-haunted ballad that’s less musically adventurous than other recent Swift material (not to mention more emotionally manipulative), didn’t make the cut.
Red Track List:
1. “State Of Grace”
4. “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
5. “All Too Well”
7. “I Almost Do”
8. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
9. “Stay Stay Stay”
10. “The Last Time”
11. “Holy Ground”
12. “Sad Beautiful Tragic”
13. “The Lucky One”
14. “Everything Has Changed”
16. “Begin Again”