So here’s a thing that a crossover female pop star might want to do in 2012: hire Anthony Mandler to make you an extended arty music video, bookended by spoken word pieces, about falling in with leather-clad cool guys and having crazy desert adventures that end disastrously. That’s exactly what Lana Del Rey did with her “Ride” short film a mere two months ago (we should know, SPIN was on site when she premiered the thing) and that’s what Taylor Swift has now done, to a T, with the just-released six-minute clip for her wubby Red standout “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Today is Swift’s 23rd birthday and MTV has just debuted her 23rd video (head here to watch it on that site), which is cool and all (if you’re not bothered by the whole 23 enigma thing) but the singer might want to have a discussion with Mandler about where the concept for this one originated. Remember Lana’s “mood boards”? When the scene opens, Swift is all alone in a desert wasteland, confused and upset, surrounded by debris. She speaks from the omniscient view — “I think when it’s all over, it just comes back in flashes, ya know? It’s like a kaleidoscope of memories.” — and then we see those flashes.
And just like Del Rey, there she is, hanging out with tough guys, making out in bars, screaming like a loon, letting her hair blow in the wind while someone else drives a cool vehicle (then it was a motorcycle, now it’s a hot rod). And when that fantastic dubstep-damaged single of hers kicks in, surprise, we find out what happened. Good girl falls for bad boy, they do thrilling things together like make out in bars and start fights and get tats, and then it all goes to shit when she loses track of homeboy at a rave on the sand and eventually finds him in the embrace of another.
But let’s be fair. LDR’s character already had some bad girl in her, she didn’t make out in bars (she had sex in them), and there wasn’t a rave — only a desert bonfire that involved people wearing Native American headdresses, getting intoxicated, and dancing. So … a rave. Don’t believe us? Go ahead, watch “Ride” below.