Last week, [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist] took on bullies in her video for "Mean." The country/pop star hooked up with director Declan Whitebloom to add a cinematic vibe to the dis track.
"I tried to go a bit sort of off-base and do something different, and she was into it as well and on the same page in terms of the visuals," he told MTV News. "We wanted to make something stunning while still getting the point across. They're stories that you've seen before in other videos, but we wanted to present it in a more visual and theatrical way."
Swift's video focuses on her own story of climbing her way up the pop heap, but also takes a look at other tales of woe and bullying.
"She decided she wanted to sidestep the limelight and tell the story through other people, which was quite unusual," Whitebloom said. "She's an incredibly creative and visual person.
"It's her idea to bring her band [into the video], and it really shows her authenticity as a performer and not just a one-note person," he added. "She really does do everything, and I think in this video, she really showed that."
The song is very specific to Swift, who has admitted that it's about a critic who was a little too harsh on her, but Whitebloom said the message is certainly one we can all relate to. "We all have similar stories in our life that hit similar emotional cues, and to open it up and make it broader about lots of people and situations .. makes it much more accessible," he said. "It means more in a general way. I think [the message] goes across the board."
Swift's character is a retro version of herself — she dons flapper attire in the clip — and that image, the director explained, was easy for her to embody.
"Everyone was vintage in a way. ... The whole thing has a period feel. But Taylor, I don't know, it all started with her and the actual performance. She did a performance on the ACMs ... and she wanted to bring that into [this video]. We just brought the two-dimensional scene from the CD cover and the country [awards and] made those 3-D," he said. "We brought those to life. I think because Taylor is so timeless in a way, her look, she really embodies that sort of 1920s, 1930s look so well. She is absolutely flawless and gorgeous."
What did you think of the "Mean" video? Share your reviews in the comments!