Because the “Trouble” clip — which premiered Thursday at 4:40 p.m. on “MTV First: Taylor Swift” — is most definitely a departure for the usually demure Swift, a decidedly dark thing that documents a pair of star-crossed lovers embarking on a race to the bottom. There are fistfights, makeout sessions in dingy motel rooms, druggy dancefloor spinouts, shirtless tattoo sittings and, of course, a whole lot of tattered clothing. Don’t get confused, we’re not talking “Sid & Nancy” or anything here … more like Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” only if it aired on the CW. Which, for Taylor, is still a pretty drastic step.
And while Swift’s seemingly endless stream of detractors will no doubt jump on “Trouble’s” rather, uh, overwrought moments — the lengthy voiceover that begins the clip, where she drops bon mots like “I think that the worst part of it all wasn’t losing him, it was losing me” certainly isn’t going to do her any favors — there’s certainly something to be said about the risks she takes here, the way she throws herself into the role of a good girl poised on the precipice of a steep drop. Co-starring with “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” lead Reeve Carney (the titular troubleman), Swift seems to delight in getting dirty, whether she’s being cast aside in a bar brawl or losing herself in the whirl and whomp of the dancefloor. Shoot, she even sorta dyed her hair for the role.
When taken at large, “Trouble.” may not separate itself from the field of other down-and-dirty vids being dropped by her pop contemporaries, but when considered in the cuddly context of Swift’s other clips (probably not coincidentally, this is her 23rd … and it premiered on her 23rd birthday), well, it represents a quantum leap for the squeaky-clean star. A large portion of her terrific Red album seems to be about her seizing the reins and driving her career to the next plateau, and perhaps “Trouble.” is the next logical step. It may give ammo to the naysayers, and it could possibly alienate whatever portion of her country fanbase that still exists, but you get the feeling Swift could care less. This is about growth, about expansion, about pushing the boundaries.
Like she says at the end of the thing, “I don’t know if you know who you are until you lose who you were” … preach, sister.
How do you feel about Taylor’s ’Trouble.’ reinvention? Let us know in the comments below.