Taylor swift i knew you were trouble analysis

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  • 1. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y)This music video has aspects of both performance and narrative videos. Throughout the video, thereare various shots of the artist performing the song, in a few different locations. There are also manyshots of memories that the artist and a man shared, which is presumably what this song is about.There are many icons of love throughout this video, which is one of the main narratives within a popmusic video, making this video conventional of the genre, and exactly what the audience wouldexpect to see in a pop music video.The video begins with a two minute introduction of the artist talking about the narrative and thisgives a brief summary of the song, and what the video is going to be about. It starts with a shot ofthe artist lying on a dirty floor, surrounded by rubble and waste. She looks very isolated and lonely atthis point, as she is in the middle of nowhere. As the artist begins to talk, there various shots that areedited together, like a montage, and move at a very fast pace. The shots seem to be memories thatthe female artist and a man had, that eventually caused her to end up alone. These shots arefeatured in the remainder of the video, and are explored in more detail throughout the video. Once the music begins, there is a medium shot of the artist and the man holding hands, looking happy, as they are smiling andlaughing. There are also various shots of the couple having fun, as shown in the shot of themjumping on the train tracks. This starts off at the beginning of the narrative, and is beginning to putthe introduction into perspective. The lighting in both of these shots is quite high key, which isusually used to give off a happy mood, which is why it has been used at the beginning of this video;to show they were in love and happy.There is then a medium shot of the artist performing the song, in the same, deserted, setting as shewas in the beginning. This suggests that she is singing the song when her relationship has ended, and
  • 2. she is lonely and isolated, implying she has just been dumped there by her lover. This shot has quitea bit of natural light, which suggests happiness, however this is not the case, as the artist has beenthrough a terrible time. This is an unconventional feature of a pop video, as sadness is not usuallyshown through high key lighting. The artist is also wearing white, which is representing innocenceand purity, highlighting the fact that she is very vulnerable at this point. The artists facial expressionin the close up shot of her performing looks quite upset and lost, helping the audience understandhow she is feeling. There are frequent cuts between the memory flashbacks of her with a man, andthe performance she is doing in the deserted setting. The flashbacks are illustrating what she issinging about, and how the story begins. There are three medium shots that show the artist and mankissing, highlighting the theme of love, which is often shown in pop videos.The setting where the artist is performing then changes to a dirty, old, of what it look like bathroomwith tiles walls. There is graffiti on the door, and dirty all over the walls, suggesting that she issuffering from the heartbreak and doesn’t have anywhere to go. She is also wearing a black top,which is associated with sadness and anger. There are cuts before and after this of the couple in abedroom, smiling and laughing, highlighting the theme of love. The lighting within the room is quitelow key which the audience doesn’t usually associate with happiness, therefore breaking theconventional features of a pop video. This could inform the audience that the happiness isn’t goingto last throughout the song.The video then cuts to the couple walking into some sort of musical gig with each other, and theman kisses another woman in front of the artist. There is a close up to show the reaction of the girl,who appears to look upset and angry at the man as her boyfriend does not respect her. This is astereotypical narrative within a pop video. There are a series of shots in this gig sequence that areediting in a fast pace to show the intensity of the situation, and this could also reflect the femalesemotions; all over the place. There are also a few performance shots within this sequence too,showing that this is what the artist is singing about.As the second verse begins, there are various shots of the couple in a bedroom, however they do notseem happy, as the female is sat scrunched up in a chair, looking uncomfortable and upset. There is
  • 3. then a shot of the artist walking up to the man lay on the bed with his hand on his face, and heappears to put his hand up, signalling her to leave him alone. This begins to put the lyrics of the songinto perspective, and allows the audience to understand how both characters are feeling. This is a sign that their relationship is falling apart, which is usually what happens within the narrative of a pop music video. The lighting in this shot is similar to before; dull and gloomy, which brings back the idea that the love will not last. It thencuts to this shot of the man getting a tattoo which reads ‘love’, enhancing this theme of love onceagain, which is one of the ‘grand narratives’.The narrative then moves on to the couple walking into an old, dirty bar, holding hands. The barlooks quite rough and masculine, not usually somewhere a girl would go. It is full of grown men, whoappear to be quite tough and biker like. There is then a close up of the male love interest knockingthe snooker ball, causing the masculine men to approach him. It then cuts to a long shot of a policecar, with flashing lights, driving past, suggesting some sort of event or violent act. It then cuts to aclose up of the artists face looking around, horrified at her boyfriend. Once it cuts to a shot back inthe bar, the audience see that the female is trying to stop a fight; however she gets pushed away inorder for the trouble to begin, relating back to the title of the song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. Thereare then fast paced cuts of the fight in the bar, with the female trying to break it up but beinghelpless and having to watch the men hurt her boyfriend. This is a stereotype of the characters, as the men are portrayed as masculine, wearing dark colours and fighting, whereas the female is wearing white and is very weak in the situation. The female’s facial expression in the medium shot of her being restricted by a man is quite depressing, as she looks as though she is in pain and upset. Throughout this fight scene, there are a few shots of the couple alone, in which they look happy. This contrasts with the situation, and it puts the song title into context, as herboyfriend is just trouble and doesn’t care about anything. There are also a few long shots of theartist performing parts of the chorus of the song.There are then three shots of the artist performing the build up to the climax of the song, which area mixture of a long shot, a medium shot and a close up shot of the artist singing, but lookingunhappy and miserable. She is realising, as suggested by the lyrics and facial expressions, that herlover is not true and that he doesn’t love her. This is a conventional narrative in a pop video, as thereis usually a couple that have problems, and the girl is singing about her feelings towards the man.
  • 4. It then cuts to another musical gig scene, and there are a number of medium close ups and longshots of the female dancing and enjoying herself, under the blue ultra violet light. This scene is quitehectic, which is created by the flashing UV lighting and the fast paced editing. There are extremelyfast edited close up shots added in this sequence of the artists lover kissing various other girls. Thereis then a medium reaction shot to show that the female has notices her lover kissing other people,relating back to the song, as all he has done throughout the video is cause trouble. Her facialexpression looks very upset and shocked. There are then other fast paced cuts of her performingsnippets of the song on the battleground-like setting, and also in the bedroom in which they were inearlier in the video. Towards the very end of the song, there is a close up shot of the artist lying onthe floor, surrounded by dirty sand, whilst the low key lighting highlights her face and clothing,suggesting she is hurting and that her emotions are very mixed at that moment in time.The ending shot is of the artist’s hand holding a key necklace that the male character gave to herearlier in the video, in which she eventually drops, suggesting that she has let go of him. This isrestoring the equilibrium, and letting the audience know that they are no longer a couple, and thatshe knew he was trouble the whole time. This is a common love story within this genre, which iswhat the audience would have expected to see even before they saw the video. It is quite apredictable narrative, which is very conventional when it comes to the pop genre. However thisvideo does break the conventions and surprise the audience, as the use of lighting throws theaudience slightly, and the flashbacks could also confuse the spectator.