I Knew You Were Trouble
Taylor Swift gets her heart broken by a bad boy in the perceptive “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
A prudent guitar opens the single, setting an evading tone. A couple months ago, she was hanging out with her friends, having lunch on the lawn when she saw a cute guy from the dorms wink at her as he passed by. Then, she started running into him in the laundry room and on her way to class. Each time, they talked and flirted. However, she had a feeling that maybe he wasn’t a good guy. He wasn’t the type to come on strong or cling to her every spare moment. It was refreshing. When he took her out on their first date to the park, she fell in love with him right away. After a couple dates, she started talking to him what she looks for in a long-term relationship. Then, she would text him or call him and he wouldn’t answer until a couple days later. She wondered what was going on with him. (“Once upon a time a few mistakes ago/I was in your sights, you got me alone/You found me, you found me, you found me/I guess you didn't care, and I guess I liked that/And when I fell hard you took a step back/Without me, without me, without me.”)
In the pre-chorus, while they were sitting on the couch, watching television, he would look at his phone. She would try to start a conversation but his response was usually simple and monosyllabic. She began to think she did something wrong. Now, she believes she should’ve listend to her instincts. (“And he's long gone when he's next to me/And I realize the blame is on me.”)
In the chorus, she thinks it was all her fault. She should’ve known better. He worked hard to impress her, reeling her in with his charms and she fell for it. For the last week, she’s been crying almost everywhere she goes and has been staying inside her dorm room, sitting on her bed and staring at the walls, not wanting to do anything. (“'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in/So shame on me now/Flew me to places I'd never been/'Til you put me down, oh/I knew you were trouble when you walked in/So shame on me now/Flew me to places I'd never been/Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground/Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble/Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble.”)
She’s tried to get a hold of him. She wants to yell and scream at him. However, when they do run into each other,. he won’t acknowledge her. One of her friends told her she saw him talking with another girl in her sorority. She was just another girl he slept with who didn’t mean anything to him. (“No apologies, he'll never see you cry/Pretend he doesn't know that he's the reason why/You're drowning, you're drowning, you're drowning/Now I heard you moved on from whispers on the street/A new notch in your belt is all I'll ever be/And now I see, now I see, now I see.’)
In the second pre-chorus, she saws he didn’t ever intend to stay with her. She was only deluding herself. (“He was long gone when he met me/And I realize the joke is on me, yeah!”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the bridge, she realizes he’s a manipulator who will continue to use girls for own his benefit. (“And the saddest fear comes creeping in/That you never loved me or her, or anyone, or anything, yeah.”)
The chorus is sung again.
At the end, she repeats that she should’ve stayed away. (“ I knew you were trouble when you walked in/Trouble, trouble, trouble/I knew you were trouble when you walked in/Trouble, trouble, trouble.”)
Swift’s distressed, riled vocals are jittery, spilling bitterness all over. She got involved with a bad boy once, believing there was more to him than. The next time, she has an inkling someone is playing games, she’s going to end it right then and there.
The disillusioned “I Knew You Were Trouble” takes a sledghammer to the fairy tale motif, smashing it into a million pieces and Swift is the better for it.