It’s official: Taylor Swift has, at least for the moment, forsaken country two-step for the bottom-end bluster of electronic dubstep on her new single, “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Another teaser from her forthcoming album, "Red" (out Oct. 22), "Trouble" sees the erstwhile country-politan pop starlet go full throttle – relatively speaking.
A song whose lyrics coyly suggest a mystery fling just enough to prompt idle speculation, “I Knew You Were Trouble” sees Swift offering a terse track that climaxes with a bass drop, the current stylistic signifier of choice among pop stars looking to expand market share and stay relevant.
Just as Pat Boone adapted the energy of Elvis Presley and Little Richard’s version of rock 'n' roll, and Creed targeted grunge fans looking for a Nirvana-lite alternative, Swift on her new single adds the stylistic flourish de jour in the form of a light and intensity-thin bass drop (a bass float?).
It’s unfair to criticize a 22-year-old for adapting with the times, though, especially considering the sound in question is merely one part of a precision-built machine that is “I Knew You Were Trouble.” After all, Swift is the pop moment, and the ways in which she and her peers adapt new sounds and vibes into their work is the lifeblood of pop innovation. Even if the bass drop in question is a conceit – it’s not like the song is going to be a hit among dudes rocking to Rusko – the Max Martin/Shellback collaboration is made better by the bass (as is usually the case).