“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has admitted that this romance-based track is in fact based on her personal experiences. And as has been pointed out previously on this site, such is more or less her modus operandi. In most cases – as with this one – she is singing about an ex whom her relationship with climaxed in a less-than-favorable fashion. And in practically all of such cases she is laying the blame on the dude for things going wrong. However, on this particular song, Tay Tay wanted to take a different approach. And it features the singer herself taking primary responsibility for things going wrong, though through her ignorance as opposed to actions per se.

It’s no secret that the lyrics of “I Knew You Were Trouble” are actually Swift’s reflections of her former relationship with fellow music superstar Harry Styles. Despite being a short-lived union, by all accounts, including this very song, Taylor was really indeed Hazza. But as the story goes, his lack of genuine commitment to her is what ultimately ended up making her lose interest.

Song’s Story

However as the title of track indicates, Swift had a pretty good idea of what she was getting into in the first place. Yes, unfortunately she did wind up heartbroken. But she knew Harry ‘was trouble’ from the time he ‘walked into’ her life. Therefore she is willing to take “the blame” for, succinctly put, being played. Indeed the singer realizes that to him, she is just “a new notch in (his) belt”. Or stated more bluntly, that basically means that she recognizes herself as one of countless women he has used for casual sex. That is to say that she portrays Styles as a heartless playa.

But that being established, she doesn’t let him off the hook that easy. For basically Taylor goes on to conclude that he is one of those types of individuals who is incapable of loving “anyone or anything”.

Release Date of “I Knew You Were Trouble” 

This track first came out as a promotional single in support of Taylor’s album Red on the date of 27 November 2012, later being updated to a conventional single on 10 December of that year. Its original label is Big Machine Records. And the first time Taylor Swift actually mentioned it appears to have been on 23 September 2012.

Success of “I Knew You Were Trouble” 

Within its first week of (digital) release, “I Knew You Were Trouble” managed to sell in excess of 400,000 copies. This resulted in it debuting at the third position of Billboard’s Hot 100, eventually moving up a notch to peak at number 2. In making an appearance on this noted chart, it became Swift’s 50th track to do so. And she accomplished this feat faster than any other female singer in history.

It also managed to reach second place on the UK Singles Chart. And it actually topped Billboard’s Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40 charts, in addition to topping music charts in Canada and the Czech Republic. Moreover the track has achieved platinum status or better in six nations, including going septuple-platinum in the United States.

The track and its accompanying music video also took home quite a few major accolades, such as the following:

  • Song of the Year (RDM Awards, 2013)
  • Most Performed Song (ASCAP Awards, 2014)
  • Best Female Video (MTV VMAs, 2013)
  • Video of the Year (MTV VMAs, 2013)

Said video employed Anthony Mandler as its director and singer/actor Reeve Carney as Swift’s romantic interest. Moreover, it was filmed in Los Angeles.

Notable Live Performance

The first time Taylor performed this song live was at the American Music Awards dated 18 November 2012, where she was named Favorite Country Female Artist. However, she did preview it earlier on the 8 October 2012 edition of the popular talk show “Good Morning America”. And it was during that outing that she revealed “I Knew You Were Trouble” to be ‘one of her favorite’ tracks from Red.

Writing Credits

This song’s writers are Taylor Swift, Shellback and Max Martin, with the latter two musicians also acting as producers.

Popular Covers of “I Knew You Were Trouble” 

Artists who are on record as having covered this song include Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and The Veronicas.

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