by Miles Raymer
Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble"—which is currently hanging out down at number 77 in the company of a bunch of other tracks from Red that aren't "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"—is a much more interesting song. For one it's got sharp, tight hooks that the languid "Diamonds" can't come close to matching. It's also Swift's first foray into dubstep, which some people have called a sign of the impending apocalypse and some have called the future of pop music, and which pretty much everyone who thinks too much about pop music can agree is going to be the type of thing that we're going to see more and more of in the coming year.
The American EDM scene has grown far beyond what anyone could have predicted five years ago, and at this point artists like Skrillex and Deadmau5 are some of the most popular musicians working right now, although their milieu runs on a track parallel to the pop mainstream and just far enough off to the side that they haven't broken through to the Hot 100 themselves, or at least not yet. But the mainstream is starting to develop a pretty serious thing for dubstep, and has been increasingly visible in its attempts to incorporate its trademark synth-bass wobbles and breakneck rhythmic drops into straight up pop songs.
Right now Taylor Swift's stab at a dubstep song is kind of a novelty, especially when you consider the fact that she's still at least nominally a "country" artist. But if a dubstep track on a pop record in 2012 is novel, by next year it's going to be pretty much mandatory, or at least that's what I suspect. Whether or not Swift or Rihanna or anyone else will be able to fully weave dubstep into the mainstream remains to be seen, but if nothing else it will provide future generations an opportunity to look back and ask those of us who were here, "What was up with that?"