Taylor Swift’s Berserk “Blank Space” Video Slashes Up Cliche

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 11.10.14 in News

Update: The official video is here, after a Yahoo! false start earlier today. (The director said, “Yahoo! effed up.”) Watch it below.

Heeeeere’s Taylor! A touch of meta has never been out of place in Taylor Swift‘s songs — think “Mean,” about a curmudgeonly critic, or “Tim McGraw,” about, well, Tim McGraw — and “Blank Space,” from uneven new album 1989, carries on the tradition, gleefully skewering the gossip storyline of a serial, slightly disturbed celeb dater, all set electro-pop minimalism reminiscent of Swift BFF Lorde.

In case the satire wasn’t clear, the video — directed by Joseph Kahn, who has overseen memorable clips for everyone from Brandy & Monica to Eminem — carries it to an extreme. There’s Swift, luxurious in her mansion, and here’s her new beau in a tux. The “blank space,” however, turns out to be not just on the country-pop crossover star’s famous “list of ex-lovers,” but also somewhere deep within her, as she literalizes the idea of crazy jealousy in a way that involves knives, an ax and a spooky apple.

The whole thing recalls how Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj reclaimed tabloid narratives in their “Flawless” remix and Minaj’s “Anaconda” video. As unsettling as it can be to Swift invoke old-fashioned gender stereotypes here, it’s worth trusting that some of 1989‘s million-plus paying fans understand she’s attempting, in her own way, to subvert them.

Watch below, and don’t miss Wondering Sound senior editor Puja Patel’s recent essay, Why Do So Many New Music Videos Look Like Commercials?