Growing up is hard for a teen star. (Just ask Miley or the Biebs.) The world still wants you to be who you were when you rose to fame as a veritable child, while your interests in art and music have presumably evolved in the same way anyone’s would in shifting from teenager to young adult. Witness: The latest video from Taylor Swift, which sees the golden-tressed pop sweetheart starring in a bizarre (and blood-spattered) art film.
The video for “Blank Space” was directed by Joseph Kahn, a music video/commercial director who cut his teeth on videos for early 90’s dirty south Texas hip hop artists like the Geto Boys, 5th Ward Boyz, and Scarface (and also, fun-fact, helmed the 2004 Ice Cube/Adam Scott/Jaime Pressley Fast and Furious ripoff Torque). Like Swift herself, Kahn broadens his horizons on “Blank Space,” which bills itself as a “short film.” The basic plot of the video isn’t too far off from, say, Fatal Attraction or Im Sang-soo’s The Housemaid–a woman scorned by a two-timing lover takes her revenge. But when the obsessive woman is played by T-Swift, in love with a paramour fond of wearing capes and walking three identical doberman pinschers, things are automatically placed in a new context.
She paints portraits of the guy (named “Sean,” according to a name she inscribes on a tree), but then things take a dark twist when she finds him texting on his cell phone when she wants his attention. It gets weird: She cuts the nipples out of his shirt; she hangs out with a fawn while she writhes around on the ground in a leopard-print dress; she destroys a cake that’s apparently filled with blood; she stands at full height, balanced on the back of a horse; etc, etc. As playing-against-type goes, it’s not exactly Miley twerking with electrical tape over her nipples–but then, this is only the second video from Swift’s latest album, so well probably get there.