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Music Discussions

I Knew You Were Trouble
A Quick Music Discussion Guide
10/09/2012

Dynamic ImageMain Point: Some people are just trouble…and we know it right away. But if we choose to involve ourselves with them, we will pay the consequences every time.

The Discussion Starter:
Taylor Swift strikes again…and some poor ex-boyfriend of hers is getting a very public smack down.

Her new music video I Knew You Were Trouble is a highly popular one. In fact, as of this writing, it’s sitting in the #4 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. The catchy pop song has also produced a number of pretty funny spoofs which have gone viral, as well.

All jokes aside, though, this song has a great message for many young people who are dating. Taylor says in hindsight that she knew the guy was trouble when he walked in. But sadly, that didn’t stop her from becoming involved with him. As a consequence, she paid a price for her relationship with him.

If we make the same mistake she did, we will most likely pay the same price she did.

The Music Video:
The music video can be found at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y

The Song’s Lyrics:
    Once upon time
    A few mistakes ago
    I was in your sights
    You got me alone
    You found me
    You found me
    You found me

    I guess you didn't care
    And I guess I liked that
    And when I fell hard
    You took a step back
    Without me, without me, without me

    And he's long gone
    When he's next to me
    And I realize the blame is on me

    Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Till you put me down oh
    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

    No apologies
    He'll never see you cry
    Pretend he doesn't know
    That he's the reason why
    You're drowning, you're drowning, you're drowning

    And I heard you moved on
    From whispers on the street
    A new notch in your belt
    Is all I'll ever be
    And now I see, now I see, now I see
    He was long gone
    When he met me
    And I realize the joke is on me

    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Till you put me down oh
    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

    When your saddest fear comes creeping in
    That you never loved me or her or anyone or anything
    Yeah

    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Till you put me down oh
    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    So shame on me now
    Flew me to places I'd never been
    Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
    Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    Trouble, trouble, trouble
    I knew you were trouble when you walked in
    Trouble, trouble, trouble!
Transitional Statement:
Anybody who’s a fan of Taylor Swift’s will like this song, but in all actuality, there is a lot to like about this song. Not only is it catchy, but it has a good message embedded in it. Taylor is telling us that as she looks back at the relationship that just ended she knew it was doomed from the start. She says she knew he was trouble “right when he walked in.” I don’t know about you, and I don’t want to come off as judgmental by any means, but I’ve gotten that sense about a few people before. Sometimes, I’ve acted on my suspicions and avoided them, but sometimes, I’ve let my guard down, and it costs me. If you know somebody is trouble from the start, it’s best to just avoid them, because if we choose to involve ourselves with them, we will pay the consequences every time.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite musical artist.

  2. ASK A FEW: How would you describe Taylor at the very beginning of the music video (before the song) when she woke up in the field of destruction? What did she look and sound like?

  3. ASK A FEW: In the opening monologue (before the song begins), Swift ways, “Part of me knew the second I saw him that this would happen.” Have you ever felt that way about someone, especially someone you’ve dated? What did you do with that feeling?

  4. ASK A FEW: She then asks, “How could the devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you?” Does that reveal to you that maybe Taylor was placing too much emphasis on looks? Why or why not?

  5. ASK A FEW: According to the music video, what kind of trouble did the guy get himself and Taylor into?

  6. ASK A FEW: Who does Swift place the blame on for the toxic relationship?

  7. ASK A FEW: Do you think that Taylor would repeat her mistake if she could go back in time? Why or why not?

  8. ASK A FEW: Have you ever had that same kind of feeling about someone that Taylor had? If so, what did you do, and what happened afterwards?

  9. Read the following passage:

      Proverbs 5:1-14 (NIV)

      My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, 2 that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. 3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not. 7 Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man's house. 11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. 12 You will say, "How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly."

  10. ASK A FEW: What is it that Solomon is warning his sons about in this passage?

  11. ASK A FEW: In this passage, Solomon is clearly warning his sons about involving themselves with an adulteress woman, but does it work the other way, too? Can girls apply this passage to troublesome guys, as well? Why or why not?

  12. ASK A FEW: In this passage, what is the difference between the way the adulteress presents herself…and the way she really is?

  13. ASK A FEW: What did Solomon say were some of the consequences of involving ourselves with troublesome people, whether we’re dating them or just hanging out with them?

  14. ASK A FEW: Take stock of your friends and acquaintances for a moment. Without naming any names, do any of them match the description of the person King Solomon says to stay away from?

  15. ASK A FEW: What do you think will happen if you continue to hang around them or begin to date them?

  16. ASK A FEW: What is the advice that Solomon gives to us in verse 8? Is that easy to do or difficult to do? Why?

  17. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are you going to do with the people in your life that you know are trouble?

Wrap Up:
I’ve really taken a liking to the message in Taylor Swift’s song that we listened to in our time together. I like the fact that Taylor puts her mistakes out there and says, “I messed up. I knew better, but I made a mistake anyway.” In a way, she’s inviting us to learn from her past. I don’t know about you, but I always like to learn from other people’s mistakes. That’s soooooo much less expensive!

Hopefully, you will learn that lesson. I’m not saying that all of our friends and all of our romantic significant others have to be perfect; if that were the case, we’d never have any sort of relationships! All I’m saying is, when we know someone is trouble, it’s probably best to intentionally steer clear of them. If you don’t, you will pay a price for it.


(Leaders: At this point, it would be great if you or another adult volunteer could share a prepared and true story about a time in life when we/they hung out with or dated someone we/they knew was trouble. Chances are good that ALL of us have one of those stories. This will really connect the point to students’ hearts because they know you personally.)

I really hope you don’t make this costly mistake. I know it’s difficult to assess our relationships, and it’s certainly tough to distance ourselves from those who are trouble, but what you must do is ask yourself one simple question: Is it easier to walk away from a person who I know to be trouble…or wind up in trouble myself?

When you put it in that kind of perspective, the problem becomes much easier to solve!

If you’re in here and you’re in the midst of a troubling relationship – friendship or dating or any other kind – and you want some help in plotting a course, hang around after we close in prayer and speak with one of our volunteers. We’d love to partner with you to make sure you steer clear of trouble.


Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith


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Comments on this post

   Heather         7/8/2015 5:08:15 PM

This was really great for our youth group girls. The love Taylor and I loved the integration of Proverbs, such a good lesson.

   adrian         5/22/2014 1:13:36 PM

Great discussion. I love that you used Proverbs 5. Our girls love this song and this is a good way to use it to get to the Bible.

   Belinda         5/22/2014 1:12:17 PM

this is an amazing writeup. Thanks for providing a resource that uses art from the world and uses it to point to truth!

   David R Smith         7/3/2013 9:00:24 AM

Amanda, I applaud your personal efforts of holiness and devotion to God. That's an admirable trait for anyone, but especially someone your age. Thanks for taking your calling so seriously. I mean it. That said, there are literally millions of young people who do not have your perspective. In other words, they can "spot trouble" but instead of avoiding it, they run to it. This resource teaches the awful consequences of that decision. If you hear that a young person watches a video like this, it's nice to be able to point them toward the truth of the scriptures. That is the purpose of this discussion. I hope this brief explanation helps you understand the heart in which it was created and shared. Yours in Him, David

   Amanda         6/25/2013 4:45:48 PM

Really? We should show our already hormone driven youth a video with this kind of garbage? I understand that the thinking behind this is to be culturally relevant, but the Bible tells us to come out from the world, to be separate, not to condone trashy videos before our youth. What kind of passions are we trying to evoke, passions for lust or for God? I am 22 years old, so this isn't an issue of me being old and not with the times. It scares me to know that this is what is being taught in youth groups....















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