Music Video Review: Taylor Swift – ‘Out of the Woods’

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Just Taylor Swift doing what she does best - translating daydreams.

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Opening the New Year with a bang, Taylor Swift’s latest music video ‘Out of the Woods’ features the blonde-haired blue-eyed vision in a pale blue maxi dress running, Disney princess style, barefoot through an enchanted forest.

Though this is the fourth music video to be released from her latest album 1989, ‘Out of the Woods’ marks a first for Taylor who appears, for the first time in her career, entirely solo throughout the video; no dreamy male figure fighting for her attention, no sharing the spotlight with her super model posse, just Taylor doing what she does best – translating daydreams. And, even though this was undoubtedly her most challenging video to date, with the young artist conducting her entire solo performance in front of a green-screen, our beloved Tay-Tay pulled through in mesmerising style.

Running barefoot through a viciously mystical wonderland, Taylor is chased by a male enigma symbolically incarnated as a ferocious pack of silver wolves. But just when all seems lost, stumbling over the live-wire forest roots which claw at her feet, the young heroine falls through the seams of her forbidden forest-style landscape into a bed of snow, now teetering on the edge of a cliff-top in a Narnia-esque winter fantasy.

Throughout the progression of this album Taylor has been shamelessly experimenting, taking more and more risks with her videos both in terms of story-line and visual style; from the mission-impossible worthy short action film created to accompany ‘Bad Blood‘, to adding a feral twist to the classic Hollywood setting of ‘Wildest Dreams‘, right down to her most arty video to date ‘Style‘, which foreshadows Taylor’s new dabbling in the fantastical range of visual effects used in creating this latest in her line of illusory settings.

Drawing viewers into her symbolical dimension, Taylor fights against the exaggerated the natural forces which threaten to hunt her down. From the animated tree roots which send her flying through the forest floor, to a deathly plunge from a snow-covered rock face, and the glistening icicles which threatens to freeze her to the ground in all her fresh-faced beauty to those savage wolves which continue to track her down, Taylor manipulates her fantasy world to offer a last minute escape at each dead end. Tripped by tree-roots she rises from the snow, falling from a fatal height she plunges safe into icy depths and rises again from the sand.

“She lost him. But she found herself. And somehow that was everything,” reads the video’s epigraph a telling note on the video’s journey which through fantastical imagery and dreamlike sequences advocates that state mind which in 2015 earned Taylor a title as one of the world’s most influential women, encouraging her young female audience to realise themselves as a force nature in their own right, to stand their own ground and take control in their own lives, for their own loves and take responsibility for their own losses.

So let me take this opportunity to thank you Taylor, for another breathtaking escape from reality and for breaking me ‘Out of the Woods’ so early in 2016. We hope this ‘Wonderland‘ is but a mere taster of what is yet to come from our real-life Alice this year!

‘Out of the Woods’ is out now via Big Machine Records.

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Third year English Literature student . Avid dreamer, lover of magic and all things Taylor Swift. Writer for The Edge and Wessex Scene, as well as regular all-round contributor and Living Editor for The National Student.

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