On Music Videos

If you’ve ever seen the music video for “Tip Drill” by Nelly you know that when artists are asked to put their songs to images, great things can result. I mean sure, the song and subsequent video has been widely criticized as being immensely offensive (enough to be the focus of a women’s studies course at Spelman College), but that’s what Nelly wanted. Music videos force us to have those debates, mostly because many of them are completely, over-the-top outrageous.

Here is a comprehensive review of the nominees for Best Music Video from a Female Artist. Why only the ladies? Because the “Trap Queen” video sucked, that’s why. Fetty Wap should wear a fucking patch over that thing on his face.

Sia – “Elastic Heart”

Okay, first of all we could all spend hours analyzing this video. What do the little girl and large man represent? The eternal youth within in our hearts perhaps? An insistence to protect others and fight against difficulty? Whatever you’re thinking, it’s all bullshit. That’s just it, this video tried way too hard. Plain and simple. Let’s look at it like 99.9% of those who watch it will, with blissful ignorance of some overzealous and convoluted meaning.

Frankly, this video made me uncomfortable. Maybe it was the premise of Shia LaBeouf cage fighting a tiny blonde gymnast in a leotard, or the fact that Shia LaBeouf apparently falls in love with her even though she was clearly 13 years old, or maybe just seeing Shia LaBeouf’s growling like an animal for roughly 5:05. Or maybe, JUST maybe, it was the overly dramatic ending where Shia LaBeouf really works his “distress” facial expressions in silence for a full 30 seconds. I think maybe Shia LaBeouf just makes me uncomfortable honestly. The entire situation was wholly unpleasant.

Coupled with the distaste of at first being attracted to a female lead we quickly realize is shockingly young, this weird-ass concept video left me with my mouth agape thinking “who the fuck came up with that?” A pretentious Australian woman, that’s who.

I mean the whole thing was trying to be eerily sexy…that is if you’re into biting/scratching/just generally find animals (and your niece’s gymnastic meets) a major turn on.

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“Tryna”

I’m not really sure if LaBeouf was trying to “mate” or “nurture” the female dancer, that was never made entirely clear. Essentially she runs around a cage screaming at him and apparently damaging his ego whilst performing various gymnastic stunts and generally acting like a 12 year old girl. LaBeouf performs a mix of out-of-place dance moves before he deftly climbs the cage, showing off his own gymnastic skills and a body it looks like he got in a prison yard (Wait…did he go to jail?).  He then wrestles the child until she finally falls under his spell and lets herself be worn like a backpack.

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What the hell? Ultimately they attempt to leave the cage together (For sex???? Please what the hell???) but unfortunately the wide shoulders LaBeouf acquired out on the yard pumping heat with Stephen and Yandel are just too yoked to let him squeeze through the cage’s bars.

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The young girl easily slides her 11 year old undeveloped hips through the cage and tries to pull LaBeouf out. He can’t get through, oh no! They both seem distressed as the music fades and we get a nice long crop shot of LaBeouf slowly realizing his designs (WHAT ARE THEY TELL ME PLEASE) are unlikely to come to fruition. Again, this relationship felt incredibly weird and I was uncomfortable watching it develop. Chris Hansen should’ve been popping out at any moment.

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Shia really pulled out on the stops with this one, which was wonderful. It was thrilling to see him attempt a gratuitous amount of facial expressions and really explore his range. However, whether the idea behind the narrative was impossible to follow and just I felt wronged by the whole situation. Why couldn’t they get Nastia Liukin? She would’ve been more age appropriate.

Maybe my head is just firmly rooted in the gutter, but if you’re confusing your audience into thinking Shia LaBeouf wants to have sex with a nine-year-old girl then you’re fucking up. Or maybe that connection is just a LITTLE too easy to make…

Verdict: Pedophilia disguised as a metaphor disguised as pedophilia

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“Gimme dat”

Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

Mixing in scenes from a shitty movie then mirroring them does not count as creativity. If this song/video had nothing to do with a rich man’s sex dungeon I doubt it would have more than 453 views. There’s nothing else to say.

Verdict: Sex Dungeon (bad kind)

Beyoncé – “7/11”

Did Meek Mill come up with the idea for this? Because if he didn’t, he should have.

I couldn’t tell if Beyoncé was trying to teach me a dance a la “Single Ladies” or just inspiring me to dance around my house like an invalid. I mean when Bey does it she looks amazing, but I can’t keep trying to be her anymore.

I can’t imagine it took more than $410.25 to produce this movie, aka the cost of a Silver Edition Go Pro and 50 Solo™ cups. The coolest part was probably being given a tour of (what I assume to be) The Rock™ Penthouse by the queen herself, accompanied by her rag-tag dance troupe. The dancing was fun to watch but did she really have to remind us “don’t you drop that alcohol” in order to be hip? The whole thing had a fun, on-the-spot feel that was refreshing. It felt like everything was improvised, yet they’re still nominated for best cheorography? Damn, Bey! However, it was Beyoncé’s booty shorts and shameless ass-shots that realistically saved the show.

I enjoyed watching this, she  looks like she just came up with an idea for a video and started making it with whatever was laying around the house. It’s simple and there’s not a stupid metaphor for some pretentious asshole to dig out. Best of all it looks like she’s having a blast. It was a smack in the face to the over-produced bullshit that was Sia’s monstrosity. The song sounds like a pretty standard cut copy of 2015 trap-o-lution though. How many times does she say “hands up?” The answer is 40, I counted.

Verdict: Your life will never be as good as Beyoncé’s

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

This is exactly how I imagine Taylor Swift must fantasize about herself, a bougie yet elegant temptress living alone in an extravagant mansion, exclusively seducing men who drive glossy British coupes. From this video it’s obvious that Tay wants us all to know

1.) She expects to paint your portrait on the first date and 2.) She’s a strong, powerful woman who will promptly fuck your shit up if she catches you texting other girls.

While she’s definitely sexy in the video, thinking of meeting her in person made me terrified. Couple this with her “Bad Blood” video where she fucks other chicks up with flamethrowers, and the fact that she forces all her celebrity friends to wear matching nightgowns when they have their over-the-top Manhattan sleepovers (yes that’s real), makes me think she might be an insufferable person. Big fan, but no thanks.

That being said, the song is catchy as hell. Taylor runs the pop game right now.

I mean let’s be serious though, her character explicitly seeks out men she knows are going to cheat on her. Sure she “loves the players” but comon idiot what are you expecting here? Then she gets to destroy his whip AND all his taylored (get it?) suits. By the way I’m sure she’s forcing him to wear those suits all day, just like she makes her friends wear expensive nightgowns in real life. Everything that happens in this video made me feel bad for the dude on a very personal level. I mean we don’t even know what the hell he did, she just sees him tapping his phone and all of a sudden she’s screaming in his face? Give the dude a break, maybe he was BREAKING UP with his side piece cause she doesn’t have a dope crib like you, Tay. Ever think about that one Taylor? No, because this video screams terrifying irrationality. Fellas, we all been there.

One Guardian article claims that this is all supposed to be a metaphor for men controlling the music industry and Taylor’s attempt to break from the paradigm. Put the fucking over-analysis to rest, she left Spotify because she wanted more money (music streaming is a scam for the artists for real) and this video is everything that it appears to be. Taylor plays a certifiably insane seductress living in a pseudo-victorian fantasy mansion filled with animals ranging from horses to deer, filling out a list of sex-hungry bros she lures to her outrageous master bedroom and ruining their shit when they inevitably lose interest in her BS. Everything is not a fucking metaphor, and it doesn’t matter if this video is because the 50 million twelve-year-old girls that watched it aren’t reading that far into it anyway.

But I’m into it. Best video of the year. Also should be adapted into a full-feature horror film.

Verdict: Fear, incarnate

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

Thank Yahweh for Nicki Minaj, this video is hilarious on a variety of levels. The scenes are outrageous, the rap is outrageous, the booties are outrageous. Even the damn sample is outrageous! Take Sir-Mix-A-Lot, pull out the best line from what might as well be his only song, add some 808’s and turn it into a fantasy workout jungle land. I mean there’s so much ass in this video I don’t think any reasonable person is capable of handling it. Even Drake was left with his mouth open, and he lives in damn the strip club.

Nicki is clearing making fun of herself while being totally serious. “Fuck all you skinny bitches, I’m not even rapping anymore just go fuck yourself ahahahahaha.” Yeah, that’s you Taylor.

The whole thing has an awesome tongue in cheek vibe. Sit back and just enjoy, there’s nothing more to it than there needs to be.

Verdict: Ass-tastic simplicity

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