Month: November 2014

The Waltz of the Confused Virgins: Taylor Swift – “Love Story”

Taylor Swift Love Story

 

We’re on a college campus, with Taylor walking along and looking forlorn, when she suddenly spies a boy sitting under a tree. He spies her spying. They are both suddenly transfixed with each other, with hints of possible recognition registering on their acne-free faces. (He’s really cute, which is a requirement in most music videos, so if she doesn’t really know him she probably should.) As they continue to be model-perfect, she (or maybe he, who knows) starts getting flashbacks of a past life they apparently shared.

We’re transported back to old-timey days (which would be 2004 for Taylor, but a couple hundred years for the rest of us), and Taylor is now standing on a balcony opening off a humongous house. Based on the couture of the extras milling around, we appear to be in, oh, let’s say the 1600s. (Shorthand-breakdown of the symbolism: she’s playing Juliet, and she’s wishing for a Romeo. We’ve all been there.)

Next thing we know, Taylor’s in a ballroom, with lots of candles plunked hither and yon. (Which means that electricity hasn’t been invented yet, so nobody can charge their social-media devices. Those were truly dark times, and people suffered.) But at least everyone is beautiful, and that’s all that really matters in the end, especially if you want your song to make a splash on the record charts, so you can be on “Good Morning, America”. Of course, you’ll have to wait for America to actually be a country, but times were simpler then and people were used to waiting for something interesting to happen.

The extras in the ballroom are suddenly unimportant, because Tree Boy from the opening scenes of the video saunters in, all seductive with his casual hairstyle and that enormously-poofy tie-thing around his neck. He doesn’t bother to sign the guest register, because he’s only here to notice Taylor, and she’s clearly ready to be noticed, especially since that’s what it says in the script. They are completely enraptured, in that rapturous way that only happened back in the day when people couldn’t travel a lot and didn’t realize that there were other options on the menu.

Before the Lusty Duo can proceed to the randy options that they both clearly want, some fool decides that it’s time for a waltz. (This is probably the result of the party planner, those irritating people who run about with clipboards and make people do things they don’t really want to do. Those annoying gnats have been around for centuries.) So everybody lines up for this unwelcome waltz, and I guess they didn’t have a lot of time to practice, because the extras are really bad at it. But everybody’s still pretty, and Taylor and Tree get to do cute things with their hands.

The waltz goes on for far longer than it should, since modern attention spans are very short, and nobody is doing any rapping and everybody is remaining clothed. (The producers let the scene play out and cross their fingers that it won’t affect album sales.) Toward the end of the primly-sedate, non-dirty dancing, Tree leans in toward Taylor and whispers something. He might be suggesting a future tryst, or he could just as easily be asking if she could validate his parking ticket.

Later that night, or that century, who knows, Taylor is trudging through a forest that we don’t know about because we don’t have a brochure. She’s holding up an oil lamp, acting like she’s using it to light her journey, but she’s really hoisting the flame so the camera can get good shots of her dewy skin. Suddenly, there’s Tree Boy, standing next to one of those creepy statues from “Interview with the Vampire”. (Seriously, stop the video at 1:40. Anne Rice would be proud of that visual.) I hope Taylor’s got a wooden stake up in that petticoat, just in case things take an unexpected turn.

She goes up to him and discreetly puts her finger across his lips. (“Shhh. Don’t tell me you’re a vampire. It’s been a long day, singing on the patio for hours and then all that dancing, so I really don’t have time for any more issues.”)

Then they wander around the forest for quite a bit, holding hands and chatting, the oil lamp never more than three inches from her peachy face. (Girl, careful with that burning oil, that weave will go up in a flash.) Of course, this is a chaste little video (all those tween-ager fans out there, sayin), so despite trudging through enough forest that we should be in Finland by now, they end up just petting a horse who is conveniently standing nearby instead of having sex.

Whoops, I may have lied about the discretionary aspects of this video. After Tree reluctantly wanders away from the non-trysting with Taylor, adjusting his pants and possibly heading to a hut in the forest that he shares with Hagrid, we see Taylor plucking a cherry off a tree. We might be in a chaste time-zone, but it’s fairly obvious that Taylor plans to be a woman soon.

Or maybe not. We now have Taylor back on that balcony, and I guess it’s been a while since she went to the zoo with Tree, because she’s singing the part about how she hasn’t seen him in so long and wonders if he’ll ever come save her. (And I’m thinking, honey, if you needed some gardening, why did you send the gardener away instead of asking him to unfold that enormous tie into a naughty landing-zone on the forest floor?) Lo and behold, once she pauses in her incessant warbling of the song, Taylor spies Hardwood walking out of the forest, headed her way.

Ecstatic, she starts racing down endless flights of curving stairs, the 20-foot train on her dress artfully billowing out behind her. We now have quick cut shots between the two of them, with her performing swift maneuvers with her slipper-encased feet and his scenes shot in slow-motion. (Hardwood only has to conquer about 5 feet of grass in his quest, but Taylor has an entire plantation house to navigate, so the editor had to get a bit creative with the meet-cute.)

After Taylor finally finishes running across what looks like a small country, the lovebirds make contact in the middle of a field that we haven’t seen before, so we’ll have to assume that there might have been some location issues with this shoot. Still, they seem very happy to have found one another after apparent decades of unsatisfied longing and presumed non-access to an Internet that hadn’t been invented yet.

But instead of pawing away at each other like any almost-lovers would after a long separation, even one that doesn’t make any sense, they simply join hands and bang their foreheads together, gazing longingly into each other’s eyes. (I’m not sure why they would want to do that. Have you ever tried it? When your faces are that close, your partner’s eyes meld into one and it looks like you’re on the verge of frenching a Cyclops. I wouldn’t consider such an image to be an aphrodisiac, but maybe that’s just me.)

And it seems the video-editor notices that we have a lack of true unbridled passion as well, and he throws in a bunch of different angles of the couple not actually doing anything so it seems like more is going on than really is. Still, they don’t even bother to kiss. Even if this is Elizabethan Times or whatever, with all the faked morality and chastity belts, you know that people still had sex or the human race would have ended. That’s basic math.

Then we flash forward to modern times, back to that opening-scene college, where apparently no one actually attends classes but instead the students wander the campus in search of reincarnated lovers. New-Age Taylor and Tree approach each other, recognition and passion swelling, but this time they don’t hold each other’s hands, probably because Taylor is carrying some stupid textbooks that she never uses and Tree’s arms are worn out from styling his hair for three hours. Instead, they just stand very close and smile, then the video fades.

Does Taylor Swift even know how the first Romeo and Juliet saga played out? Just wondering, because that story had some serious issues in the final act, and it wasn’t pretty. But at least the original players got to wallow around in a bed whilst Friar Lawrence or whatever his name is looked the other way and fiddled with some holy water. Taylor and Tree? They don’t even make it to first base and nary a stitch of clothing is tossed aside. But they do manage to get some decent glamour shots for their portfolio, so I guess it’s all good…

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 08/13/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

The Tragic Consequences of Bad Choices at Pier 1: Pink – “Please Don’t Leave Me”

Pink Please Don't Leave Me

 

We zoom in on a really ritzy house, one of those mammoth things that most of us can’t afford to visit, never mind purchase. We get a very quick tour of the house (somebody is really invested in decorating with vintage carnival props), then we find Pink and some guy in a bedroom, tussling over golf clubs and looking generally unhappy. Pink is sporting a very chaste hairdo and subdued clothing, so you know she’s not in her right mind. But at least she manages to show some cleavage during the altercation, so all is not lost.

After a bit, the guy gets a better grip on the golf bag and he celebrates this accomplishment by racing out of the room, even though Pink is clearly singing to him that he shouldn’t go and all. She runs out after him, because what’s the point of singing if nobody can hear you? He nears the top of a staircase, where someone has conveniently left a mess of clear and black glass marbles. (Looks like somebody’s been to Pier 1! In 1987.)

Of course the guy loses his balance and goes ass over elbows down the stairs. While he’s writhing in pain at the bottom of the steps, Pink gets an odd expression on her face. It’s not certain if she’s wondering how badly he’s hurt, trying to figure out if she’s enjoying seeing him in pain, or just remembered an appointment with her gynecologist. Eventually she tromps down the stairs to check on him, but she takes her time, pausing every third or so step to sing more of the song in gauzy close-up. If the poor guy is in need of immediate medical attention, he’s clearly toast, especially if Pink decides to do an encore performance.

Next scene has Pink dolled up in some hooker circus outfit, with a cute little hat and all, just as she’s appropriately singing the line “how did I become so obnoxious?” The golf guy is in a hospital bed in the same house (meaning he managed to survive and she can afford in-home healthcare), and she’s stitching a gash in his arm using needle and thread. (That sewing project in junior-high Home Economics finally paid off. Whew.)

Then Pink snatches up one of the golf clubs and does a naughty little dance with it (um, you can keep that club when you’re all done riding it, thanks). Suddenly, she hauls off and whacks golf guy’s injured leg with the club, and we learn two things: Pink has issues, and we’re apparently doing movie tributes. Yay! (This one is “Misery”, for those keeping score.) Needless to say, Golf Guy is not really appreciative of this development and would strongly prefer different living accommodations.

Now Pink is in the kitchen, vindictively hacking away at a head of cabbage or some such, using a big-ass knife. (She must hate vegetables and/or roughage.) Golf guy tries to sneak out of the house, but Pink hears him and catches up to him at the front door. Yet instead of actually stopping his escape, which she could easily do because her own legs are working just fine, she pauses to belt out a few lines of the chorus and fondle a colander. Golf opens the door, and he is immediately attacked by the dog from “Cujo”. (And it appears that Cujo has a lot of aggression to work out, probably due to his agent not getting him another decent acting gig in the last thirty years.)

Next scene has Pink in another hooker circus outfit and cute hat, but this time she and Arnold Palmer have kabuki makeup on, making them look dead or just really hung over. He’s strapped into a wheelchair, and she’s touching up his lipstick. He’s not being cooperative, squirming about, and this annoys her to the point that she hits him in the chest right during the “perfect little punching bag” line. (Moral message: If Pink wants to dress you up in her love, you need to keep your ass still.)

The camera pulls back to let us know that the unhappy couple is on some stage thing (this is a really big house), and the seats in the audience are filled with those creepy porcelain dolls that are always a sign of the devil or at least mental instability. I’m guessing this is a nod to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Pink shoves his wheelchair off the stage (you know, like Diana Ross did to Mary Wilson during that Motown anniversary special) and he crashes into the devil dolls.

Pink then jumps on top of him, all smoochy and loving. I’m assuming they proceed to have Cabbage Patch sex because she wakes up naked after a montage of the unblinking wicked dolls gazing upon their presumed carnality. She’s initially smiling in a post-coital way, but then she realizes that her golfing buddy is not in the room with her, only the miniature demon people with the unnaturally curly hair. She then catches a glimpse of Golf stupidly trying to flee again.

Well, that just irks Pink to no end, so she puts on another cute outfit and then grabs an axe and goes in pursuit. We then have a somewhat extended bit of running from room to room, with Golf continually looking behind him to see how close Pissed-Off Pink might be. (Fool! Everyone knows that looking behind you slows you down. Eyes forward and run for Jesus!) Golf eventually scampers into a bathroom (a rather lame choice, but we’ve already learned that Golf’s wattage rating is rather low), slamming the door in the face of the Axe Wench.

So of course they have to act out “The Shining”, with Pink whacking at the door with her deadly implement. (And it’s a rather cheap-looking door at that, which is kind of surprising considering the budget for this house. She has an auditorium but she can’t have solid-wood doors on the lavatory?) Still, Pink finally gets around to accomplishing her mission of creating a Jack Nicholson hole in the door and she shoves her face through it. (Golf makes sure to fumble around for an improvised weapon, long enough that she has time to finish singing another round of the chorus.)

Then Golf manages to find a squirt-bottle cleaning product (a rather symbolic gesture, since we could use some cleaning around here right about now), and he spritzes Pink’s face with whatever is inside the bottle. Apparently the product is not eye-friendly, because Pink jerks her head away from Jack Nicholson’s hole. (She’s probably not the first person to do that, if I had to venture a guess.)

Pink stumbles backwards and, wouldn’t you know it, we have another pile of those damn glass marbles just sitting there on the floor. Perhaps Pink really needs to review the effectiveness of her cleaning staff, but she doesn’t have time for that right at the moment. Instead, she’s busy losing her balance and tumbling over a balcony railing, smacking the ground a few stories below. (And this is a tribute to a lot of things, like “Vertigo”, “King Kong”, the Bush economy, and Paris Hilton’s contribution to society.)

We end this brutality-fest with medical people and police types tromping around the house, attending to whatever might need attention. (Watch out for those marbles, people. Your career path can change just like that.) They wheel Golf out the door on a stretcher, a move he probably would have relished several scenes ago, but he has an odd look of longing on his face as they roll past Pink. (She’s clearly not good for him, so it was probably the Cabbage Patch sex that keeps him hanging on. Humping in front of dolls often makes you stay in relationships far longer than you should.)

As for Pink, the officials seem to be ignoring her as she lays there all splayed out in what can’t possibly be a comfortable position. Perhaps she’s passed on? Or maybe not, because she’s still singing, or at least has a very odd case of rigor mortis that is causing her to harmonize from beyond. Oh wait, now she’s sitting up and throwing the viewing audience a big kiss, meaning it was all in fun and she’s not really dead or advocating domestic violence. Hee hee, wasn’t that fun?

That’s nice. I’m glad that you’ll be around to put out another album or two. But would you mind having someone put those creepy dolls in lock-up? Those things just ain’t right…

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 08/04/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

There’s Something in the Water: Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”

Lady Gaga Poker Face

 

In the opening scenes, Lady Gaga is dripping wet, climbing out of somebody’s swimming pool. She is wearing odd headgear, some contraption that you can’t get at your local mall, and the assumption is that she was thrown out of a passing alien spaceship because she’s wearing too much eyeliner. (Excessive grooming products can hinder optimal space travel.) There are twin attack-dogs reviewing her movements, but they don’t approach her because she doesn’t appear to have any treats for them, and even if she did, they would be soggy by now, because girlfriend is water-logged.

Then Lady Gaga prances around in her black leather outfit, doing hand movements that signify she either has a rash or is practicing for an infomercial involving cleaning products. Amazingly, her eyeliner does not run, despite the coming-out-of-the-pool thing. She does a lot of naughty hip-thrusting for no apparent reason. It’s probably in her contract that she has to do such, or maybe she just has no control over her loins.

Oh wait, now she’s sporting a blue outfit for the chorus of the song. She clutches her head a lot, while tons of backup dancers appear out of nowhere, and they all gyrate, but Lady Gaga doesn’t have a hair out of place. Somebody needs to cut a bonus check for the stylist, because he hit that, yes she did. You really aren’t anybody unless you can control your own hair. Or have enough money to pay someone to control it for you.

Now there are hundreds of people running about, with once-again black-clad Gaga pretending to play poker and throwing cards everywhere (rude!), then everybody is in their night-night clothes but still humping the air and acting like poker is an aphrodisiac. Personally, I’ve never been that invested in something as small as a playing card or any situation where you have to lie about what you might have in your hands, but maybe I have different goals.

Then we head into another round of the chorus, and Gaga is back in her blue outfit, meaning the poor thing is probably worn out with all the wardrobe changes. (Still, she’s obviously making more money than me, so not much of a sympathy angle on this end.) Then somebody powers up a fog machine, so we can have a nice 80s-era bit of pizazz, even though it has nothing to do with what’s happening in front of the camera.

Oh look, now there are two images of Gaga gyrating and getting moist over a royal flush. Wow, not only is card-playing apparently sexy, but it can cause instantaneous cloning. I had never considered this possibility. (Kudos to the director for partaking in the proper amount of recreational drugs to advance his artistry in just the right attention-getting manner.) I’m sure that Diana Ross will have one of her servants contact him, should she decide that the world cannot survive unless she has a comeback tour.

Now Gaga’s wearing some freaky glasses that somehow channel the MTV feed. Way cool. But then she gets bored with the fancy spectacles and ditches them pretty quickly, much like the MTV audience has done for the last few decades, once management started forgetting that music videos is what originally made them blue-chip on Wall Street. You want your MTV? Keep it.

Wait, now Gaga’s wearing the blue outfit again even though it’s not time for the chorus. What the hell? Did somebody run out of film footage and started to wing it? And why does she keep using her hand to make a circle thing around her eye? Is this her signature move? I suppose it might mean something to her personally, but it pales in comparison to, I don’t know, Michael Jackson’s moonwalk or Eric Clapton doing anything with a guitar.

Before we have a chance to raise our hand and question the wardrobe malfunction, Gaga runs into another room where she proceeds to flirt with some bed-head semi-stud who looks rather stoned. We now have several jump cuts between Gaga, the stoner, the hundreds of gyrating people in the house who apparently can’t find a decent disco, and some startlingly-intimate shots of Gaga basically French-kissing one of the dogs. I suppose the director was going for “artsy foreign cinema” with this angle, but all I got out of it was “the film editor tried to cover up the fact that the director misunderstood artsy foreign cinema”. Let’s just hope that no animals were harmed during the filming of this sequence.

Despite the lack of cohesiveness, Gaga marches on like a trooper, firmly convinced that her insistent willpower alone will make this video a success. This means that we get a lot of close-ups of her various body parts, mainly to show everyone that she enjoys gothic manicures, and that her hair has remained in place, despite the humidity from the pool and the hordes of lost disco dancers racing around the property. (There’s a slight hint that someone may have drowned in the swimming pool during all this debauchery, but we don’t dwell on it because we really don’t know these people personally.)

We have some filler footage with Gaga doing even more odd hand movements, still really invested in doing the circle thing around her eye even though it’s not particularly attractive, and more shots of her frolicking around in outfits that can’t possibly be comfortable, wedged so tightly that a yeast infection is surely on the horizon. And what’s up with the obvious white wig, honey? You paraded it around for most of the video, and I tried to love it, but it’s just not happening for me. It looks like something worn by the child actors in the “Village of the Damned” movie, and a lot of people died in that flick. Is that really the legacy you’re trying to leave behind here?

We end the video with Gaga possibly having at least a minimal orgasm, and/or letting us know that her favorite sports team did something positive. Not sure. Whatever the case, she and her fake hair look completely satisfied, confident that her work is done here and she can now head to the wrap party, ready to be worshipped and handed cocktails.

P.S. What the hell was that metal thing on your cheek during the entire video? Text me.

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 07/18/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.