Month: December 2014

Finding Jesus at Burning Man: Kesha – “Your Love Is My Drug”

Kesha Your Love Is My Drug

 

Wow, they sure didn’t spend any money on this thing.

Anyway, we start out with some close-up shots of Kesha’s various body parts because she’s all about “her art” and isn’t a tramp at all. She’s waking up way out in the desert some place, because this is where you have to live when people get a little tired of hearing you on the radio. She’s apparently using some guy’s stomach as a pillow as she sleeps off the shame of whatever they might have just finished doing. Or maybe she just tripped and fell on a homeless person because, well, it seems like something she might do.

Kesha awakens and/or realizes that her drink is empty, and she takes a closer look at the guy, startled to discover that he’s wearing a nasty headband, which is a sure sign of trouble. She leaps to her feet and runs away across the sand. I’m guessing she doesn’t remember his name and she’s trying to avoid any social awkwardness. (Wait a minute. Maybe it’s just me, but that homeless guy seems to have a Jesus flair to him. What kind of story are we trying to tell here?)

Next thing you know, Kesha is riding an elephant and wearing a bonnet that she stole from the Statue of Liberty. That’s a rather vague concept that the director might have misjudged, so we cut to a tight shot on Kesha’s boots as she staggers through the desert. The heat makes her burst into song (“Maybe I’m ready for some rehab.” Ya think?), and she waves her arms like she really wanted to be in the high-school flag corps but things got in her way, like not actually going to high school.

Oh wait, there she is on the elephant again, followed by her sporting a tiger mask and assuming a squat-like position. (She likes zoos? She likes to hunt game? She’s practicing for Burning Man?) Then we have several shots of her Native American jewelry as she twirls around and can’t keep still, singing about her inability to stop banging her head against the wall. I’m not a physician or a neurologist, but the head-banging is probably not advisable. There are other hobbies you can pursue. Check out Pinterest.

Now she seems to have made up with the Pillow Jesus Man, because he’s back in the picture and they hold hands while a fan blows somewhere off to the side. More animal references, wild arm movements, and clunky jewelry that has GOT to be on her nerves by now. She weighs about 40 pounds. How is she managing to stay on her feet with all the wind and accessories?

Then they start screwing around with a kaleidoscope or something, because we suddenly have six refracted images of Kesha as she prances around in the sand. This unnerves me somewhat, because I don’t think the world needs six of her. But she keeps dancing anyway, delighting in the concept of an army of her body parts conquering the planet. This is probably the same vision that Ayn Rand had as she began writing her self-absorbed novels.

Elephant again.

Oh, now she and Jesus are in a boat. She’s being really rude and jumping around while he tries to row them back to the Garden of Eden or maybe a place where bushes burn. Then again, I guess it doesn’t really matter how obnoxious she’s being, because there’s not any water and they aren’t actually moving. Kesha makes a reference to a “lovesick crackhead” and I officially quit trying to determine the plot.

Good move on my part, because they’re still in the boat, but now some unregulated artist is messing around with the film, using crayons to create water and buoys and giant crabs. Kesha reacts to the added décor by… I don’t what she’s doing. Pointing is involved, and wiggling around in Daisy Dukes. Then a giant cartoon wave covers up the boat, and I’m hoping the video is over so I can go somewhere quiet and ponder the life choices I have made that led me to reviewing this video.

Nope, it’s not over. Now we’re in an underwater cartoon world, where the fish have human faces and they are singing. (Well, that just ruined Sea World for me.) The oddities continue, with a nearly naked man covering his harmonica with an absurdly-long beard, carnivorous fish that turn into mermaids, and a general theme that life in the ocean can kill you. That’s nice. Make the budding youth of the world fear aquatic settings, assuming that their short attention spans can encompass such a concept. Thanks, Kesha.

And we’re back in the desert, where Kesha is struggling to escape some evil cargo netting that she apparently got tangled in during the chorus. She flails a bit, but she’s really not trying that hard and I don’t feel especially sorry for her. Besides, doesn’t she have an assistant that can just cut that damn thing off of her? Girl, where is your entourage when you need them? I guess even rock stars have trouble with the help.

Then we start jumping around, with more shots of Kesha lamely trying to fight off the Net of Death (twirling and trying to fly seem to be her signature defense moves), Kesha and Jesus standing on some big rocks and waiting for additional Commandments that might possibly be delivered, and the realization that Kesha has a fondness for sand being smeared all over her body, especially when her cheek is accented by turquoise streaks. I’ll just assume that she has different life goals than I do.

As Kesha sings about having a slumber party in her basement (just say no, kids), we are treated to images of Kesha in an outfit splattered with day-glo paint, cavorting with more boulders and an unexplained snake. (Is this a reference to music company executives? Discuss amongst yourselves.) Whatever her intentions, Kesha apparently feels very sultry when she’s flopping around under a black light, and she does her best to portray a streetwalker in an excised scene from the old-school movie Tron. (Two points for the bold neon line running directly into her lower cleavage. Nothing says class like painting a landing strip on your body.)

We head back to the cartoon world, with animals mutating and a giant billboard to remind us what the name of this song is. The graphics and imagery hint of a tribute to Sergeant Pepper and/or the Beatles, but really, how is Kesha going to get that reference? (She was only born about 20 minutes ago, decades after the Beatles owned the world with trippy, thoughtful compositions.) This montage is clearly the work of an art director with OCD, a fondness for hemp, and a membership in the AARP.

Now it’s night time in the desert, and Kesha has settled down a little bit. She and Jesus are making S’mores at a campfire, and perhaps writing a few things down in case Moses has some extra tablets. Kesha is still really happy about her jewelry, her ability to wave her arms for no apparent reason, and the fact that she can make whatever kind of video she wants because she is trending on Twitter.

The song and the video wind down with Kesha doing that weird baby talk business at the end. (“I like your beard.” Honey, that’s not a beard. That’s somebody being lazy and not shaving for a few days.) Jesus is watching her suspiciously and probably wondering why this disciple has proven to be so challenging and flirty. Kesha doesn’t care. (Does Jesus have any platinum singles? I don’t think so. Over you and moving on.) So she laughs a lot and plays with her hair, because she’s still young and doesn’t understand things like consequences, mortality, and an agent that really knows what he’s doing.

Final shot is of Kesha on that damn elephant, sporting the Statue of Liberty headdress. Give me your tired, your poor, and your teenagers with unearned disposable income. One of those three things is determining the future of the music industry, and that’s the real drug…

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 06/11/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

 

Fake Nachos and Multiple Zippers: Jason Derulo – “In My Head”

Jason Derulo In My Head

 

We get things started outside some convenience store, one of those places where the owners charge you three times the decent price of an item because you’re desperate and in a hurry. There are some people we don’t know wandering around the parking lot, some of them flirting, others posing in that artificial manner that says “I’m wearing this dumbass outfit because I crave attention and never felt validated as a child”. Jason is just standing there, looking a bit out of place, probably because he doesn’t have to stop at convenience stores now that he has people in his entourage who can do that for him.

Then three girls come prancing out of the store, looking like RuPaul just rang a bell and the drag race is on. Jason is immediately infatuated with the third girl, probably because her hair is the prettiest and she has more zippers than anybody else. Jason decides that the best way to impress her is to start singing a Top 40 hit, despite the fact that she might not care for such things and just wants to eat her beef jerky.

Of course, the first line Jason sings is his name, because that’s what some people mystifyingly do in current pop songs. (I don’t really get that. What serious songwriter is going to go “hey, what this song really needs is for you to product place yourself, right here. That will make the song perfect!”) Once Jason gets to the less self-involved part of the lyrics, we start getting flash cuts of Jason (I’m guessing) shadow-boxing with himself. This is probably symbolically important in some way, but there are no subtitles to help us grasp the concept.

Anyway, while Jason sings, Pretty Girl just kind of struts around the parking lot. She knows she’s hot, so she doesn’t have to immediately sleep with the first person she sees. In fact, she decides to play hard to get, and she starts flirting with one of the extras standing nearby. Naturally, this makes Jason jealous, because he’s supposed to get the prize in the box, with him being the star of the video, so he interrupts her shenanigans and makes her pay attention to him. They are officially a couple at this point, because that’s all it takes to be in a relationship these days, standing next to each other for longer than 30 seconds. As a reward for her short-term faithfulness, Pretty Girl gets to appear along with Jason in the mystical shadow-boxing scenes, where the first thing she does is grab her breasts, because she’s a good Christian girl and all.

Now that Pretty Girl has been upgraded to co-star billing, she smiles a little bit more and lets the camera get close-ups of her high-heeled boots. (She even laughs it up a bit with her little girlfriends, even though she doesn’t need them anymore and has her own trailer on the set. For their part, the girlfriends don’t seem the least bit interested in leaving, since you never know when another pop star might pull in for some gas.) In the shadow scenes, Pretty Girl kicks the “dancing” into over-drive, raising her hands over her head and apparently envisioning herself in that movie where Jennifer Beals wore torn sweatshirts and conquered the Pittsburgh ballet scene. (Jason, if you’re keeping score, is still doing some kind of kung-fu crap that isn’t very sexy and doesn’t help move the story along.)

We come back from the Flashdance tribute to find somebody must have sprinkled some horny dust on the parking lot, with all the extras pairing off into couples or at least making some serious eye contact with the intention of coupling. None of the Libido Cast seems to be paying any attention to Jason, which is kind of rude considering all the trouble he went to arranging for a sound system at this convenience store. Jason doesn’t seem to mind this lack of appreciation, focusing on Pretty Girl, because he’s never seen anyone stay on their feet this long while wearing heels that high, although she is cheating a little by leaning against a car to keep her balance. (Honey, a real queen would own those high heels. Get yourself a personal trainer.)

Then we a have a bridge in the song, where Jason breathes really heavily like he’s doing a voiceover for an asthma-inhaler commercial. This causes the shadow couple to do a few naughty moves, and we learn that Pretty Girl is very limber and, based on her erratic but strenuous flailing, just might possibly be going into labor. She disappears from the shadow scenes for a little bit, probably looking for someone who can hold the baby until she’s done dancing, which leaves Jason by himself, pretending to be a mime in France.

Back in the parking lot, we have a brief uprising when one of the male extras ignores the script and tries to steal Pretty Girl away from Jason. (Dude, those are not your vocals on the soundtrack so you are not going to get the girl. Or the guy, whatever. You don’t get anything until you have a recording contract, that’s the American way.) To show their displeasure at this attempted mutiny, Jason and Pretty Girl dance to the other side of the parking lot, in that violence-avoiding West Side Story manner of having a rumble without any actual rumbling. (Nothing says “don’t mess with my woman” better than some fancy twirling and a high-kick.) Pretty Girl looks a little irritated, mostly because of the attempted abduction, but she’s also not pleased that she can’t lean on the car anymore. Maybe she’s anemic, poor thing.

We cut to Jason and Pretty girl in what looks like a jail cell, with an odd blue light that makes their outfits look shiny. Pretty Girl seems to be back in her happy but lethargic mode, leaning on the bars of the cell while Jason sings, staring at his chin and wondering why he didn’t finish shaving that morning. The prison bars apparently make her feel rather sexy, because she squirms around wantonly and pouts her lips, infused with a passion inspired by confined spaces and the possibility of a prison guard or two showing up with authoritative nightsticks. (Or maybe I’m just inserting my own fantasies into the story. Christopher Meloni in Oz? I’d serve time if I could bunk with that.)

We are still getting jump cuts of the shadow dancers, but I’m pretty bored with this whole sideshow mess. You can’t really see anything, it’s hard to tell what they’re doing, and Jason is still convinced that martial arts are somehow romantic. (The martial arts are usually a solitary endeavor, Jason, like masturbation. What kind of message are you sending here?) But at least the shadow-dancer version of Pretty Girl found a daycare center for her impromptu offspring, because she’s back in the action, touching herself like the Divinyls said she should. That girl is just overheated. This is what happens when you cut funding for The Arts in public school systems.

And we’re in the parking lot again, with Pretty Girl leaning on the same car once more. (Why is that car still there? It’s a convenience store. What the hell is the owner doing that is taking so long for him to come back? Was there an issue with the fake-cheese nacho machine?) We get close-ups of Jason comparing his shoes to her boots. (I guess footwear is really important to the younger crowd. This is what happens when you let your kids learn values by watching TV commercials all day.) It looks like Jason wins the shoe competition, with the victory somehow resulting in Jason and two of his buddies proceeding to have a dance-off in some conveniently-empty parking spaces. (Forget about logical cause and effect, this is a music video and realism is unimportant.)

So Jason and the two featured extras hop around in formation for a bit, because synchronized dancing is always happening at places where you can buy Slushees and rolling papers. We’ve seen it all before, and better, so even Pretty Girl gets bored and starts talking to somebody else, because she can’t be in a relationship with someone who has better shoes or has his own choreographer on standby.

Jason, getting a whiff of his own misogyny, sends his backup dancers scurrying into the night and tries to prove his undying temporary devotion to Pretty Girl by performing a solo dance. While this might be a thoughtful gesture, at least in the intention, his moves clearly show that although he may have seen the “Billie Jean” video a lot, he didn’t really practice all that much and he can only half-ass do the moves. In a desperate show of solidarity, his backup-dancer buddies return from the Land of Banishment just long enough to remind Jason that no dance sequence is complete without a crotch grab, so they all do that with passionate gusto.

Finally, Jason and the Crotch-Grabbers stop dancing and we can relax a little bit. (Nothing soothes the soul quite like the moment when annoying people cease to be annoying.) As the song fades away, we learn that Jason was, possibly, only imagining the encounter with Pretty Girl, and now he approaches her without all the singing and dancing and shoe-comparing. She smiles at him and asks “Haven’t we met before?”

Uh, yeah. You were giving birth to his shadow-child just three minutes ago. Do you not remember the Boeing 787 ripping you asunder while your legs were in the air? God, these people have short attention spans. I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to remain focused for longer than… oh wait, I just got a text message, brb…

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 05/26/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

 

Holding Out for a Hero Sandwich: Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”

Lady Antebellum Need You Now

 

We start out staring at a red balloon floating in a hallway somewhere, while some unseen person is playing a mournful series of notes on a piano. (In a horror movie, unseen people usually do very bad things. I’m not sure of the threat-level for unseen people in music videos.) The balloon looks very sad and doesn’t seem to have any friends.

Then we cut to Charles, one of the lead singers, sitting on the floor in a hallway that may or may not be the same one with the despondent balloon. We can see a series of doors with numbers on them, so we must be at a hotel of some kind. (Or possibly a very fancy penitentiary, where rich people go to serve their one-week sentence for tax evasion.)

Charles is plopped right next to one of those room service trays that people shove outside their doors when they are done eating fifteen-dollar club sandwiches. There is the slightly naughty possibility that he is stealing someone’s food, because he looks somewhat guilty and normal people don’t eat in the hallway. But there’s really not enough information to go on, so we shouldn’t judge. (Unless you’re a Fox News “reporter”. They’re pretty quick with the judging and the lack of fact-checking.)

Charles gets on his cell phone and calls somebody. (“Dude, I just found the most slammin’ nachos, get over here.”) Then we are shown an image of discarded roses tossed on a table or bench of some kind. The flowers look very dejected. Apparently all of the props in this video have emotional issues.

We finally get to see the guy that’s been playing those same notes on the piano, over and over, so he can make sure that we’ve got it down. (We do. Now, can we push another button on your jukebox?) We don’t know if he’s sad like Charles and the balloon, because his face is in shadow, but we can see his OCD hand banging on the piano keys and it doesn’t look very cheerful. (This may or may not be another member of the band, Dave. One would assume that he’s in this video somewhere, but the “shadows and fog” design scheme of this scene does not help us find Waldo.)

Then we start getting shots of Hillary, the other lead singer, and she’s actually inside one of the hotel rooms, so she must have more money than Charles. But she doesn’t seem to be any happier. Her hair is kind of a mess, and somebody really needs to make the bed. I guess the maid service is very questionable in this establishment, so you might want to check the comments on Expedia before you book your next trip. Hillary wanders around the room, pulling at her hair, which is sign language for “I’m just improvising until the piano man gets through that long-ass intro and I can start singing”.

Then Hillary does start to croon the opening lines, a few scenes later, and now her hair looks really good and she’s bathed in a golden glow, courtesy of a lighting technician who fully understands that divas should always be properly lit or somebody’s going to get a pink slip. But Hillary’s still sad about something. While singing, she glances at some empty champagne bottles. Is she blue because there’s nothing more to drink? That’s an anguish I can certainly understand, so we should probably friend each other on social media.

Then Charles and Hillary do a little duet, even though he’s in the hallway and she’s in the messy room. I guess the walls are really thin, or maybe they’re both just really loud, in which case the rest of the hotel is probably not very pleased with them at the moment. I don’t think I ever want to stay at this hotel, what with the poor maid service, all the sadness, and people bellowing pop songs at a quarter after one in the morning. On the flip side, I hear that the nachos are really good.

Oh look, for the chorus, Hillary has sprawled herself on the messy bed and is squirming around, almost as if the mattress is putting up a fight or her thong just flossed an uncomfortable spot. We cut to the hallway, where Charles glances down at the room service tray to make sure there’s nothing left to nosh on before he goes back to singing and looking tormented. Then he gets up and wanders off, perhaps to see what folks had for dinner in the next hallway.

Oh wait, Charles has apparently left the hotel, because now he’s in some diner, where he’s very protective of his coffee cup, keeping his hand over it the whole time. (Did evil people in his past do unsavory things to his beverages? That’s a hard life to live.) We’re not sure why Charles is in this diner. He certainly can’t be hungry after the hallway buffet, and there’s no food on his table, so the waitress is going to get a really crappy tip unless she upsells the cherry pie.

We zip back to the hotel that you probably shouldn’t bookmark, where Hillary finally drags her lazy ass out of bed, checks the mirror to ensure her rumpled but sparkling dress is still form-fitting, then she grabs an overcoat and heads out into the night. I don’t know why people can’t stay in one place in this video. If you need somebody now, shouldn’t you make yourself easy to find?

We head back to the diner, where Charles is still wailing and shielding his coffee from terrorists. The piano man waltzes in with his female companion and they sit at another booth, looking very happy and making googly eyes at each other. We instantly don’t care for them, just because of the happiness. This is a sad song where people yearn about lost things, don’t come in here with your success story and make us feel even crappier about bad choices we’ve made.

Cut to Hillary in the backseat of some car, with her head shoved out the window as she belts out a few more lines. The car doesn’t seem to be moving, so I’m not sure where she thinks she’s going. (In the midst of this, we get a brief shot of Charles doing a very odd hand movement that seems to signify he has just been instructed to turn his head and cough. Is the waitress under the table, performing some type of medical examination? Good for her, showing initiative and having multiple career paths.)

We cut again to Hillary, because she’s still in that damn car, whipping her head around and gripping the lowered window. I think this is supposed to mean that she’s very distraught about certain decisions in her love life, but it might just be that she’s getting frustrated with the Sonic waitress who is taking way too long to roller-skate up with her cherry limeade and a foot-long chili dog.

Charles suddenly stands up and races out of the diner, without leaving any money at all on the table, never mind a tip. (Does this guy just not understand that you are supposed to PAY for food? What does he not get? Where was he raised?) He hurries along the sidewalk, and actually starts running, so he’s either really late for some rendezvous or the coffee has kicked in with a surprising vengeance. One should never stray far from available restrooms whilst consuming liquid caffeine, that’s just a dangerous road to travel.

And once again we check in with Hillary in the backseat of the car. Her hair is blowing around, indicating some type of wind disturbance, but I’m still not convinced the car is actually moving. (Where the hell is the driver? Why are there no other cars around them? Why aren‘t they stopping to pay tolls? How come irritating homeless people aren’t trying to wash the car windows? It’s just not very realistic.)

Realism aside, both Charles and Hillary somehow end up at this building where some type of formal dance is going on. (Hillary, who has apparently ditched the non-driven car at some point, does take time out of her mission to pose for the cameraman while she sings one of the critical lines in the song, then she starts running frantically again.) They sashay into the ballroom and start scouring the crowd, with all the dancers wearing black eye masks to heighten the tension as well as disguise the fact that we are seeing the same four extras from different camera angles. Budget issues, I guess.

Despite the foreshadowing that Charles and Hillary are looking for each other, this proves to not be the case. Apparently the ones they need right now are not other members of the same band, which is actually a healthy advisory to follow. (It doesn’t work out when you lust after people who harmonize with you on a national tour. Just ask The Mamas and The Papas. Or Fleetwood Mac. Or ‘N Sync.)

Charles finds his lost love first, some blond who looks a bit like Hillary but is way younger and smiles a lot more. They moon at each other for a bit. Then Hillary finds her man, who doesn’t look anything like Charles but is way younger and smiles a lot more. (Yes, there’s a slight whiff of “robbing the cradle” about the proceedings, but I’m not a country singer so I don’t know all the dating rules.) Then the finally-happy couples hold each other and slow dance while some queen in charge of the party releases confetti over the crowd.

While everyone is reuniting and it feels so good, the piano man and his adoring mate wander in and start hugging as well, showing that you don’t have to be in a relationship where people fight and then sing about being drunk and lonely. You can get along just fine, with no issues or restraining orders, and you still might be featured in a music video. There’s hope for everyone.

Well, maybe not everyone.

The final shot is of the sad balloon that started all this mess. Now the poor thing is lying on the carpeted floor of the crappy hotel, half-deflated, with its tragic ribbon all trampled and unloved. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to take this, but it’s certainly not an inspiring image. What are they telling us?

Maybe it’s a promo for the next Lady Antebellum single. Something along the lines of “Need Your Helium Now” or “Latex on My Mind” or “Love Don’t Live Here on the Floor”.

Or maybe not. Discuss amongst yourselves.

 

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

Originally published on 02/05/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.