Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Music video meltdown: Prepubescent birthday edition

“BABY”

JUSTIN BIEBER FEAT. LUDACRIS

Video released Feb. 19, 2010

From My World 2.0 (2010, Island)

DIR: Ray Kay

To celebrate his super sweet 16 b-day, prepubescent (don’t worry, ladies, it’ll happen next year) hip-hopper Justin Bieber leads us off with his video “Baby.” Apparently, Usher’s multifarious connections landed Bieber a gig with Luda, who has managed to remain relevant for 12 years now and has another cleverly titled album dropping this year called Ludaversal. Notable cameos in the video include fellow rappers Drake (Degrassi: The Next Generation and Lil Wayne protegé) and Lil Twist (the dude with the ridiculous ‘fro), but the best scene by far is Luda’s super-awkward chokehold on Bieber that occurs about three quarters of the way through. Not only does it capture how awkward this video is to begin with, but it likely reveals a source from which Bieber learned to yank girls toward him (literally) and pinch them (literally) in order to get them to listen to him say, “I’d thought you’d always be mine.” Dude, seriously? To make up for Bieber’s immaturity, director Ray Kay offers some good allusions to Grease and the late Michael Jackson. The choreography uses some of Jackson’s “less-suggestive moves” (I don’t know what could be more suggestive than the moonwalk!) and reaches its climax when the guys and girls hold a dance-off in the middle of the neon bowling alley. The girl that Bieber pissed off at the beginning, though, ends up falling for him and the video concludes with the two leaving the bowling alley holding hands, like a good PG movie. Hooray for Justin! I guess they’re now an “item,” as he puts it. (Wasn’t that term retired in the ’90s when people started using “going out”?) Anyway, Bieber, too bad you’re still lacking Joe Jonas’ hotness (and alliteration).

IMMA BE ROCKING THAT BODY”

BLACK EYED PEAS

Video released Feb. 16, 2010

From The E.N.D. (Interscope, 2009)

DIR: Rich Lee

Where to start? Well, this video is brilliant and will completely and utterly transform the way music videos are made from now on. Hmm . . . Maybe not, but, like R. Kelly’s hip-hopera: which will continue with 15 new episodes this spring and totals nearly 84 minutes in length: it does away with the prevailing logic that music videos should be short, sweet and to the point; that music videos shouldn’t question cultural phobias or taboos and that music videos can’t provide a thorough narrative that is both superficially entertaining and intellectually engaging. Unlike Bieber’s video, which needs some speaking for, this one speaks for itself. Breakdancing 50-foot robots, Fergie’s chipmunk-autotuned voice and will.i.am shooting pulses at people that make them start to dance highlight this 10-minute pseudo mash-up of “Imma Be” and “Rock That Body.” The narrative and video start with will.i.am introducing some new technology to the band: a speech synthesis machine that will record every word they say and turn it into music, thereby “taking the Peas into 3008.” Fergie argues that the machine will take the “soul” out of music and render recording an album useless. Taboo and apl.de.ap have their problems with the new technology too. And this is only the tip of the ice berg. The ending makes the lengthy video about 10 times better, adding some self-referentiality and dream-like qualities to an already awesome ensemble of ridiculously futuristic, Lady Gaga-like scenes.

“BLAH BLAH BLAH”

KE$HA FEAT. 3OH!3

Video released Feb. 23, 2010

From Animal (RCA, 2010)

DIR: Brendan Malloy

Hey, guess what? It’s Ke$ha’s birthday too! Uh oh, I hope she doesn’t cradle rob Justin for her birthday present. Anyway, this 23-year-young, Cuban tattooed, female rapperesse had me at “TiK ToK.” In that vid, she had the excuse of having just woken up from a crazy night of partying it up for looking perfectly trashy. In this one, she kind of goes over the top with her fashion sense brand, “garbage-chic,” which turns into an unfortunate offshoot of white trash-gross. Well, if her clothing has gone awry (she gives a new meaning to the word “frayed”), at least we still have her good message: Don’t mack on me when you’re drunk by spewing a bunch of cheeseball pick-up lines. Wrong! Her actual message is something more akin to, “Just shut up, I want to get laid.” O.K., maybe 3OH!3 will save the day and free us from her terribly autotuned voice and the not-danceable video game beats. 3OH!3 Fail! “In this bar it only matters who I iiiiiiiiiiiiiis,” they sing while the video dozes off into epilepsy-inducing flashes. Maybe they should go back to their previous motto, “don’t trust us”; I’m sure Katy Perry would’ve offered them an even better cameo. Second videos/singles rarely come close to firsts, so I’ve got high hopes (eh, maybe not so high) that Ke$ha will rebound with something that gives us more to talk about. But, until then, please don’t liken this so-called white-gurl-rap tour de force to Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is on a completely different stratosphere that Ke$ha will never ever reach. Sorry, gurl. So, in sum, this video is not danceable, not new and not worth it. Better luck next time Ke$ha.

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