Why music videos are great, or: Gwen Stefani’s What You Waiting For?

Remember the days when the media liked to predict that Gwen Stefani would be the next Madonna? Well, they were wrong, someone else took that spot. But actually, Mrs. Stefani seemed to be embarking on an extraordinary solo-career. Now, we are all just waiting for her to finally release the next No Doubt album that we’ve been promised. But let’s not be too dismissive and take a look at what “started” her solo-career: The brilliant video for What You Waiting For?, the lead-single of her “Love.Angel.Music.Baby” (yes, barf) album. My top 5 resons for loving this video after the clip.

#1 The Song.
Obviously. Or not so much? Gwen Stefani is a peculiar case, especially considering her solo career. Peculiar, because I really want to like what she does, but with her two solo-albums only the lead-singles blew me away. What you Waiting for? is an amazing unapologetic pop-gem, but the rest of the singles and the album were kinda blah IMHO. And the same goes for her sophomore album. Wind it up was an awesome lead-single, but everything afterwards just disappointed me. Well, at least there are the lead-singles, right?
Oh, and referring to yourself as a stupid ho is always a plus in my book, even if you, dear reader, cannot hear it, cause I could only find a clean version of the vid. Sorriez.

#2 The Extended Version.
Oh, isn’t it just nice to see artists caring about their music videos? And then actually making a short movie out of it? I love the narrative spin on the video with the extended version, where she not only comments on the theme of the song herself (getting her career started….or is it really about having children? Ha!), but where she sets up the whole fantasy-journey that happens in the “actual” music video. And I just love how “let’s get straight to business” the two women working in the writer’s block clinic or whatever are. Major props also to how many of the situations feel slightly awkward and uncomfortable and how Gwen Stefani totally looks like Courtney Love when she’s in the water.
Please pay particular attention to the questionnaire!

#3 Alice in Wonderland.
Do you remember the Alice in Wonderland version by Tim Burton? Well, when I first heard about him doing the movie I was hoping for visuals like that. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I thought the visuals were horrible, too dark (as in: not visible) most of the time, and really overall just uninspired. This video on the other hand: crisp clear, stunning and still trippy enough to make you follow the rabbit. Even if he’s real tiny and pink. Couldn’t the Tim Burton thing be a little more like Gwen’s video? Time travellers: pretty please?

#4 The Costumes.
Part of why the visuals are so amazing is because the outfits in What You Waiting For? are. Gwen Stefani has been labelled style-icon so many times it makes me wanna puke, and really, most of the time she doesn’t strike me as particularly cutting edge, but in this very video her passion for fashion and the Alice in Wonderland narrative blend together extremely well. John Galliano, though. Ugh, I know.
And then some extra special points for her studio outfit with that yellow top, cause that is really beautiful, though non-Alice related.
(And yes: major props to the make-up department as well!)

#5 The Randomness.
The sheer randomness of the concept of Alice in Wonderland. How exactly does it relate to the song? Apparently not at all. Of course we could go into a whole discussion of how the Alice theme of growing up and leaving childhood fantasies behind relates to Gwen “graduating” to a solo-artist with a respectable career, but I leave it to you to write the essay on that.

And because we like it so much, here is some further insight into the making of this video:

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