Tag Archives: music video review

Why music videos are great, or: Solange – Losing you

Time to delve into the depth of the wonderfulness of music videos again. Especially since I am absolutely infatuated with the song and the video lately. So without further ado I give you: Beyoncé’s little sister! Yeah, that’s right, honey, Solange Knowles is my topic of choice today. Granted, her career has been burning a little less bright than that of her older sister, but that don’t mean that girl cannot do right, right?
So let us take a look at a video that put her on a lot more people’s radars in 2012: Losing You.

#1 – The song

Let’s start with an obvious reason: I love the song. But, and that is what is so great about the video, I wouldn’t really have noticed the song if it weren’t for the video. But because I liked the video so much, I actually listened to the song, and now I love it and of course that makes me love the video even more, period.

#2 – The setting

I really like where the scenes of the video are taking place, in front of that tailor’s container-shop, inside a small barely furnished living room, on the seats of a stadium… Perfect. Probably because many of the settings – especially the scene in the little bus – take me back to my trip to Kenya in 2006 and the scenes that I encountered in Kibera, the slum-area of Nairobi. Plus, squeezing all the people into a small bus – very Matatu. The thing is, these settings are often associated with poverty and misery, but there is also infinite beauty in them, I think this video does a marvellous job of showing that.

#3 – The styling

Underlining the beauty of the setting is the fantastic styling of this video. The suits, the colors, the accessories, the hair, even down to the make-up – the styling in this video is just impeccable and I wish I had one of those bold-colored well-tailored suits to call it my own.

#4 – The dance moves

I love the beat of the song, and I love how all of Solange’s dance moves pick it up so effortlessly. I really especially dig the dance moves in front of the container towards the beginning of minute 3. The energy the dance exudes is incredible while still totally being in tune with the subdued nature of the whole song. It is just another layer of fantastic that has been put on top of the gorgeousness that is that video and I cannot help but shake my shoulders Solange-style now.
Also: the casualness with which she drops in and out of choreography. Love.

#5 – The category

What the hell is “the category?” Well, let me tell y’all, I love the video so much because it also reminds me of another video that I totally love and would have done an extra post on if it wouldn’t have fit so amazingly into this one: Janet Jackson’s ‘Got ‘til it’s gone.’ What the two videos share is not only being produced for awesome songs and two black female singers, but of course they share their celebration of black culture. In a very stylized way, mind you. I am fully aware of the fantasy-land quality of what is being depicted here, but nonetheless I appreciate the celebration of the positivity that is to be found within the black community. A sense of solidarity, a nod towards the history that influenced black culture and defined many of its styles, a sense of origin, of depicting places and areas that bear meaning for identification. Take it with a grain of salt though, I am not a black man, and I am unsure of how my appreciation of these videos resonate with black people and how easy I fall into the trap of buying romanticized versions of harsher realities here. Having said that, I still love both videos wholeheartedly, so here is Miss Janet:

“I’m not the one you should be making your enemy”

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Why music videos are great, or: Björk’s All is full of love

Björk is of course known as a pioneer when it comes to music videos. There is a huge variety to pick from, but of all her videos there is one that stands out and has probably single-handedly cemented her status as music video avant-garde, and that is of course All is full of love. Accompanying one of her Homogenic singles it was directed by none other than Chris Cunningham who thereby cemented his status as an avant-garde music video director.
My top 5 why this video rules after the clip.

#1 The Björk-Robots.
I mean, just look at them. This was when? 1999? And although theoretically I know that even earlier than that awesome CGI was possible, it is still stunning to see how well done the two Robots with their Björk faces are.

#2 Robot Love.
More fascinating than the Robots looking like Björk is of course the fact that these two robots make love. The brilliance of the concept of the video is that it takes the whole issue of love as a human emotion and applies it to machines, which (who) are usually not supposed to feel that way. And not only that, they are actually casually questioning all our human assumptions about what it takes to be in love and make love by presenting two robots that look alike, have no real distinguishable gender and are not supposed to have a procreative instinct. So, basically, the video slaps conservative assumptions about gender roles and why people should have sex in the face and says: haha, suckers, all is full of love. Deal with it. Other than that, it is also kinda funny to think of robots making love and then the whole thing looking like two humans doing it. Cause: why?

#3 The Hand.
Speaking of the sexy time in this video, just how cute is the hand of one robot going down to supposedly genital regions and adjusting things? Very.
Also: the porn-sequence preceding it. Would totally be x-rated if these were actual human beings.
And bodily fluids are exchanged, without these bodies actually producing fluids, of course.
Awww, the absurdity of it!

#4 The Outro.
I used to dislike the outro when I was younger, cause I wanted to see more robots, but I appreciate it now. Slowly moving away from “the action” all the while giving us Alienesque visuals that suggest that supposedly inorganic machines are actually very organically intertwined.

#5 Makes me love the song.
Music videos are really doing their job if they make you like the song they’re featuring. And granted, in itself, All is full of love is not that fascinating or mind blowing. It really is the video, that takes my appreciation of the song to a whole new level. Well done, video!
(admittedly, the video version is slightly different from the album version…)

Why music videos are great, or: Janet Jackson’s Whoops Now

Time for another instalment in my self-indulgent series of talking about what music videos I love love love for no other reason than me being able to because I say so. Ha! Haters to the left….
Whatevs…. y’all might be sayin’, just give us the damn thing and your Top 5 reasons why you love love love it. What you waiting for?

#1 Whoops now
Always a good reason to like a music video is because you like the song. In this particular case the song is really the main reason why this video makes it into the series. By Janet Jackson standards it’s certainly not the most ambitious nor necessarily the best music video she’s done, but the song is one of her best IMHO, so you gotta deal with that. I love the “Jenny from the Block”-ness of it, as in: hell yeah, I’m an international superstar in the early 90s, but folks, I know what it’s like to have to go to work at the office instead of spending quality time with my friends on the weekend. As if…. And then being on Jet-Skis and all that rich-kids-shit. But still, Janet convinces me more of keeping it real than Jenny, probably because Janet never really had it really real, so her version of real is always a sugar-coated nipple-free fun world. Or whatever.
Lil’ fun fact: The first single from the very same album “That’s the way love goes” features Jennifer Lopez as a dancer in the music video.
Another lil’ fun fact: The song itself isn’t credited on the album art, since it’s a hidden track. But being one of the best on the album they made it a single nevertheless. I’m glad bout that.

#2 This shirt
Ok, no.1 was wordy. So let’s shorten this point a little. Just look at this shirt. It’s a pink polo-shirt with turquoise trimming. Heehee, what? Obviously no stylist whatsoever was working on that project and thanks to that we have that atrocity of 90s fashion to remind us how very human even Ms. Jackson can be. The next point will prove it.

#3 The hair
Oh ma gaaaawd, that hair. If you ever wondered what decade that thing was filmed in and the shirt didn’t give it away, look no further. In German we call it Bumspalme, which can’t be translated nearly as eloquently but actually suggests that it’s a hairdo meant for sex. In a non-erotic, look-down-upon-it kinda way. But, as terrible as it is, how cute is it at the same time? With that shirt? Oh, those 90s. They sure knew how to fuck up style back then.

#4 Ms. Jackson
Simply a beautiful black woman, out with her friends, having fun in the sun. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little creeped out by how she looks like that nowadays, which indicates that nothing about her face has aged naturally. That’s kinda sad, we can discuss this another day. That’s not to say she hasn’t had any work done by the time of the video, but since we don’t even remember her face before any nose-job, cheek-job or xx-job we take it as basically au natural, ok? And as such, here she is: A beautiful black woman, distinctively less whitewashed than in other videos or photo-spreads. A sharp reminder of what pop-culture does to color without us even noticing most of the time.

#5 private footage/music video
Now, I don’t believe for a second that any shot in that video wasn’t explicitly set up for the music vid, but since it’s done well, it doesn’t feel like it, it looks really like Ms. Jackson would be taking her vacation with a bunch of friends. What I particularly like about the direction and editing is how the parts where she’s actually singing the lyrics blend in seamlessly, even though they clearly indicate that this is no ex-boyfriend-held-the-camera-for-private-fun shoot, but a professional music video. But the effect of the casualness is very well done, and I appreciate that.

Sorry, I can’t go.