Music Videos with a tickling for Art

I rarely ever watch music videos. I don’t know why, I just don’t. I’d be curious if you know the music video of every band you listen to. Recently I’ve been bombarded by a number of videos featuring pop music’s grandest representatives: Jay-Z, Rihanna, Lady Gaga & Beyonce.

Lady Gaga & Beyonce’s new hit Telephone is nothing but a girlfriend grieving her jealous over possessive boyfriend who checks up on her one too many times when she goes out. That’s it. Nothing more. The music video however tells a whole other story, something about two Bonnie & Clyde via Pulp Fiction figures taking a ride on their Kill Bill Pussy Wagon poisoning an anonymous black man and the entire diner they lunched in. In the midst of it there are advertisements for Wonder Bread and Virgin Lines. The first four minutes or so shows Gaga in her expected overindulgent fashion flair walking into an all women’s prison, hot and half naked and she’s constantly interrupted by a phone call, which leads to her bail and killing rampage. It has absolutely nothing to do with the song. That boggles me. Why make it more than what it is?? Nonetheless it’s a pretty rad video. And I will admit the robotic flamboyant super-performing does not fit Beyonce. It’s expected of someone not as hot and graceful as Gaga but not Beyonce. She’s too pretty, she’s too elegant, she’s too beautiful and otherworldly. The Wonderwoman outfit, the eccentric bizarre and uncanny behavior was rather unbecoming. But still, a pretty rad video.

Better yet, here’s the unofficial official Telephone music video. Hysterical.

I’m simply astounded, blown away even, by Rihanna’s music video for Rude Boy. Again, it’s a song about a girl teasing a boy to get his thang on/up. The video however makes it more than what it is. At least there’s some relevance to the fact that this is a video following a song. There she is flaunting that ass, beatin’ them drums, grinding some oversized speakers. But the references to art so seamlessly and pristinely put together, not to mention her direct manifestation of them. There’s Basquiat, Warhol, and most prevalent, Keith Haring. I learned of Grace Jones through Nicole’s post on the same video and can’t really say who beats whom in the ultimate body as art as performance, but I’m impressed.

Lastly, there’s the one and only Jay-Z. My crush for him seems to only increase and this is the cherry on top. I can only salivate all over him at this point. This video is all black and white, highly produced, conceptual and abstract. There’s Hirst’s diamond skull blanketed by white paint, which I take as a rebellious act, the cords acting as visual signifiers of sound (there’s a word for it I don’t know what it is), the jesters, the European androgynous model boys, and that odd ominous three striped symbol. I love this video beyond anything.

9 Comments

Filed under Art, Music

9 responses to “Music Videos with a tickling for Art

  1. This is excellent! Thank you!

    For more observations and discussion of “Telephone”: http://onlywordstoplaywith.blogspot.com/2010/03/lady-gagas-telephone-observations-and.html

    We would love for you to stop by and add your thoughts to our discussion!

  2. You completely missed “Telephone”‘s reading of a post-3rd wave Feminism in which a visible sexual politics (via the aesthetics of butch-dyke lesbianism) overcomes naturalized perspectives of gender. To say that Beyonce is “too pretty, she’s too elegant, she’s too beautiful and otherworldly. The Wonderwoman outfit, the eccentric bizarre and uncanny behavior was rather unbecoming” only reasserts a gender binary constructed through a patriarchal lens.

  3. Joann

    Ms Sweet Tooth are you implying this video contributes to a post 3rd wave feminism movement? really? because it normalizes butch-dyke behavior? because it empowers these half naked societal delinquents rejecting, perhaps, a “patriarchy?” I doubt it.

  4. Joann

    ms only words to play with, your post is most verbose. can’t believe it! excellent!

  5. Ali

    I think the Telephone video is almost anti-feminist. Visually its awesome but its like they took the most superficial aspects of this genre and added more tits and ass for the guys. Not to mention the insane stereotyping of butch and femme lesbians, (which I would hardly say “overcomes” naturalized perspectives of gender, it is simply another such perspective – believe it or not all -if any- lesbians are like this!) and that the prison sequence is totally non-cohesive with the rest of the video. and the song sucks obviously, but that’s coming from someone with no taste for pop music.

  6. Femily Dykinson

    Its really simplified and boring to say that telephone is “anti-feminist” because the women in the video are scantily costumed and have nice tits. There is such a wealth material to digest and layers of meaning to unravel…including but not limited to queer and feminist readings.

    you might want to look to Jack Halberstam for some food for thought: http://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/you-cannot-gaga-gaga-by-jack-halberstam/

  7. Ali

    Femily, I was not saying it was anti-feminist BECAUSE of its nudity. I am very aware that exposed sexuality can be liberating if used in a certain way. However I just don’t feel that this video is doing that. I am not an academic at all and admittedly don’t know all that much about the details of the feminist and post-feminist movement, but intuitively, as a woman, and as an artist, I feel that this video is superficial and plays on stereotypes, but not in a particularly thoughtful way – although I will give it credit that it has stirred a lot of debate which can be an element of good art. I’ll also admit that in general I tend to dislike films that glorify or aestheticise violence – this can be done for a meaningful purpose but here I see it as all surface, and the majority of people (who don’t think or care about layers of meaning) will be saying “Hey have you seen that video where Lady Gaga gets naked and she and Beyonce kill a bunch of people?”. I just don’t think its cool that this our popular culture.

  8. I loved all the “unofficial” videos. You know, I have to give a hang to Lady Gaga who’s making me interested in watching pop culture music videos again. I’ve missed them.

  9. outfit and diet coke cans rolled in her hair. Apparently thats her new thing as she apperaed in her Telephone music video with her hair rolled in

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