Skip to main content


When Bad Music Videos Happen to Great Pop Songs

When you hear a pop song you absolutely love, it's easy to assume (or hope) that the accompanying music video will only enhance the awesomeness of it with the right blend of imagery, overall production elements (sets, camerawork, casting), and perhaps a good narrative to follow. But when the end result does nothing to compliment said tune, it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of pop culture junkies who eagerly anticipate seeing their favorite singles manifest into the visual medium (If you're one to argue that music videos are already a dying art form, then let's save that discussion for another time).

Here are five great songs from major pop artists whose music videos were major letdowns, most likely because expectations had been so high at the time. I'm sure there are plenty more to nitpick, but this will have to do for now...

"Gimme More" by Britney Spears (2007)

Granted, this came out shortly after Brit shaved her head and went all Kimberly Shaw on an SUV with an umbrella...so how could we possibly expect the year's biggest trainwreck to get it together and shoot a video for the first single off Blackout, the album that promised - for the umpteenth time - a comeback of biblical proportions? A stripper pole? A horrible wig? Unflattering ass shots? No, no. no. Where's the hot choreography? Where are the hotter extras? Where's the friggin' concept? A Flipcam-shot montage of Ms. Spears sitting at a bar with a bunch of body doubles watching a raven-haired version of herself carelessly twirl around on a platform in a poorly fitted biker outfit does not a music video make:



"The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga (2011)

The most recent disappointment in memory comes from Mother Monster herself, and the fact that it's GAGA, Queen of Creativity, Mistress of the Millennial Music Video, makes it even more heartbreaking to see such a lack of imagination on display. Sure, "Born This Way" was nice, and "Judas" was alright, but for "The Edge of Glory," her best single since "Bad Romance," a ginormous ball was dropped. Rumor has it, her record label got a hold of music-vid veteran Joseph Kahn to direct the piece but quickly lost him when he "refused" to "co-direct" with the Haus of Gaga, the creative think tank that has become infamous for controlling all content pertaining to Her Monstrous Majesty. The result is a sad production that seems to have been thrown together at the 11th hour, poorly showcases the late and great Clarence Clemons (is that a homeless man sitting on the stoop playing for change?), and doesn't do this epic anthem any justice. There's nothing glorious about being on the edge of...a fire escape. Stick with the Google Chrome TV commercial instead.



"The One" by Backstreet Boys (2000)

Hey guys, let's take old concert footage, throw in some exclusive behind-the-scenes shots, give it to an editor who has 30 minutes to spare, and slap on a thank you message to our fans at the top! Awesome, right? WRONG. In other words, the Biggest Cop Out in Teen Pop:



"Give It 2 Me" by Madonna feat. Pharrell (2008)

Filming a photo shoot for W magazine, adding a few Warhol-esque camera filters, and strutting around with a feather boa isn't the stuff great music videos are made of, Madge. Shame on you - and your director.



"Runaway" by Maroon 5 (2011)

Since when did Adam Levine & Co. start providing soundtracks to surfing documentaries? In the music video for the last single off their latest album, not one member of the band appears in this 3-minute clip. What we get instead is some gorgeous shots of a guy surfing off the coast of some indeterminate country. Oh, and there are a few cutaways to a reasonably attractive woman who spins around in a red shawl. And waves. Lots of waves. I would've loved to have seen the call sheet for this minimalist shoot. What, the group couldn't at least be helicoptered in to simulate a jam session on a cliff overlooking a sunset? Lame:



If only I could go back in time to tweak the treatments made by the creative forces behind these pathetic excuses for music videos...

*UPDATE: Coincidentally, and fittingly, today is MTV's 30th anniversary.

Sigh,

H.P.M.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog


13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many.

Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months (and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism)...

1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff, The Golden Palace), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death.

2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-themed restauran…

Dream Casting the New "Death on the Nile"

Earlier this year, when the trailer for the most recent Murder on the Orient Express remake was dropped, I was hoping that someone at 20th Century Fox would have the foresight to concoct an Agatha Christie Cinematic Universe. After all, this is the world we now live in -- where every property coveted by a major studio must have the potential to be milked for all it's worth. Plus, as a former child raised by an Agatha Christie fan, I am somewhat familiar with this world, and experiencing new renditions of these titles as an adult is exciting.

And now that Kenneth Branagh's version of the Hercule Poirot mystery has been released (and raking in $150 million-and-counting worldwide), it seems like my prayers are being answered. The studio is going ahead with a "sequel" in the form of a remake of Death on the Nile, another death-filled destination about the Belgian detective taking a river cruise in Egypt and coming across another corpse and another group of suspects.

The…

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture.

The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses.

But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash?

I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years...

"EVERY HEARTBEAT" / AMY GRANT (1991)

Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young woman who re…