Ariana Grande possesses an illegal amount of talent.
If you’ve seen her on SNL, Jimmy Fallon or at awards shows, you know she can imitate everybody from Whitney Houston to Celine Dion to Britney Spears.
It. Is. Uncanny.
Her music videos tend to be creative, too. Good on her.
GOD IS A WOMAN may be peak Ariana so far.
This video is a spectacle, with trippy visuals and interesting effects. Every time you watch it, you see something new.
Compare that with MINE by Bazzi, an equally trippy music video in an entirely different style.
Note: there are some bad words in Bazzi’s video. Don’t play this at work with your speakers cranked up to 11, though that’s a pretty safe thing to say about just about every pop song today.
I bet Ariana’s video cost a lot more than Bazzi’s, and it’s definitely more ambitious and slicker. You get the sense a giant Hollywood production crew worked for a month on Ariana’s, where this dude you knew in college who’s good with AfterEffects went to town on Bazzi’s video.
However, Bazzi wins this round. With the GOD IS A WOMAN video, I’m fully aware of how slick and perfect everything is, which makes me want to find flaws.
MINE is gritty and raw, which lets you enjoy the details without wondering if they cost more than the Gross Domestic Product of Paraguay.
VERDICT: People rightfully like the message and spectacle of GOD IS A WOMAN, which is genuinely good. But the underdog, Bazzi, does her one better. Give us more like this, Bazzi.
Listen: I grew up watching music videos, back when we had this thing called MTV, which played music videos 25 hours a day, eight days a week.
So there isn’t much that shocks or impresses me, seeing how 99 percent of music videos fall into these categories:
(1) Solo divas belting away while backup dancers go crazy
(2) Boy bands lip-syncing while dancing like crazy
(3) Metal bands in black-and-white videos, trying to look tough, no smiling allowed
(4) Concert videos with screaming, adoring fans
(5) Artistic mini-movies that only prove singers should sing and actors should act
This video is something truly different. Donald Glover can act, sing and dance–and while he’s making a number of political statements in this video, none of them are on-the-nose. You have to rewatch this video three or four times to catch them all, including imagery from GET OUT.
Here, take a look and a listen:
Glover debuted this song live when he hosted SNL, and did a nice job there, too.
VERDICT: I’m shocked and impressed. A tricky thing, trying to send a powerful message through a song and music video without bonking your audience over the head with that message. Pretty easy to be far too heavy or way too subtle. Glover threads the needle with skill and care. I want to see more of his work now, and it’s easy to see why this video has gone beyond viral.