The Week in VEVO: A Classic Movie Quote with Your VEVO
If you want to just see all the newest music videos from everyone who matters, no one’s stopping you from going to VEVO.com’s music video premieres page. But if you want a different gimmick each week to add a totally unnecessary new layer of meaning to these videos, well, you’ve probably come to the only place on the internet for that.
This week: SELECTIONS FROM THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE’S 100 YEARS… 100 MOVIE QUOTES LIST TO COMPLEMENT YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS
RELEVANT PEOPLE DIVISION
One Direction – Best Song Ever
“I’m the king of the world!” -Jack Dawson, Titanic
What else you can say when your video beats the VEVO record with 10.9 million views in one day? Like maybe you could pluralize it and make it “We’re the kings of the world!” because there are five Directioners and only one Leo, but that would be deviating from my script of pairing actual movie quotes with these videos, so I’m just going to pretend it was only Harry who yelled it and the rest just kind of nodded in agreement. I’m pretty sure the band in general works that way too.
Since it was a given that they’d break the record, 1D decided to take the self-congratulatory superstar route and make their first “concept” video with acting and stuff. It doesn’t matter whether the opening skit to this video is good though (it’s waaayyy too long), because when you’re superstars, you make your video however you like and people still watch. You name your song Best Song Ever and people still listen. Yet if I’m a Directioner right now, I’m taking heed of the lesson Jack Dawson taught us: you can say you’re king of the world now and mean it and it can still all go bad tomorrow. The fact is, Best Song Ever has a disappointingly generic hook (its only saving grace is the descending guitar riff after the drop). Too many more singles like this will mark a slow descent to irrelevancy like Jack’s descent to the bottom of the sea. And the guys certainly aren’t gonna be saved by their acting skill.
Demi Lovato – Made in the USA
“Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” -Charlotte Vale, Now, Voyager
Real talk: I don’t know what Now, Voyager is. Real talk again: in 70 years, no one’s going to know what Made in the USA is either. BAZINGA!!!! Not saying that Demi Lovato’s can’t go down in history like Bette Davis did, I’m just saying that this isn’t the song we’ll remember. I don’t think I’m fundamentally opposed to love songs with the words “America” or “USA” in the title (best Carrie Underwood song or worst Carrie Underwood video?), but I do think that if you’re going to call your song Made in the USA, then maybe you should commit to your theme a little more than just saying “Our love runs deep like a Chevy” as your first line and then literally saying nothing else that could even possibly be identified as uniquely American other than the weak ending to the chorus: “We’ll never break / because our love was made in the USA.” Like seriously Demi? That’s all the USA love you could come up with in a song called Made in the USA? AND IT’S NOT EVEN TRUE! HAVE YOU SEEN THE DIVORCE RATE IN THIS COUNTRY?!?! DEMI?!?!
But oh yeah, Demi put a soldier in Iraq in the video to score back some patriot points. And I think the girl in the video really likes him so I figure the quote from Now, Voyager is sappy enough that it probably means this Charlotte Vale person likes some guy too. But I mean, I haven’t actually seen the movie, come on now.
I guess I could check the Wikipedia article.
Never mind. That line’s about her wanting to keep it platonic with this dude.
Doesn’t matter, I’m keeping it.
Bonnie McKee – American Girl
“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” -Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard
You’ve never heard of Bonnie McKee, but you’ve heard the songs she’s written: five number one hits for Katy Perry, including California Gurls, Teenage Dream, and Last Friday Night. If you were wondering how a 29 year old with a generic voice gets to release her debut bubble gum pop single on a major label, that’s how. That’s like literally the only way. But the red hair probably doesn’t hurt either.
Since Bonnie’s such a talented songwriter (I seriously rank Teenage Dream in the top five pop songs of the century), American Girl deserves to be given a serious listen. I listened. She does everything right with this song; unfortunately she does nothing exceptionally. Despite a provocative video, she’d be as delusional as Gloria Swanson’s character in Sunset Boulevard to think she’s going to kickstart a successful career with this song. The voice that sounds like a carbon-copy of Ke$ha during the verses and Demi Lovato during the chorus was always going to be difficult to overcome, but I thought Bonnie might cover it with her songwriting. Instead the lyrics are staggeringly vapid even for pop standards: “I’ll just keep moving my body / I’m always ready to party / No I don’t listen to mommy / And I’ll never say that I’m sorry.” I’m hoping for better on the next Katy Perry album.
Selena Gomez – Slow Down
“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” -Benjamin Braddock, The Graduate
While not as hypnotically brilliant as Come and Get It, Selena’s new single is a fine follow-up that checks all the boxes for “dance floor anthem.” As the name suggests it, the song’s got a great beat drop that should only get better through various remixes. Its only real problem is Selena’s voice, which still sounds a little too young to be singing something this up-close-and-personal. (The jury’s out on whether that’s because that voice still carries Disney Channel connotations or because it’s actually just not mature enough.) Selena tries to compensate for this in a video full of her driving/strutting around darkened Paris streets in her sexiest grown up outfits. The problem is, no one’s buying it. When a twenty-year-old with a baby face slicks back her hair and wears an haute-couture tuxedo jacket with nothing underneath, it looks like she’s trying too hard with her game of dress-up.
But man, the way she’s looking at the camera in this video. The way she’s giving everything she has to try to sell it. It’s that look that Mrs. Robinson knew how to use so well on young Benjamin Braddock. It’s that point where the a seduction attempt is so obvious that you even get a little skeptical at first. But remember that men are weak creatures and it doesn’t actually take too long for any of us to throw caution to the wind.
OLD PEOPLE DIVISION
Backstreet Boys – In a World Like This
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” -Lough Gehrig, The Pride of the Yankees
I feel where the Backstreet Boys (the Backstreet Boys!!) are coming from on this song. It’s hard not to believe we live in a cruel world when you’ve taken a fall from the highest peaks of pop culture relevancy to the darkest depths of the best of the early 2000s playlists. But somewhere down there they saw a faint light emanating down from One Direction’s heads at the top of Mount Olympus and realized that the time might finally be right for their comeback. And now they have a slim opportunity to dominate not one but two eras of boy bands and I’m so proud they’re going for it.
Of course they’re failing though. And it’s just a fact that it had to happen this way. This song is about making it through the hardships of life with a monogamous significant other who’s probably in her late 30s. And nobody wants to listen to something uplifting and wholesome like that on the radio, especially if it doesn’t have a catchy hook. But of course In a World Like This had to happen because if it wasn’t for them all finding wives to get them through the dark days between boy band eras, they wouldn’t have made it to the present day, period, and there wouldn’t be any Backstreet Boys comeback, period, shitty or not. So in appreciation of what got them here they have to sing about what got them here even though no one actually wants to hear it. It’s the aging pop star paradox. They do their whole Lou Gehrig “luckiest man” thing in this song and it really is kind of uplifting to think about, but only to think about once and then never return to, because in the end this song isn’t banging in the whip.
Limp Bizkit – Ready To Go ft. Lil Wayne
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” -Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind
Speaking of boy bands, Limp Bizkit isn’t one. Fred Durst sent me a letter asking what was wrong with radio today. Here’s an excerpt: “WHERE DID ALL THE WHITE-TRASH MIDDLE-AMERICAN RAP ROCK GO, WILLIEDOLLARS?!? I miss my Bawitdaba! I miss my Crawling! And goddamit, I MISS MY NOOKIE!!!”
I responded that backlash had risen in the mainstream American media regarding the perceived violence in much of rap rock music, which in turn pushed many artists to develop an alternate, soon to be dominant, thread in mainstream pop music which embraced technologies like Autotune and less violent, more erotic themes. The American consumer’s taste soon changed accordingly, leading to commercial success for this new strand of pop music and a cruel, perhaps undeserved death for rock rap, which had been simply staggered.
“Well you know what? I don’t give a fuck. I’m putting out a new rock rap song and I’ll even put that Lil Wayne guy in it and it’s gonna fucking rock. Fuck you.”
And so he did. And it actually worked. Wayne’s rewriting the definition of “checked out” as we speak, but Fred brings as much energy as ever and looks like he still actually believes his brand of music can be successful music in 2013. If he keeps putting out songs as fun as this, maybe it can.
Nick Cannon – Me Sexy
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” -Captain, Cool Hand Luke
I don’t know what Nick Cannon is trying to tell me. When the captain tells Paul Newman “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” there actually isn’t any failure in their communication at all: the threatening undertones in that message get delivered JUST fine. But when I tell Nick Cannon “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” I mean it.
No. Idea. What. You’re trying. To say. With this video.
Please comment on this post in order to help me make more sense of this. Nick has been awful to me.
Kelly Rowland – Dirty Laundry
“You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” -Terry Malloy, On the Waterfront
So in contrast to Nick Cannon, Kelly Rowland is, ahem, fairly forthright in her new song: skip to 3:28 and listen from there.
Damn. Too real.
I don’t know if it means anything to her, but if she keeps making music like this, Kelly can be a contender again. This is a great song and so is Kisses Down Low (in a slightly different way).
Kanye West – BLKKK SKKKN HEAD
“You can’t handle the truth!” -Col. Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men
Just remember that he’s a genius and you’re not.