Battle of the Pop Girls: Round 2 – Music Video

Britney

Continuing the Battle of the Pop Girls, here is round 2 — best new music video.

Katy Perry – Roar

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I don’t like this video, I’m just going to come right out and say it. For me, it feels too Katy Perry-esque that it’s almost a parody of itself. Above all, it’s what I’d expect a Katy Perry video to be — campy and cheesy as hell, but it gets old. And above all, it’s safe. It’s not so outrageous as “California Gurls” when she had whipped cream shoot out of her breasts and it’s not as visually striking as “E.T.,” nor as fun to watch as “Last Friday Night.” Like the song, “Roar’s” video would fit in just well with the Teenage Dream era, which is disappointing because we’re not seeing Katy stretch herself as an artist as she showed she can do on the Prism album. Maybe a video concept that wasn’t so on-the-nose with the jungle theme would have been more interesting. So just like the song, the video is the lowest common denominator for Perry.

Also, this is dumb.

Lady GaGa – Applause

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The video was what changed my opinion of the song. Starting in the Fame Monster era, I started to kind of loathe GaGa’s videos. They were getting longer and longer, more complicated and more pretentious. A lot of GaGa fans hate on “The Edge of Glory” video, but for me, it was a welcome relief after a string of obnoxiously long and symbolism-laden videos since “Bad Romance.” “Marry the Night” didn’t make me much more of a fan either. What I wanted was something quick and sharp, had all the amazing visuals that I know GaGa can deliver, but also just got to the point. It’s a pop music video that will only be seen on Youtube, it’s not a magnum opus. And gosh dang it, that’s exactly what she gave me and I loved it. The editing is quick-paced to match the song and it’s not overly fraught with heavy symbolism. It’s weird, but not too weird that it turns you completely off. Plus, she looks pretty great and even somewhat normal in the vid.

I will agree that there is a lot going on in the video that it does become overwhelming. Many different costume changes and characters that it feels like three videos slammed into one, but that’s part of the reason why I like it. It’s frenetic and chaotic, which is how I feel the song is. My biggest critique of the video is that it samples from other GaGa videos, and not even her best ones. For example:

The Purple Haze From the Edge of Glory Video

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Or more shamelessly from The Climb video

Or more shamelessly from The Climb video

Animal Hybrids from You and I

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Mattress Writhing from Alejandro

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Blonde hair and itsy bitsy bikini from Born This Way

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The painted clown/dark skeleton makeup from Born This Way

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The group dancing in black stuff surrounded by black stuff in Born this Way and Alejandro

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And just the overall lack of color from Born This Way and Alejandro

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I’m not saying Gaga can’t copy herself. It’s just that there are points where the video feels too familiar and that bugs me.

Britney Spears: Work Bitch

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I won’t say Britney is back — 1998-2004 Britney is dead and she ain’t never coming back. I’ve made my peace with it and you should too. However, this video feels miles ahead of anything we got in the Femme Fatale era — and you can see traces of retro Britney in there. Those dance pants and yellow crop top give me nostalgic reminisces of the Baby One More Time era. And look — DANCING!

Actual legit dancing!

Again, not what it used to be — Brit still looks like she’s counting in her head, but WAY BETTER than that flimsy arm dancing she did in “Til the World Ends” and “Hold It Against Me.” Plus, all of the sets are a lot of fun — the desert, the pyramid, the club, the shark pool — it keeps you interested. It does feel like a perfume, car, iPod and Vegas commercial all put in one — which it is. Most music videos nowadays are. In fact, this whole Britney Jean era does seem just like one big commercial for her Las Vegas residency, but I don’t mind it too much. The main thing is that the video makes the song fun and intense, which wasn’t something I got just by listening to it. ¬†At the very least, Britney’s looking a little more comfortable in front of the camera than she has in years.

Miley Cyrus: We Can’t Stop

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I have watched this video several times and I . . . still don’t get it. I’m sure somebody out there went into all the symbolic nature of it — what the teddy bears mean, why there’s a deer in front of a mirror, why Miley makes out with a doll — but I don’t care about that stuff. It can be an alienating video for some, but I don’t find anything extremely disturbing or overly sexual. I like the vintage 80/90’s feel it has to it and I’m always strangely fascinated by somewhat dark party videos — “Just Dance” comes to mind. I think the video matches the song in tone — a little depressing and a little dark, where it feels like it’s great fun while you’re there, but afterwards you feel empty inside. And I really am digging Miley’s look in the vid. She’s giving me old-school Madonna.

I don’t know what it means, but I always give bonus points for bread. I love bread.

CONCLUSION:

I have to give this round to Gaga’s Applause. It’s a step in the right direction for the artist. She’s trimmed all the fat from her video and given me exactly what I wanted, just a straight forward, visually interesting music video. It made me like the song more and it had very little to no product placement. It has a lot going on and can be overwhelming, but I’d rather have too much in my video than not enough, ahem — Katy. Brit lacked the energy and Miley felt like she was trying a little too hard to be provocative. Gaga hits that sweet spot where it’s just enough of the artist and who she is.

1. Lady Gaga – Applause

2. Britney Spears – Work Bitch

3. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop

4. Katy Perry – Roar

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