Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Music Video Review: "Video Phone (Extended Mix)" by Beyoncé featuring Lady Gaga

So while you were screaming out the chorus to “Bad Romance” while it wasn’t even playing in the club (wait, did I just tell on myself), Beyoncé and Lady Gaga premiered their new collaboration: “Video Phone (Externded Mix)” (see below if YouTube takes it down). The video clocks in at 5:02 (extended indeed!), and is quite the experience. I couldn’t wait to see how they were going to contain Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in the same frame!

The beginning of this video is epic! Slow motion Crazy-in-Love-esque runway walk flanked by men in suits! Only thing is, I didn’t know if it was Beyoncé or Lady Gaga with that Rihanna hair (she would have been my first guess if I weren’t familiar with the song). But I feel like I’m about to have an epileptic fit from the slow motion juxtaposed with the black-and-white-to-color strobe effect (must have been a bitch to edit!). Seizures aside, the pointy hair, the dark makeup, and the outfit (I want that coat!) are a hot look that we’ve never seen from Beyoncé before, which says something when an artist averages well over 5 looks per video.

I absolutely love the guys with the camera heads! They’re like sexy absurdist comedy (actually, that’s more or less how I pictured Tralfamadorians in my head… you get points if you didn’t have to google). It’s like, “Yeah, he’s got a camera for a head, but he could get it.”

I’m loving the phone-parts bikini and the vogue ball realness she gives us (toss that braid, girl!) with the visual equivalent of an echo. And when they zoom in, you can see the brilliant makeup job, especially the lip color. From the first line, there’s something about this song is extra ghetto, and I love that they have her chewing gum (and not even bothering to lip synch). Takes me back to patting the cornrows in “Check Up on It”.

. o O (Hold up! Is Beyoncé naked?!)

Again, the strobe effect is a cool idea, especially with the tight shot on Beyoncé’s eyes, but it’s a bit much on the viewer.

Military: yes! Gawdy clutch: yes! Horrendous hot pink nails: WORK! Fabulously complements Beyoncé’s atrocious British accent in that line.

I live for her swoon after “leave my number in your video phone” @1:50 and will try to work that into conversation this week.

. o O (Oh, it’s just a flesh-colored bra! Thank god!)

Baby blue ¾-length cocktail gloves?! STOP! And pink! I can’t!! But what’s up with the guns?! Maybe a pun on “shooting” someone?

The brilliant thing about this video is that you know Lady Gaga is coming; you just don’t know when. So when I saw a body in a bright pink blazer tied to a chair with a blue bag over its head @1:40, I almost spilled protein shake on my laptop. Then I realized that was a man. Lady Gaga finally does appear in all white. Her hair looks great (read: believable as real hair), but can someone tell her to hold still! She brings it on the pose @2:38. But she gets very Elaine from Seinfeld slash Shakira in “Shewolf” @2:45, and I wonder if she fell down just after @3:23. Beyoncé unequivocally familiar with the danger of swinging around a bunch of fake hair!

Again, I didn’t know who was on the screen @2:52. Why does Beyoncé look white?! But the Wonder Woman-looking costume is a hot look with the be-banged wig.

I was really disappointed that Lady Gaga only had one look in this video. They really only did two angles of her in the same outfit. Even worse, it’s an outfit that compliments Beyoncé’s shape much better, and most of Gaga’s face time is right next to Beyoncé in the same outfit! On the other hand, Beyoncé has new looks throughout the video. Unlike most videos, we don’t see her last look and set until there’s only 30 seconds left in the video (and you know I’m loving the orange and the motorcycle)!

All of my friends know that I haven’t really been impressed by Lady Gaga’s dancing so far. Not that it’s bad, but I rank her dancing a step above Christina Aguilera’s. However, I have to say that she looked great dancing next to Beyoncé. With the exception of a couple of hits on the chair, I’d dare to say she kept up. Even Gaga’s body rolls, which are definitely a hallmark of Beyoncé’s dance style, looked good.

I love the end with the retrospective of all the different looks in the background of the slow motion wind-on-the-bike shot, but I wish there was a more epic ending shot to balance out the opening shot. Maybe Gaga and Beyoncé walking together from the back in slow motion (sans the suited-up body guards), toting those ridiculous guns.

In the end, I think we walk away with quite a visual experience. The looks are great, and it doesn’t get slow or boring. It’s not nearly as epic as “Single Ladies” or “Paparazzi”, and I don’t think we’ll be talking about it 3 months from now. But what stands out most to me is how plain Lady Gaga appears. We get nothing daring or out there, and her one outfit doesn’t really look that great on her. It's as if she was like, “Sorry, I only have an hour! Let’s just get done what we can!” (Okay, maybe more like 4 hours… no crew could get hair/makeup/wardrobe and film a 30 second dance sequence in an hour).

I have to talk about the track itself while I still have the mike *tap tap*. We’re used to Beyoncé’s big notes and 24-note runs, but both trademark elements are almost completely absent in this song from her. Her vocals are subdued throughout, and she doesn’t once belt. I can appreciate the contrast of Lady Gaga’s voice, but I can’t understand why she would throw in runs on this track. It just doesn’t seem to match up or compliment the rest of the song, and seems like she’s trying a bit hard.

Click here to check out my trip to Vegas.

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