Video Review: Kelly Clarkson “Love So Soft”

In the forest, several women, wearing coral dresses, sunglasses and  navy blue scarves around their necks stand in a line, moving one by one. The assistant closes the door as Kelly Clarkson sings from the driver’s side. A young man whispers into her ear and gets out the car. The assistant tosses him his luggage and they begin to dance.  After dancing, they get back into the car again and she speeds off.

Wearing a canary yellow dress, she walks on a path in a snow white field. Her backup singers perform in navy blue dresses off to the side of her.

On a magenta lit stage, Clarkson emerges from the center as the dancers perform their routine around her. The magenta triangle revolves behind her as she sings.

Wearing a white hat and black business suit, she sings behind a skyline. Multiple versions of her pop up at each lyric.

On top of a mountain cliff, she sings from inside the kitchen of a mansion.

Back on the snow white field, the end of Clarkson’s dress reshapes itself into a swarm of birds.

In a ballroom, next to some chandeliers, she and her backup singers’ heads are attached to a revolving ornamental piece hanging from the ceiling.

Inside the mansion, the furniture flies and glass breaks around her. Surrounded by ash and dust, she continues to sing.

She watches the canary yellow swarm of birds fly into the clouds in the field.

Rating: 3/5

The illusory image of Kelly Clarkson walking through a snow white path wearing the canary yellow dress conjures a puzzling dream. She seems to have been transported to the otherwordly place to unwind and discover a new way of life. A purpose must be found.

Clarkson, as an isolated, wealthy woman trapped in her unused kitchen on the top of the mountain rejects the perfectionism she has been forced to abide by. She breaks the windows with her voice to gain control. Both personas are electric personalities  absorbing the fictive places where they have landed. Nonetheless, they seem connected as part of continuous dream of a young woman working out her expectations of herself.

However, the revolving ornamental piece with everyone’s heads attached seems to be a deleted storyline from a gruesome television procedural. Meanwhile, on the magenta stage, an overdressed Clarkson, wearing a floral dress with sprawling roses, seems to be the default leader of the aliens she has encountered. Without any link to the previous images, it shatters the surreal world into oblivion.

Director: Dave Meyers Year: 2017

Video Review: ABC “(How To Be) A Millionaire”

On a tropical animated beach, champagne chills in a bucket near the rectangular pool next to the mansion. A hand picks up the pink sports car for $500 and puts it in a shopping cart. Martin asks Mark if they need anything else. Mark plucks a diamond ring off the shelf.

The shopping cart chugs along, its items inflating as Martin walks to the checkout. Mark and Martin scan the store one last time. Skyscrapers are sale. An aisle advertises the new models of cars. A bucket overflows with guitars. On a television, Martin and Mark fly among the instruments.

Mark leads Martin to register 121. There, the identical cashiers wait for the customers. The brunette cashier side-eyes them. Mark watches in awe as the pink sports car speeds on the conveyor belt. She rings up the sale. Money and change fly out at her. Mark lugs the heavy shopping cart to the pink sports car.

In the car, they shrink as the objects enlarge. Martin balances himself on the diamond ring and then falls. Martin hangs from the steering wheel before losing his grip. They circle the air, landing on a craps table. They run from dice, a single hand and a high heel.  While hiding between two televisions, they watch the words “tell me” show up on the wall in lights. Cards charge across the table. Once the commotion is over, they leave. Martin glances over his shoulder and sees guitars closing in on him. On the green felt table, Martin and Mark are surrounded by jewelry, bottles and other various objects.

Rating: 5/5

Mark and Martin want the latest and most expensive things. For them, everything has a price and can be bought on credit. At their elite store, historic sculptures had been put on clearance. The artist was deemed out of fashion and sales suffered. Diamond rings are thought of as trinkets. However, it’s the sports car that’s been out of stock. They had called the store beforehand to see if they had any. Martin had asked the cashier multiple times if she was sure. “We’re coming a long way and making a special trip. If the car isn’t there, we will be reporting you to your manager.”

In line, they point in the direction of the luxury cars, saying a 50% off sign was there. The cashier says it’s not on sale. Martin demands a manager. The cashiers next to her roll their eyes. After they leave, the cashiers discuss them, saying they were making it up and didn’t want to pay full price for it. The cashiers stay at their counters, looking at objects they couldn’t afford with their paltry paycheck.

Mark and Martin have become the objects they wish to acquire.  It leads them to a craps table, scurrying from high heels and pointed cards. The people above see them as valuable chips. Greed has changed them to precocious dolls for someone to collect.

Director: N/A Year: 1984

ABC – (How To Be A) Millionaire Video

Video Review: Fantasia “Truth Is”

At the deli, a cook prepares a sandwich on the grill. A young woman giggles at her boyfriend’s joke and leans into him. Another young woman smiles while sitting at the counter. Fantasia says she would like a blueberry muffin. A familiar voice calls out her name, interrupting her. She turns out and it’s her ex-boyfriend. They hug and he gives her a kiss on the cheek.

Fantasia sits in her apartment, thinking about the conversation with her ex-boyfriend.

He tells her she looks good and invites her for lunch. Over lunch, he says he’s been dating someone for several years now and shows her the picture of her in his wallet. He excuses himself to go the bathroom and she peeks through his wallet, taking out the picture of the two of them behind the photo of his current girlfriend. She holds it to her chin and smiles then places back into his wallet, sighing.

They talk some more and he gives her a kiss on the forehead, saying it was great to see her again. She slumps against the fence, feeling as though a ton of bricks hit her. At home, she takes a pint of ice cream out of the freezer and eats it. She pushes her sneakers away while sitting on the couch and then turns on the television to distract herself. However, across from her is the bed where they once made love.

Needing a breather, she puts on her jacket and walks down the stairs. As she opens the door to the parking lot, she finds her ex-boyfriend standing on the other side.

Rating: 5/5

The familiar voice rattled Fantasia as she waited in line at the deli. For several years, she dreamed of the moment of when she would run into her ex-boyfriend. She often wondered how he was doing or if he ever thought of her.

At first, her expectations aligned with reality. He greeted with a warm smile and complimented her. For about ten minutes, it was as though nothing had changed. They walked to a five-star restaurant, raising her hopes of a reconciliation. Maybe, she thought, on the way, he tell her they should get back together. Instead, he shows her a picture of his current girlfriend. Last month, he continues to say, they moved in together and two happy parents to a Golden Retriever. She choked back tears.

Nonetheless, something was off to her. It didn’t seem like himself. She searched his wallet and found a picture of them. She smiles to herself, thinking of when it was taken. Their relationship was still new at the point. Although she didn’t hear what she wanted, it meant a great deal he kept the photo. She had made an impression and wasn’t some casual ex-girlfriend.

After lunch, though, she returned home and began to cry.  She won’t ever get him back, despite her lingering feelings. It’s over. However, the memories she once forgotten resurface in her mind. Each one breaks her heart. Finally, she decides to leave and get some fresh air. Then, she sees him standing by the door and listens to him as he says “I miss you and can’t get this afternoon out of my mind.”

Director: N/A Year: 2004

Video Review: Zayn & Sia “Dusk Till Dawn”

At the kitchen table, Zayn opens a briefcase and looks to see what’s inside. Then, he sits at his windowsill, observing a young woman (Jeminma Kirke), wearing sunglasses and walking with a briefcase.

After seeing her pass by, he puts on his sunglasses and takes his suitcase. As he walks down the street. a disfigured man follows him in his car. An agent listens in his earpiece. Zayn turns the corner, believing the young woman should be close. He weaves the crowd of festivalgoers in Chinatown playing with sparklers, celebrating the New Year. With young women performing martial arts behind her, she stops to look at him and leaves. However, the police wait for him. He puts his hand up.

In a warehouse, the police officer informs him that people want to kill him. He adds that he knows exactly the type of person Zayn is. Zayn shakes his head and answers “you don’t know me.”

The young woman enters her motel room and a light shines as she opens her briefcase. At the warehouse, the police officer snaps his fingers and his co-worker opens Zayn’s briefcase. In it, are t-shirts and jeans. The police officer turns Zayn’s wrist to examine the tattoo. It’s checked and doesn’t match. The young woman glimpses at her tattoo, which is on file with the police and closes the briefcase. The police officer tells him he can go and then kicks the chair.

Zayn takes off in his Jaguar and steps on the gas pedal. He changes lanes to escape the disfigured man. After cutting him off, he moves back to the first lane and returns home. The disfigured man sees his car in the gated driveway.

At the motel, the young woman removes her wig while watching the news. Zayn dials 911 and strikes a match, lighting a wire on fire. The disfigured man and his muscle peer through the windows. The disfigured man kicks down the door and finds a hole.

On the news, the young woman watches the police arrive at Zayn’s home. The explosion goes off and the men cower while the police shoot inside. The young woman, with Zayn glancing over his shoulder on the passenger side, skip the red light and head out of the city.

Rating: 4/5

The plan was timed to the minute. It was decided that the young woman would carry the briefcase with the stolen gold. She had a clean record, kept her mouth shut and no one would suspect her. It was Zayn that had to be careful. With both the police and two other criminals after him, there was zero room for him to make mistakes.

The police had caught up to him. During his interrogation as the officer claimed to know that he who he was, he thought of the young woman at the motel. She wasn’t even on their radar. The officer’s arrogance disgusted him. But hearing him kick the chair out of frustration vindicated him. Their incompetence and determination to only believe he’s capable will damage their investigation. The officer’s stubbornness will be his downfall.

The young woman watches as the news reporter explains that a fugitive on the loose, leading to a standoff. She worries, hoping that the last step of their plan will be successful. She doesn’t breathe until he comes out from underground and into the car. They head for the expressway, looking for a better life in the country, where they will change their names.

Director: Marc Webb Year: 2017

Video Review: Childish Gambino “Me And Your Mama”

Filmed with Microsoft’s PHAROS VR, Childish Gambino performs for his fans in Joshua Tree, California. It’s a video in which a person can choose which angles they would like to view.

On the desktop, four arrows are in the corner. If a person is on their phone, they either move their phone or finger to change direction.

The top arrow gives a view of the ceiling. As Gambino performs below, a robotic spider crawls over the audience. Otherwise, it’s a baby blue sky full of sparkling stars.

The down arrow is straight to the floor and reaches only to the barricades. The concert can be heard but it’s as though someone is bending down on the floor, searching for their keys.

The right arrow (which requires the top arrow as well) provides a front row seat of Gambino performing.

The left arrow shows the concertgoers standing by the barricades, cheering.

Rating: 5/5

The PHAROS VR is an imperfect experiment. It plays around with angles and lets the person choose how they want to view the video. They can opt of out seeing the audience and focus on Gambino. Continuing to listen to the song, they can take a break from the stage and study the stars on the ceiling. However, the down arrow is useless. There is nothing to see.

It is a video that may require multiple viewings. Using a combination of the right and top arrow, a person can find themselves almost standing backstage, watching Gambino dance. Finding the correct angle, though, involves getting used to the format and on the person themselves. The video is whatever person wants it to be.

With the desktop, there is better control of the angles. On a cell phone, one quick swipe could screw up everything up.The one flaw missing is being unable to zoom into the band playing in the background. It is far noticeable on the a cellphone where the image is much smaller than on the desktop.

Director: Fred Warren Year: 2016

Video Review: Martin Garrix “Pizza”

At around 8 p.m., Martin Garrix takes a bite from his slice of pizza as he readies to board another plane. He observes the copper skies from the window and watches a funny movie on his computer.

While performing at a show, millions of fans film him with their phones. With his back to the audience, he scratches his arm. A fan holds up a sign that says his “music makes us happy.” During a meet and greet, he hugs a fan. A female fan holds up a cardboard sign asking for a date. At the concert, a young woman wearing glasses puts her hand over her heart. Confetti and fireworks go off after a performance.

During a show, he waves his arms, trying to get the crowd excited. Then, he gazes at the sunset. He opens a fan made scrapbook and looks at it. He studies the city below as he takes in a helicopter ride. At the keyboard, he waves one arm in the air, an orange half-moon behind him.

He dances in the airport, wearing his tickets as earrings. At another meet-and-greet, he takes a photo with a fan. Using a professional camera, he takes pictures of the plane. He dances with several female fans.

On stage, he jumps up and down, his hair wringing wet from sweat. Fireworks go off around the arena. Fans scream for him.  He gives a radio interview. On vacation, he hangs out on a boat with his friend and they jump into the ocean. Photographers take pictures at he holds up a trophy at an arcade. He belly flops onto his hotel bed and nearly knocks over his computer while running in the room. He pulls back some of his newly blonde hair and licks the camera.

In Mexico, he visits Cristo Rey and jet skis. He plays with an inflatable rubber duck as he floats in the pool. At a birthday party, he blows into a noisemaker as he sits next to his friend. He falls asleep on the plane and then once he wakes up, he works on new music. He holds up a plaque given to him by the record label for “In the Name of Love.” After posing with some fans, he grabs some pizza to eat during breaks.

In a bathrobe, he gestures while talking on the phone and hugs a plastic shark. He talks at a press conference and takes selfies in a van while on the way to the venue. In the dressing room, he eats pizza. In the hallway of the hotel, he does a cartwheel. With his mouth open, he chews on a slice of pizza. A female fan puts her hand around her friend’s shoulder who is in tears after meeting him.

On the plane, the flight attendant serves everyone pizza. He slaps his face to stay awake and tries on a pair of slippers. He makes the heart sign with his hands. During a flight, he holds up a slice of pizza and declares his love for it.

Rating: 3/5

Martin Garrix can’t stay still. He surges with energy, bouncing up and down in a relentless force of excitement no matter where he goes. In his hotel room, he almost destroys his equipment and falls off his inflatable rubber duck on his vacation. True to the song’s title, he lives on pizza, eating it every chance he gets and fortunately, due to his boundless activity, he doesn’t gain a pound.

He has a few moments of introspection, though. The ocean seems to calm him and he lets his world settle down to a quiet whisper. Viewing the Cristo Rey in Mexico gives him a sense of freedom as he walks in the field. Although it moves him, he hasn’t quite figured out why.  A hushed Garrix watching the sunset is a surprising inlet to his otherwise outgoing personality. In the mix of hyper electric beats, screaming crowds and an on-the-go lifestyle, he does need time to be by himself and think.

Director: N/A Year: 2017

Video Review: Night Ranger “Sister Christian”

On the last day of her senior year, a young woman sits at her desk, waiting for the bell to ring. At the graduation ceremony of her all-girl’s Catholic school, she waits for her name to be called. Alan plays the keyboard by the edge of the stage. She receives her diploma and curtesies.

After the ceremony, she walks down the stairs and pauses, her hand on the railing. Shaded in a rose tint, she walks down the stairs of the school. Two boys stop her and she shoves one away from her.

Night Ranger play in the band room.

Shaded in a lapis blue, the students gather their books and leave class. She gazes out the window of the second floor, watching some of her classmates get into a vintage car with some guys who play in a local band.

Shaded in lavender, she opens the door, amazed at the music Night Ranger is playing. She holds her books to her chest and gulps. She walks up the steps and sneaks through the curtain. Jeff rips the string off the amplifier, revealing the young woman standing behind the curtain. Embarrassed, she touches the curtain and races out of the room.

Shaded in orange, her eyes pop as she sees the band members eating hamburgers at a table. She and her friends rush into the bathroom. A friend of hers takes out her barrette and puts in her own hair. The young woman fluffs her hair and walks back to their table. However, they left. She stands there, her mouth a straight line.

Back on the steps, her best friends tell her to come with them. The nuns wave goodbye to their former students. She and her friends run out the door, taking off their robes and get inside Jack’s car.

Rating: 4.5/5

Since freshman year, she followed the local band, Night Ranger. She read about them in the newspaper but was unable to see their shows. Her parents told her no and she had to concentrate on her homework. While her friends partied with the band, she stayed at school, studying until 4 p.m. It was then one of her parents picked her up and brought her home.

She fell for Jack. In the morning, she would tape any appearances they made on the local cable shows and watch them after school. Her parents would yell at her to turn “that devil music off.” Rock music, though, became her passion. Her friends talked about the concerts they went to and she wanted to experience it live. But her parents kept close tabs on her.

On graduation day, her friends told her they had a surprise for her. After posing for pictures with parents, they discard their robes. She smiles once she sees the car. The band introduces themselves and invite them for lunch. She finally gets to talk to Jeff. For the first time, she finally feels like she’s a normal teenager.

Director: N/A Year: 1984

Video Review: Faithless “Insomnia”

In black-and-white, Maxi Jazz sits on the balcony of an office building looking up at the sky. He walks between the two skyscrapers, wearing a business suit, money hanging out of his pocket. Standing by the wall, he listens to music on his headphones.

He walks in a parking lot, wearing a top hat and passes by multiple garages. At night, he fidgets while he stands on the sidewalk, his hands folded by his stomach. He puts his hands over his face.

Wearing an orange jacket, he holds an umbrella and walks backwards. Children, with orange painted faces and plastic over their matching outfit,  He runs down the street and stands in a neighborhood, wearing a robe.

The children twirl while he holds an umbrella underneath them. A male child walks through the field and then lets out a maniacal laugh. Maxi, Sister Bliss and Rollo lie against a wall.

Wearing the top hat, he walks in between the skyscrapers.

Rating: 4.5/5

Maxi Jazz is living in a constant haze of jittery fingers and a sharp tongue. Without any sleep, he has a low tolerance for people. The ringing of the phone and his co-workers speaking to him give him a dull headache. The pain over his eyebrow lasts from the afternoon and well into the evening. Once he rests his head on the pillow, after yawning all day, he lies awake, looking at his walls.

For the few short minutes his eyes close, children, dressed in plastic coats and painted with orange faces, run through a field. Their faces blank, they follow orders and chide him. However, in the nightmare, he wants to protect them from the monster corrupting their innocence.

The nights without sleep have led him to dread the days, knowing they will be long. Returning home after work, he is limp with exhaustion. His home has become piled with newspapers, stacks of dishes and laundry. There is always something to do and half the time, he forgets mid-way through. He has to sleep. Maybe tonight, he hopes, he will close his eyes and dream.

Director: Lindy Heymann Year: 1995