We need to talk about Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down.” Because that video is something. The video doubles down on the most objectionable part of the song, which is the way Taylor conflates dealing with her own internet haters with the problem of widespread homophobia in the United States. It’s bright and garish and self-congratulatory. It goes with the old classist caricature of homophobes as toothless hicks — exactly the same way people caricature country music fans. (Fun fact: Taylor Swift used to make country music.) There is so much obnoxious shit in that video, and yet it succeeds as pure pop spectacle. The Katy Perry fast-food summit meeting is a genuine moment, the sort of thing we so rarely get in pop music. Also, I like the part where she sets her trailer on fire and doesn’t notice. So “You Need To Calm Down” is, at the very least, effective. I came close to putting it on this list. But there are too many good videos this week. This week’s list is below.
Dancehall blew up in the US in the early ’00s, at least in part, because Sean Paul’s “Gimme The Light” video took dancehall aesthetics and made them look so fucking cool. It’s not hard to imagine the “Anybody” video doing the same thing for Afrobeats.
They never should’ve stopped filming rap videos at barbecues. Rap videos set at barbecues are the best.
Four things that tend to work well in music videos: Friendship, motion, dogs, beaches. I’d probably put “dog beaches” on this list, but I can’t remember any videos with dog-beach scenes before this one.
There’s an expression that wrestling fans like to use: He could get a great match out of a broomstick. As in: A truly great pro wrestler — a Ric Flair, say — could have a match against a broomstick, and he could make that match compelling and dramatic and exciting. As far as I know, nobody’s ever tried it. But in this video, Robyn turns a microphone stand into a great dance partner, and that’s really the same thing.
We could all use a friend this supportive.