[Visual Analysis] Beyonce ft Lady Gaga: Video Phone

After watching the video for Video Phone, my appreciation for the directorial talents of Hype Williams remained solidified. He makes a mean ass video and this was no exception.  Hype is known for is his ingenious application and use of color within his compositions. Brilliant neons, muted purples and metalics, amplified earth tones, his creations perfectly fit the tone and energy of the musical pieces they accompany. As a young grafitti artist he wanted to be the Basquiat or  Keith Haring of the streets, an ambition as indicative of his artistic prowess as it is of his extraordinary aesthetic ideology. His canvas is film and he masters it with the grace of Boticelli and the eye of a visionary. I became somewhat of a fan when Beyonce dropped the video for Single Ladies. Like Kanye, I must agree that it was one of the best of the decade. It was stunning in it’s simplicity, a perfect blend of stylish direction and flawless performance that will certainly be heralded as a classic 20 years from now. After it, however, Beyonce’s video game slipped a tad which was probably due to the pressure of trying to top herself.  Hype single handedly up’d her cool points in my book about 50%.  It seemed she let go of what her fans have come to expect and just had fun with this video, and it worked.  Hype shoots women as surreally beautiful creatures,  an augmentation of the qualities already existent within his female subjects. In this respect, since he’s dealing with Beyonce’s self proclaimed hardcore alter ego Sasha Fierce, we are presented with Beyonce as a collage of femme fatale archetypes complete with pop art shotguns, high heels and side-swept bangs. Influences range from Betty Page and Priss Asagiri, to Sin City’s Gail, Barbarella and g’d up chulas in the style of Mr. Cartoon. The men play the background as Beyonce’s faceless playthings, tied to chairs, stroked with instruments of death and impailed on spinning wheels. The song itself is coquettishly airheaded, lyrically vacant but you know it wasn’t intended to be a grammy nominee. It’s a slice of friday night/saturday morning sexiness better suited for 2am strobe light and smoke machine induced frenzies. Flash editing, festive and opulent colors and tight close-ups of cat eyes and moist lips provide the ambiance for Beyonce’s phone freak fantasies, leaving the viewer with a 5 minute exhortation of  pulp magzine-esque visuals.  The result is something like a bondage/peep show you would see at Cirque Du Soleil. I can dig it


You Got Played Sucka

The wools not getting pulled over these eyes, technical difficulties my ass. A  tactical mission was underway when Beyonce psyched up the masses for her ‘historic’ collaboration with Lady Gaga only to send the internet into a meltdown akin to the opening of the 7th seal when there was no video to be seen. I myself was at work while the world waited in front of computers and television screens, can’t front like I didn’t check for it when I got home though. I’ve got to hand it Beyonce, she is the lean green money making machine we call pop stardom in full effect.  This was an age old marketing strategy which was sneaky, simple, but effective. Build anticipation to generate a buzz, dissapoint to build a buzz, and double the buzz and anticipation in the process. Even those who really don’t give two expletives about Lady GaGa or Beyonce will now be compelled by forces beyond their control to watch this video when it does air. I can’t lie like I didn’t want to see it too, but it’s mostly due to the fact I’m a huge fan of Hype’s work and wanted to see what he came up with, and I did like the song enough to put it on my December 2008 mixtape.  Back to my main point, Beyonce plays her fans like Miles played the trumpet….I find her domination of pop music fascinating in regards to her business sense and ability to build her brand. I’m still waiting for the independents to overthrow the empire that is the major music labels but until then behold the power……

April 27, 2009, 1:43 am
Filed under: Dopeness | Tags: , , ,

There are several dope directors out there, but Hype has a special place in my heart. 70% of the reason Belly is one of my favorite movies is beacause of the imagery. His style, vision, and creativity is bananas, and he has graced up with some of the most visually stunning videos of all time. 

Like most  80’s babies, I love me some music videos. There are some  that you can watch a couple times before the novelty wears off, then there are some that stand the test of time. Hype’s videos are always a treat for my eyes. I have a secret wish to direct myself one day and he is one of the main people who inspired my desire to be a visual alchemist. I salute you Hype, and without further ado……………..

10. 1 of the sexiest vids of all time. Easily coulda been a good flick

9. Like one fonky ass acid trip

8. str8 coolness i don’t know what else to say, RIP LEFT EYE

7. This joint is just fun to watch,  kaleidoscopic

6. Classically hood,  innovatively sexy 

5. A conceptual masterpiece[

4. A new school twist on a classic film. Flawless

3. Big ups American Pop, another homage to a dope film

2. Strange lookin women never looked so good. Genius

1. Originally the number one spot on this countdown was going to “Sock It To Me” by Missy. That video is such random genius,they don’t make em like that no more. The only full length version of that song I couldn’t download though. Still this video was going to recieve an honorable mention after I went back and forth for about an hour deciding if it would be this or the Missy vid for the top spot. This is  breathtaking farewell from an equally breathtaking woman. Aaliyah was one of the best who ever did it. RIP                  

Update: found it