yMusic: Starships, Where Have You Been, and Want U Back

Despite last week's yMusic post being one day late (and this one being late too), a couple of you guys seemed to like it. Cookies for @Flofollowers and @SAlovesFlo for Re-tweeting, especially @Flofollowers! The small spike of traffic was a nice treat, considering that the spammers getting into my stats are getting unsubtle about it.

(50 views in one minute?! Really? Can the spammers be that dumb? All they're doing is guaranteeing that I'll be blacklisting them and salting their fields with sea salt the moment I see them approaching.)

I won't be revising that post, but I got a few of reviews for music videos, one released last week and two released this week:

Nicki Minaj's "Starships"

You guys are probably tired of all of this Nicki Minaj, but with her releasing new content like rapid-fire, it's hard not to cover her.

"Beez In the Trap" may have been too grounded, but "Starships" takes it in the other direction--with mixed results.

First of all, the video for "Starships" got close to the song's tone. When I saw a video of the performance on American Idol, I knew the video had to be beach-themed in some sort of way.

And as expected, the shot after the long intro showing a starship zooming around a Pacific Island is Nicki walking out of the water, wearing a bikini.

Of course, hot stuff. It's everywhere in pop video these days.

Besides, the mysterious spaceship zooming around during the beginning, there isn't much of a story. The closest to one is the natives of the island hailing Nicki as a queen, and then taking her to a giant party during the bridge and chorus.

Otherwise, the viewers are treated to a bundle of scenes.
See her at the beginning with the glitter body paint? We get a few fantastic expressions out of scenes involved that (especially when Nicki says the line "bad b****es like me are hard to come by), but otherwise nothing special. Also, during the first post-chorus sequence, the scenes are chopped strangely. See those buff men with red top hats dancing? Well, because of all the alternating, we don't see much of what dance they're exactly doing, as all the transitions are lost. Also, the shot of one of them sticking their tongue induces some thinking. How much of the dance is anchored in real life?

But yet again, it's a hip-pop video.

Throughout the video, we're treated with some speical effects laid over the footage, mostly in the second verse and the final chorus. These moments can be seen as drug-induced scenes. However, the scene during the second chorus with Nicki in a grass field? That's as iconic the video is going to get. She's a bit limited with the whole "hands up" movements the lyrics allow.

It's a little hard imagining this having any truly iconic qualities, like last album's "Super Bass". It got close to my expectations, but just missed them.

Rihanna's "Where Have You Been"

Rihanna finally releases the music video for my favorite song off the Talk that Talk album. I hope they released it for pop radio, but this was a treat.

First of all, dancing. Rihanna explicitly said in one of the "behind the scenes" videos on YouTube that the music video wouldn't feel right without dancing. She was right. "Where Have You Been" is prime nightclub material. It lacks in lyrical content, but makes up in musical content.

There are no nightclubs in the music video itself. Instead, Rihanna takes a similar direction than Nicki, but with less of a coherent theme.

Her scenes are also a mixed-bag. The tribal dance sequence has some basic dance moves, but features a cool shaking effect. The scene during the second verse, on the other hand, is better. The movements of all the dancers in the matches the music well, channeling the fierce energy of it. There's also one cool shot during the last "looking for you, babe", with Rihanna talking over her shoulders.

The next few scenes, on the other hand, are not as good. For example, the dancing is put aside during the second chorus for some shots of Rihanna in a nest and her topless. One or the other would be fine if they were secondary to another dance sequence, but together, they aren't much. The third and last dance sequence also falls a bit lukewarm. Only one angle is used, and Rihanna's hip movements aren't that impressive.

The climax gets saved with some special effects, creating a Hindi vibe with Rihanna sprouting multiple arms in one shot.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's the best music video Rihanna has, but I would say it's more enjoyable than "Starships".

Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back"

This last one I stumbled upon on VEVO's iPhone app, and I found it interesting enough to view more than once.

As a whole, both the song and the music video are a unit that shouldn't work, yet it rocks the eardrums and barrow itself into the brain.

Yep, this is radio-friendly pop, clearly representing the sound. But while it has the same overtones, the undertones are distinct to create a different timbre. Blame my scientist teacher for that metaphor.

But Lloyd has a flexible voice, rocking a wide range of intonations that stays far from flat. For example, observe how she says these two lines in the video:

"Remember all the things that you and I did first?
And now you're doing them with her?"

The lyrics might be a little cheesy, but the "do I sound like a helicopter?" bit in the end was a cherry on top.

YOUR TURN: What are your thoughts on these songs and music videos? Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments.