The Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

And Sometimes, Music
January 27, 2011, 7:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I like this song, although I predict that I will hear it far too frequently on the radio to continue liking it as much
  2. I LOVE how creative and dynamic the dancing is in this video
  3. In fact, I really like how the video turns out in general – I was initially under the impression it was going to be another one of these “gaze listlessly at the camera and sulk around fog and trees and falling sakura blossoms” videos (every female singer-songwriter apparently must have one), but was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out around the 1:30 minute mark.

Because, see, here is some emotional ass dancing. And maybe I’m just not watching the right music videos (which is entirely possible since I don’t watch TV and have little patience for VEVO), but I feel like you rarely see that sort of thing. If any intricate dancing that transcends the general booty-shaking level takes place, it is generally just an elaboration on aforementioned booty-shaking.  In this video, however, we see choreography that has both force, emotion, and grace, which is something that is extremely difficult to pull off well. I admire the hell out of that.

What I also admire, though, is how the video depicts women- all-too often when one sees women in a music video (even one showcasing a female artist), they are either a. unidentified/anonymous and decapitated, or b. sharing more than a reasonable amount of screen time with their male co-stars, and often acting solely as their accessories.

Here, we see all of the dancers’ faces (not just that of our magical Mary Sue like in other videos, as if she’s the rare exception to the rule that we’re not supposed to give a shit about female characters because, SIGH, she’s singing the song so let her have her moment), and I noticed immediately that the trope of keeping a woman just an assemblage of body parts was actually used for the man in this video (symbolically, I will guess, in an effort to dehumanize him). He remains essentially anonymous (save for his dementor-like soul-sucking) until the end of the video, and even then we don’t get a real good look at him (he’s too busy getting his ass kicked via interpretive dance  by a gang of scorned ex-lovers).

I love the way the dance-fight is choreographed, too, by the way. On the rare occasion that “ladies strike back,” it’s in that fakey, slow-motion-high-kicks-in-velour-tracksuits, “oh-isn’t-my-playful-disobedience-such-a-tease” etc etc way. Which I guess is sort of good since they’re standing up for themselves and all, but is ultimately infantalizing because the idea that they’re actually not letting themselves get shit all over by men is some big fancy act of rebellion that needs to be highlighted in a comically ham-fisted way!

THE CONFRONTATION IN THIS VIDEO IS NOTHING LIKE THAT. I almost cringed as it began, thinking, “Oh, shit, here you’re gonna go and ruin this with some violence against women just like the Scissor Sisters did because THAT’S SO TRENDY,” but I was pleasantly surprised.

All of this fits in nicely with the song, which is angry and indignant while still being conflicted and sad. I have great respect for this song, because (on top of her voice being excellent) that’s what break-ups are like sometimes, and too many break-up songs (the ones that make it on the radio, anyway) feature either “oh I can’t live without you” mopefests or (more rarely) baseless “whatevs yo dick is small anyway” anger, which just replicate the double-bind where women aren’t complex, thinking creatures, but rather helpless waifs or heartless bitches.

Sidenote: I love shit like IMDB, and I think a database like that needs to be created for commercials and music videos, because these are both credit-less works in which actors/actresses frequently appear and you’re all like “Oh man who was that lady in the “Take on Me” video, didn’t she date Billy Idol?”


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