Monday marks the 10th anniversary of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” from the double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below. (Feel old yet?) Today also marks the debut of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” music video from the pop star’s I’M AN ADULT campaign. (Feel even older?) In honor of the continuing tradition of the power ballad, below we compare the super-stylized music videos for “Hey Ya!” and “Wrecking Ball” to determine whether Miley’s latest can stand the test of time as well as its predecessor.
“Hey Ya!” has proved that incessant repetition of words — alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, etc. — paired with a signature dance move — “shake it like a Polaroid picture” — sure are memorable, for better or for worse. The music video starts off with a short scene featuring OutKast’s Big Boi as the manager for Beatles-esque band The Love Below. Led by the charismatic Andre 3000, the members of The Love Below — Possum Jenkins, smooth operator of a bassist, guitarist heartthrob Johnny Vulture, sensitive keyboardist Benjamin Andre, shirtless, crown-wearing Dookie the drummer, and the equestrian chic Love Haters — all represent facets of the taller half of OutKast. Narcissistic, perhaps, but it’s a fun use of CGI composites nonetheless! The song then continues as a Beatles-on-Ed-Sullivan-type performance with adoring female fans and families dancing along at home. It’s fun, energetic, and mesmerizing.
Plus, what other music video features Ryan Phillippe as Ed Sullivan’s younger British counterpart introducing The Love Below on his variety show? Definitely not “Wrecking Ball.”
Speaking of “Wrecking Ball,” whereas the OutKast video is upbeat, frenetic, and green, Miley Cyrus’ latest music video is angsty, calculatedly promiscuous, and grayish-white in tone. Like its predecessor, “Wrecking Ball” is also inevitably catchy as the power ballad chorus can repeat over and over (and over) in one’s head. But the music video is more of a giant question mark rather than giant exclamation point like The Love Below’s anthem. The video opens and ends with an extreme close-up of an emotional Cyrus cry-singing the song. Okay, this makes sense. Next, the video cuts to a scantily clad, sledge hammer-wielding Cyrus slow-walking in a concrete room. Sure, why not? This is then followed by the appearance of an actual wrecking ball. Okay, a bit literal, but we understand why this is here — carry on. Then Cyrus starts to ride the wrecking ball naked and play tongue hockey with the sledge hammer. Huh? Actually, the more appropriate response is “Ouch. That has to be uncomfortable…just think of the chafing.”
Cyrus herself sums up her take on sex appeal as part of Elle UK’s June 2013 cover story interview:
“A star is someone who doesn’t have to take her clothes off to be sexy because you naturally have star power. Sex does sell, but you have to find a way that’s not just showing your tits. I don’t want to be a glorified model. They just walk on stage and it’s all about their clothes — or lack of clothes.”
Will “Wrecking Ball” be around ten years from now? Or will we still know that ice cold is the only way to be?
Which video and song makes you want to move more? Sound off in the comments below!