Art does not always make sense.
You can confirm this by reading Finnegans Wake. Or watching 2001: ASpace Odyssey. Or trying to understand why Tilda Swinton took a bunch of unscheduled naps inside a glass box at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2013 as visitors peered at her snoozing body and wondered, “What does it mean?”
I think it means you are entitled to a refund.
But in a world that already includes Vanilla Sky, Naked Lunch, Carrot Top and the lyrics to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” the canon of Art That Makes No Sense welcomed a new entry this week. It happened when a space alien played by Iggy Azalea crash landed in a pool belonging to Britney Spears and the intergalactic BFFs made one of the worst music videos in history, a pastiche of ’80s clichés and dance moves that throbbed with all the energy of a three-toed sloth on Valium.
“Pretty Girls,” a collaboration with alleged supernova potential, was expected to be a pop cultural highlight of 2015. It wasn’t even a highlight of Wednesday. It would be far more rewarding and far less painful to spend the 4 minutes and 30 seconds beating yourself with a didgeridoo.
A concussion would be preferable to the sight and sound of a heavily Auto-Tuned Brit flinging the women’s movement back 50 years by finger-wagging and gyrating in a leopard-print halter top while warbling about how pretty girls “pour the drinks” and “jump the line.” You’d also be spared many unanswerable questions, such as why is Spears’ first instinct upon coming cleavage-to-laser-eyes with an E.T. not to flee but to give the intruder clothes, perfume and nail polish?
If Britney ever stars in a remake of Jaws, she’ll end up bleaching the shark’s teeth.
And couldn’t Iggy use her alien powers to doll herself up, especially when she ends up looking like a sleep-deprived goat in a denim vest? She can blow up a TV with her eyes. She can short-circuit an ATM so cash rains down from the heavens. But she still needs a . . . crimping iron?
Is this the message to young girls?
No, nothing in this glossy mess of a bubble-gum pop abomination makes a lick of sense. Not the car wash scene. Not the parts where Britney is tooling around in a Jeep that must be on loan from Google’s Self-Driving Car fleet since driving it requires neither her arms nor legs. Not the product placement for Samsung Galaxy that’s so ham-fisted, so jarring, sales for all smartphones are sure to plummet in 2015.
Even the dialogue at the two-minute mark, during which the music mercifully stops, is marred by a lack of execution. Iggy attempts to fuse the “Take me to your leader” dull inflection of a sci-fi visitor with Valley Girl patter and like tot-al-ly ends up sounding like a demonic parrot with a speech impediment.
If Iggy was the voice of Siri, we’d be performing exorcisms on our iPhones.
“Pretty Girls” is an homage to the 1988 film Earth Girls Are Easy. Why? Exactly. Why? Why let Spears and Azalea attempt irony disguised as retro kitsch? How can they be expected to pull off wink-wink camp when they are lacking in self-awareness? Isn’t lampooning airhead stereotypes with performers who probably have P.S.I. warning labels stuck to the insides of their cheeks unwise, a bit like trying to spoof hard work by enlisting farmers?
The duo will perform the song on Sunday during the Billboard Music Awards. Assuming you’re not under the couch with cotton balls jammed in your ears, listen carefully to whenever they sing, “We’re just so pretty!” Does it not sound like, “We’re just so creepy!”?
If this was the hotly anticipated music video of the year, it’s also the Tofurky of all music videos: gross to think about, of questionable construction and sure to leave a bad aftertaste. The only way this thing could have made less sense is if Lionel Richie suddenly appeared in the climactic dance club sequence and, as those beams of alien light shone down from high above, everyone broke into a refrain of gibberish.
Tom bo li de se de moi ya. Yeah, jambo jambo!