Side Note 1: There’s a disclaimer with the video that we also have vocals from Fergie, Charlie Wilson, John Legend, Tony Williams, Alicia Keys, La Roux, The Dream, Ryan Leslie, Alvin Fields and Ken Lewis. Seriously? Did they record this song at a Grammy after-party? Anyway…
Side Note 2: You might not want to watch this if you have any type of seizure tendencies. There’s some irritating strobe-light business going on…
We start out looking at a letter board with lots of names and numbers. We have no idea what this thing really is. It could be an apartment directory or some weird stock exchange. Who knows. Cut to a little girl opening a door, and we immediately feel sorry for her, because some wicked parent or guardian has forced her to wear a scarf around her neck that is bigger than she is. But the little girl is a trooper, so she and her neckwear and backpack head out into the snowy streets of some city.
The little cherub wanders around for a while, probably because she can’t see where she’s going and is just walking until she slams into something, then she’ll adjust her plan. Then we start seeing images of what might be an apartment complex, or perhaps a mental institution for people traumatized by things around their neck. Back to the little girl, still trudging along and trying to breathe, It’s dark now, so this poor thing has been marching for a while. I hope she has some snacks in that backpack.
And here we go with the really busy part of the video. Words are flashing and zooming all over the screen in a variety of colors and fonts. It’s interesting for about three seconds, and then you’re over it. Apparently somebody doesn’t understand this, and it goes on forever. Rihanna’s voice shows up during this bit, and she has quite a mouthful to say, so I’m already thinking this is one of those “featuring” songs where the guests do all the work while the supposed main singer plays Scrabble.
Two hours later, the words finally quit flashing, and we see Kanye make his debut, first on top of a police car (no idea), followed by him holding his head, and then some shots where he might have been involved in some domestic violence. It seems that somebody was doing something they shouldn’t have, and people got slapped, and then somebody else went to jail. Not really sure.
Back to the squad car, where Kanye is busting some moves on the roof, or at least doing something with his hands that might possibly be coordinated with the beat of the song. Even though there are several police cars in this odd alley, we don’t see any officers, so who knows what happened to them. (Did Dunkin Donuts just open?)
Oh my, Rihanna just made her onscreen debut, and the poor thing is wearing what looks like a horse’s bridle on her headlights, and that’s ALL she’s wearing. She’s trying to be sexy and seductive, but she has to restrain her movements or we’re going to see nipple, and we know how that turned out for Janet Jackson. Back to Kanye thrusting his arms around some more while he straddles the lightbar on top of the police car. He’s really insistent about something, but I’m just waiting for him to slip and fall, because that’s how I roll.
More Rihanna, with her nipple-limited dance moves (she basically waves one hand over her head while swaying back and forth approximately 2 millimeters). Then she throws caution to the wind and gives us a side view, making it clear that there’s really no reason for her to be wearing anything at all at this point. At least the security-screening people at the airports will appreciate her getup, because it’s obvious that she’s not hiding anything anywhere.
Now Kanye is in some room where it’s necessary for different-colored lights to flash all over his body while he performs a dance that I can only describe as “Cave Man Looks For Bush To Pee Behind”. Then we get a close-up of his face, so we can see his designer shades and jingling bling, because you’re really not a pop star unless you have such. He also insists on looking at the ground instead of at us, and this is very annoying.
More shots of the little girl. She’s still out on the streets, her head balanced on the killer scarf, and she’s looking around in all directions. (Is she trying to find the rest of Rihanna’s outfit?) Zip back to the alley with the police cars, so Kanye can do some more mystifying moves while law-enforcement personnel remain AWOL.
Next we have a close-up on Rihanna‘s face, and she really is pretty, so I really don’t get the need for her to choose couture that lets us check the status of her latest Brazilian wax. Well, shoot, we go back to the full figure shot, and you can tell that Rihanna is a bit over the harness thing, because she does the same few simple moves, and then turns her spotlights toward Tokyo.
Oh look, now it’s time for Kid Cudi in his red leather jacket. It looks like somebody forgot to explain some fundamental rules to him, because he faces away from the camera the whole time. (Has he done something lately where he’s concerned that people might recognize his face?) Whatever his reason for the doing that, it doesn’t stop him from waving his arms all over the place and jiggling like he really needs to find a bathroom, stat.
And we’re back to Kanye on the police car. It’s obvious to me that we’ve milked this setting for all it’s worth, but nobody asked me to direct the video. To make it even more annoying, Kanye is just standing there, trying to look all street while trumpets blare on the soundtrack. (Does he think he’s in “Rocky XXII: Sylvester Stallone Done Spent All His Money And Needs To Fight Somebody Else”?)
Kanye poses for a very long time. We even get a close-up of his shoes. None of this is necessary in any way and my attention is waning. I start hoping that Taylor Swift will walk around the corner and set Kanye off, because at least that would be interesting.
Aw hell, now we cut to more of the blazing and jittery words flashing across the screen. I was over it the first time, and now we’ve got an encore. During this mess, the director of the video (Hype Williams, like that’s a real name) keeps splashing his name like he’s really proud of this part. He shouldn’t be. This segment goes on forever as well, with all the people supposedly singing on the song getting a shout out, along with the food service people, somebody’s dog, and a list of good criminal lawyers.
And we end with a series of colors jittering on the screen. That’s one way to finish things up. But I’m more concerned about the little girl. Did she ever get that damn scarf off her neck?
Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.