So much crazy beef, you guys! The recent sales war between oft-whiny pop star Kanye West and frowny-faced 50 Cent has been the most discussed musical event of the year. First Fiddy said that he would retire if Kanye won. Then he said that he would not retire if Kanye won. Then Kenny Chesney kind of got involved and most reasonable people stopped caring. Still, the feud produced some ridiculous videos.
“Good Life (ft. T-Pain)”
Dir. So Me
I like everything about this video. Last year at the MTV Europe Awards, Kanye threw a much-criticized tantrum when he lost to Justice, saying, “If I don’t win, the awards show loses credibility.” So it makes perfect sense that “Good Life” was brought to you by the same dudes who did the video for Justice’s hit D.A.N.C.E. If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em.
It’s a simple concept: Kanye and robot-hit-master T-Pain dance and rap while fun cartoons that spell out the song’s lyrics pop up all over the place. It’s a one-trick pony for sure, but those dancing pastel colors are a perfect accompaniment to Kanye’s squeaky, heart-warming beat. “Good Life” makes me feel better about shameless materialism than any song since “Juicy.” When Kanye raps, “I always had a passion for flashin’ / Before I had it I closed my eyes and imagined,” it’s the inclusive, face-pressed-to-the-glass side of consumerism that takes precedence; after all, everyone gets to go window shopping. Also, Ye’s extremely attractive lady-friend is apparently called Angel “Lola Luv” Fershgenet.
The sleaziest of the bunch. Fiddy and the Timbertwins, much like the cast of “American Pie,” are on a mission to score, but unlike Stifler & Co., they have many, many gadgets at their disposal.
The video is interspersed with shots that are supposed to evoke night-vision goggles but actually evoke amateur pornography, which is probably what they were actually supposed to evoke anyway.
Fiddy drives to a brothel and gets blindfolded, while Justin stakes out a hotel and then grinds on a door. All the while, Timbaland paws clumsily at a glorified touchscreen. I’m gonna go shower now.
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
Dir. Michael Blieden
Kanye made a real video for this song, but he’s been making eyes at indie kids and hipsters for a while, and so he hired two of them—comedian Zach Galifianakis and musician Will Oldham—to pick up a camera and goof off on a farm (tractors, rapping along, silly costumes, etc.). My mom called about a week ago to say that she had confused this middle school joke of a video for the real one, and that she thought someone as successful Kanye West would have put more money into it. I guess the irony worked.
Dir. Shaun Silva
From the great expanses of middle America comes a guy who probably has more real fans than Kanye and Fiddy put together. Turns out that Chesney released an album of his own on Sept. 11: "Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates." In the album's meditative, mildly-scolding video for "Don't Blink," a white-collar working man caught up in the hustle and bustle of modernity is confronted with an evening news interview with a 102-year-old.
This sight gets him to thinkin' and it also gets Mr. Chesney to croonin'. You see life moves so fast! Before you know, home videos, smiles from a simpler age, and the full weight of memory itself come crashing through the TV set, plastering the guy's glass walls with images from a life gone rushing by. So don't blink, and don't you dare spend too much time trapped in those tubular interwebs. 'Cause you're gonna die soon.