Tuesday, November 17, 2009

G versus B

G versus B is not a reference to gerardvsbear – but rather Gaga v. Beyonce.

The biggest bit of recent video battling (sorry Breezy and Rihanna) has been BK from Texas tryna stop the onslaught of Lady Gaga. So far, it isn’t working.

Gaga released her Francis Lawrence directed clip for ‘Bad Romance’ last week and it has been getting all kinds of attention. Troy Patterson on Slate does a good job of dissecting what it all might mean for Gaga. It seems unlikely that any critic (other than I) will lavish that kind of attention on Beyonce’s Hype-directed “Video Phone” – even though it has Gaga as a co-star.

It seems clear to me that B’s video has been rushed to air, in the hopes of not letting Gaga get ‘too far ahead’ in the super-stardom arms race. This approach is silly, since THIS is Gaga’s moment – her videos and music are everywhere. Why step into your opponents best possible punch? But if Beyonce was desperately trying to compete with the top-dog why would …

There be un-finished shots in ‘Video Phone’ of the male dancers wearing the chroma-key blue masks? The blue bags are a technique for replacing the head - like when we see the male dancers sporting camera-craniums with lenses pointed at Beyonce (a cool look). So why, only complete the effect part of the time? Did they run out of money or time? Both?

Why is Beyonce in such a hurry to get this video to market? There was no way this is going to truly compete with the fat budget of ‘Bad Romance’ and the ‘Video Phone’ video suffers by comparison.

I know this new B clip supports the ‘deluxe edition’ of the Sasha Fierce album that came out last year – but it doesn’t really add anything new to the conversation. AND, ‘Video Phone’ tries to get B caught up to Gaga by using a video that has Gaga in it!

Beyonce looks gorgeous in this clip and she should ditch all her other wigs for that ‘Bettie Page’ model. Hype mines the colorful and vignetted pin-up world he worked on Kanye’s ‘Goldigger’ – but now with toy guns! Gaga is definitely a secondary star in ‘Video Phone’ but I still can’t help but think Beyonce is trying just a bit too hard here.

I have written about this before – how the Knowles management team rushed a Beyonce record out that ended up trampling on the promotion for the movie ‘Dreamgirls.’ The impression I get is that Jennifer Hudson got the Oscar push from Paramount after the studio was peeved by Beyonce jamming the airwaves with product in the months before the studio had her in their big holiday release. That post from 2007 is here.

It makes sense that ‘Bad Romance’ is a better clip – the budget was much, much larger than what Beyonce had for ‘Video Phone.’ But what if Beyonce wasn’t dedicated to making a video clip for every last song, remix and outro on all of her special edition re-released CDs? I might suggest that B would get more mileage focusing her video budget on 3 or 4 singles instead of spreading the money over every song in her catalog.

Why not save the even more precious resource that is our attention for Beyonce until they have a fresh, new record with an un-rushed and well thought-out clip? Even if the visual FX for ‘Video Phone’ were completed, this would still be a ‘Beyonce dances against a non descript backdrop’ kind of clip that we have seen before. The video for ‘Diva’ even started with B outside the main set on the industrial street getting her strut on before she heads inside to perform – exactly like ‘Video Phone.’

I understand that all artists must strike while the iron is hot. But Beyonce’s iron does not seem particularly hot right now AND she is faced by a whole burning truckload of irons in Lady G. So why not relax a bit Beyonce?

Watch Beyonce - 'Video Phone' - ugh, the YouTube got pulled so here is the Peres link. Shudder.

Watch Lady Gaga - 'Bad Romance'

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