A Pop Music Feature
It’s been too long! ARIANA GRANDE returns to music and scores with a dance floor-ready new track “yes, and?” that will have the kids taking the position that 3 years away from the charts is long enough!
The music video once upon a time, was considered on the verge of “high art”. The medium popularized by the introduction of MTV Music Television in 1981 opened the floodgates of how the public was exposed to pop/rock/r&b and provided the industry a forum by which artists had an entirely new medium by which to promote their releases. Some were profoundly against the onset popularization of the music video. Taking the lyrics of The Buggles’ hit 1980 track “Video Killed the Radio Star” to heart. While others ran with it and revolutionized an era.
Many of us adhered to the mantra: “I want my MTV.” Eventually, the network that once championed the new musical envisioning found its undoing by moving into the inevitably profitable exploitation of its audience with the glamorization of “reality TV” and effectively turning Andy Warhol’s prophecy into a mantra for an entire generation guaranteeing everyone their 15 minutes of fame. Let’s not misunderstand, reality programming on the lines of the innovation of social commentary like “The Real World” was groundbreaking, but it came at a cost, and a loss. Welcome to the 90s.
The music video’s importance has depleted as much into the new millennium. Much of it has been relegated to the limited screen space dominated by TikTok and other social networking. And the eventual subjugation by influencers bent on maximizing their following, de-evolved the music video almost entirely. Lately, the tide feels like it's beginning to turn — as if the music video is about to enter into its own “new age”, a renaissance if you would. Artists have begun to reengage with the medium, finding it again a constructive method by which to express themselves and connect with their audience.
For instance, in 2023 Kylie Minogue has given fans some of the best visual stimulation with the video interpretations of her hits “Padam Padam” and “Tension” proving that the appetite is still out there. Beautifully photographed, expertly choreographed, and always fashion-forward, the Pop Goddess of Love scored a winning hit single across the international music charts and set a career milestone. Taylor Swift and Beyoncé have also eagerly filled the vacuum left by the lack of a platform like MTV and heightened their live performances. The music video is undoubtedly making a comeback!
I Want My…
The artists most taking the reigns of the music video reemergence are fan faves… Poised to inherit the mantle of the pop goddess of the 21st Century, Ariana Grande has always presented herself with an exquisite talent that values her vocal acumen but is also exceptionally connected to the culture of the times and exhibits an innate connection to what’s popular. Though she’s been noticeably on a break from her music, Grande revealed her die-hard dedication to her art by celebrating the wrap-up of her latest album project on social media.
It’s been three years since Ariana Grande delivered new music, and she’s decided that it’s been long enough! The first single is the bombastic “yes, and?” A hardcore club thumper for the dance devotee that is defiant and deadly earnest in its messaging, encouraging self-love. It’s a hit notwithstanding a bit of the controversy that seems to follow the performer wherever she goes. While maintaining much of its authenticity, the track borrows from its pop/dance predecessors closely mirroring musical links to Madonna’s 1990 hit, “Vogue”, with a music video that pays homage to another 80s diva.
Further building on a theme of parallels, Grande’s is a contemporary extrapolation of Paula Abdul’s 1989 hit “Cold Hearted” see here:
It opens with an exclusive invitation to view Grande’s latest experience, but the critics and influencers (to Abduls’s record execs) gathered are hardly expecting anything out of the ordinary, reflecting the jadedness and cynicism of the time. When the elevator opens on the ultra-minimalistic warehouse space, it’s a reflection of the “Cold Hearted” dance space that is about to be transformed.
Taking their nondescript seats, besides the two-tier set up in the center of the large room with floor-to-ceiling windows are a series of clay avatars of Ariana Grande covering her eyes with her hands and her dancers all striking various poses. As the track's intro beats begin to fill the room, the statues crumble and are replaced by their flesh-and-blood counterparts. Ariana steps centerstage in a much more streamlined and modern version of Paula Abdul’s dance outfit to lead her cast in a choreographed routine Ms. Abdul would be proud of!
The video is expertly directed by Christian Breslauer; it is evident that the references that inspired it were carefully researched and made to resonate from a very contemporary perspective. With an artist like Ariana Grande at the center of it all, it is especially important that it all read authentic and “on brand” for an artist who is fast moving into a pole position as one of her generation’s most relevant acts. There is also no denying how incredibly gorgeous and groovy the entire thing is, that Grande has chosen her spin to pay homage to artists, and an era that defined popular culture.
It also is very exciting! Both Grande and Jennifer Lopez have chosen the music video as a true art form to sell their music and perpetuate an interest in their upcoming new albums. Undoubtedly with visuals this strong it only will help support the industry in a market that has largely moved into a digital realm by way of access. Fortunately, the music video is one of those things that works well as a nugget; where once there was an emphasis on reading cinematically, its digestibility via mobile device or laptop is just as appealingly pleasing.
Here is your #FanzEyeView of Ariana Grande’s video for “yes, and?” here:
yes, and? | by ARIANA GRANDE | The new single is available in most Digital Download stores including iTunes. Purchase from iTunes here.