Sometimes when I am doing something around the house I put on VH1 or Trance or some music video show. Like the TV does, I go from sweeping the floor to getting sucked into watching a few music videos, and before I know it I am mindlessly plonked on the couch vegetating to ke$ha singing about really dumb things. The other day, during one of these mental hibernations, I came across a new music video of Mike WiLL featuring Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa & Juicy J, called ‘23’ (which I think is a reference to how many seconds it took them to come up with the chorus). Now before I go any further I’ll make it clear this isn’t an ‘outrage article’ or “What is the world coming to, when a girl who looks 12 is being overtly sexualised.”
Actually it’s got nothing to do with Miley herself, rather it’s just how this song was not a song, rather it is just a blatant and unabashed jingle for selling Nike shoes. Now product placement has been going on for a long time, so it’s nothing new. Also there are some music videos that have in come into question from authors such as Naomi Wolf, like Katie Perry’s “Part of me”. This featured a woman after a break up joining the marines (which is what young women do after a break up yeah?), and Naomi Wolf accused Katie Perry of making a subtle, or not so subtle, ‘Army recruitment video’. Of course the artist and producers ardently denied it, “Come on we’re artists, not shills for the military industrial complex!!” (That was my imaginary response) But this song is exceptional, as it just struck me as an absolutely shameless advertisement, barley trying to disguise itself as a music video. The chorus is
“J’s on my feet,
J’s on my feet,
J’s on my feet,
So get like me”
As if there was some confusion as to where you put shoes when wore by a human. The ‘J’s’ being mentioned over and over, that rhythmically gets hardwired into the shopper’s brain, being the Nike Air Jordan. These are a brand of high cut sneakers that are priced anywhere between $100 to $700 USD. Of course there are close ups of the ‘J’s’ themselves, looking all so alluring and pulsing with that ‘must have’ quality. Everyone in the video appears to be wearing them and they’re all either cool or sexy, or sexy cool. “Man, I think I just so need to get those ‘J’s’ and the singer even agrees with me when he says ‘Get like me’ ”.
I guess what makes this worthy of being mentioned, is that it’s totally stripped of pretence. It appears some Nike advertising executives have just thought it up on some coke fuelled bender…
“Fuck it, let’s own it, let’s do this upfront, let’s not even bother with subtle or hidden, let’s just go all out and get the coolest, most popular star, pay her loads of cash and make her sing this jingle we have come up with. Every time the song is heard, we get to advertise our product without evening having to pay for the advertising. Everyone wins, except of course the dumb asses that go out and buy these pieces of crap made in China!”
All followed by a hearty “ha ha ha” maniacal type laughter and some good old high fives and back slapping. Is this the future of music videos? Has the industry become that sold out and co-opted that this horrible Nike jingle, that I am still trying to exorcize from my brain, can actually pass as a ‘song’ rather than the advertisement it really is? Shame on those artists that took part, shame, shame, shame.
Also another surprising element of the video is Miley Cyrus smoking a cigarette at the start of the video. Smoking that isn’t followed up with a cancerous coughing fit of 3 minutes with some chunk of black lung being spat out. No, its straight out of the 1940s, Marlene Dietrich “I am a cool person smoking, because smoking is cool” all elegant and sophisticated, because we all know that’s how smoking makes you feel. I thought Holy-Moly, the tobacco executives either paid her buckets of money to do that, or they’re creaming their pants with glee, that smoking dirty cancer sticks is getting a not so subtle thumbs up endorsement, by the most popular teen idol of 2014, what a coup!!. My guess is it’s the former not latter. While I was watching her breathe that smoke out, oh so seductively, even I felt for moment, that maybe smoking is cool and maybe I should start smoking, before I flushed my head down the toilet and shouted to myself “Get a grip man!”. Yet how would that impact on an insecure, desperately wanting to fit in, 13 year old girl – Shame on you Miley! So Miley, I know you’re a big fan of my blog and you’re probably reading this feeling really bad about yourself and so you should.
You can reach E.F Nicholson at his blog: Things That Matter