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This blog is about music videos. If you want to know what I think of the songs, you can find my exciting and witty opinions at The Singles Jukebox.

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Tanja - Amazing (Estonia)

Rehearsals for Estonian Strictly doesn’t seem to be going to well. Let’s just say our couple are getting rather distracted when they should be practising their paso dobles. They get the hang of it eventually though and the indoor fireworks go off (not a metaphor).

Song-wise, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that this was e.g. Leona Lewis’s new single: a bit boshy, big notes on the chorus, lyrics meaningless to the point of semi-awesomeness (“I’d break the curse of time to be with you”). Best of all, there is actual STAGECRAFT planned for this one. I won’t spoil it but keep an eye out, dudes.

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Quadron - Hey Love

MORE HUMMING, but what a tune! Piano banging, a belter of a chorus, great choreography. I think this must have disappeared from Spotify at some point because I swear I added it to my 2013 playlist and now it has VANISHED. I guess this has meant I haven’t overplayed it and got sick of it?

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Sharaya J - Smash Up The Place

I am entranced by this woman and the way her limbs move (there’s more here). I am also looking into blue hair dye options, my current barnet is minimally fierce and this clearly needs addressing.

Many thanks to the Lex for his enthusiastic awareness-raising.

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Eric Saade - Popular.

Country: Sweden
Song: Red One meets Boney M - amazing pop song results! I like this tune a great deal, especially the awesome near-tautological nature of the lyrics: “You’ll like me when I’m popular”.
Plot: Blimey the uncensored version begins with poor old Justin Timberlake wannabe Eric getting beaten up quite graphically. It’s terribly bad timing as Eric’s chums are counting on him as the lead dancer in their squad, and the competition is TODAY! Of course the nasty gang (let’s call them Team Evil) who nobbled Eric are also entered, and it looks like Team Eric is done for without their star player. But what’s this? The buxom barmaid might have just saved the day!
SFX: Camera glare, juddery framing AND neon tubes. Thankfully the song is good enough that I don’t care.
Choreography: Top notch. They even do that thing where they all stand behind each other and stick their arms out at different angles so it looks like the front person has 8 arms (is this called ‘the Vishnu’? If not it should be).
Better than 2010?: Vast improvement on 2010’s terrible acoustic ballad.
Overall verdict: Here are TVAA we condone responsible gambling and thus I would recommend you lay no more than a tenner on this one.

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Janet Jackson - What Have You Done For Me Lately?

To make up for a quiet January at TVAA here’s one of my all-time favourite videos. I’ve probably posted this before but I don’t care - look at how cross Janet is! Anger clearly hones ones choreography skills, as this is pretty much perfect.

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Hanson - Thinking Bout Somethin’.

This video troubles me greatly. I’m used to Hanson being all grown-up since their sort-of comeback in 2004, but Taylor’s Ray Charles impression makes the corners of my mouth stretch back in an ‘eeeeysh’ way. As homages go it’s almost shot-for-shot, but I’d be more comfortable if they’d just stuck to the awesome kids in the street shaking their tailfeathers, and ditched the Andre 3000 ‘playing everyone in the band’ bits in the music shop. Plus I now know more about Hanson than anyone over 25 has any right to, thanks to discovering this book in my local library. Isaac’s favourite colour is green, and his favourite film is Star Wars and his hobbies include street hockey and blacking up as the guitarist that was married to Aretha Franklin. Argh.

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Janelle Monae ft Big Boi - Tightrope.

This is absolutely wonderful and I have watched it about a grillion times in the last few weeks. It’s hard to sum up the pure joy derived from watching Janelle and her medically insane chums jiggle about, carefully choreographed to look like they’re all making it up on the spot. She certainly gives Gaga a run for her money in the ‘perambulating down the corridor of a correctional institution with your henchmen’ stakes. Tuxedos and spats »» prison striped underwear.

My favourite bit is at 3.21 where you expect her to jump off the table, but instead she just shimmies out on one leg. VERY COOL. I am going to have to get myself a big old bowtie, aren’t I?

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Omarion ft Gucci Mane - I Get It In.

The headstand is a move seldom employed by pop choreographers, and for good reason: just think of the ensuing clash with the pop hairdressers! It would be straightening irons at dawn. No such problems for Omarion’s team however, as he and his troupe have not only passed their BAGA Level 3 Gymnastics but have trimmed their crops short enough that no amount of inversion will muss them up.

In fact, such is the dedication of Omarion’s backing dancers that they have all squished their heads up to be the same size as his, to make sure the bit at 1.28 works properly. That was sweet of them.

(h/t @lexpretend for this!)

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Kylie Minogue - Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.

Best of 2001:This has to be in the running for most iconic video of the 00s - think ‘Kylie’ and the image of the white hooded dress and blinkered robotic hand gestures is usually the first thing that springs to mind for most pop fans (gold hot-pants admittedly coming a very close second). CYOOMH is one of my favourite videos ever - even if you’ve seen this video a thousand times, I urge you to take a closer look.

Director Dawn Shadforth turns well-worn video tropes into something magical. For example, take the opening sequence where Kylie is driving a car (done countless times before by everyone and their dog): the undulating curved bridges provide a hypnotic backdrop for Kylie’s smooth and relaxed pose during the woozy ‘na na na’s, which suddenly gives way to neatly chopped-up photo frames as soon as her clipped verse vocal kicks in. Then back again to the dreamy organic ‘na na na’, where her backing dancers slowly and gracefully slide through each others arms like blooming flowers.

The constant switching between clinical robot and organic human is also reflected wonderfully in the progression of Kylie’s hair and outfits: austere black dress/straight hair in the car followed by comfy tracksuit/scrunched up ponytail with her dancers outside; sleek white goddess dress inside the spaceship to silver party frock and full-on natural curls on the roof.

Kylie isn’t just a coat-hanger here though: the majority of her verses are sung in closely focused headshots, leaving her (stunning) body to do the talking during the choreography sequences. Shadforth punctuates simple but memorable moves with different camera angles to keep the momentum going, finishing off with a wonderful long teasing swoop up from Kylie’s toes back up to her head in time for the middle eight (2.17). It’s a perilous task trying to make a video sensual rather than sexual but Shadforth does a bloody good job of it - opting to reveal the often-ignored middle section of the chest, never lingering too long in one place - leaving us none the wiser as to what Kylie’s ‘dark secret in me’ could be.

The last sequence on the rooftops where Kylie fills the sky with one joyful flick of her hair is my favourite part of the whole video. It conjures up memories of so many wonderful nights out letting my own hair down - the music is so euphoric that she never wants the night to end, dancing in slow motion as the sun sets to make the moment last as long as possible. Stay forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever…

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Beyonce - Sweet Dream (Beautiful Nightmare).

A rather unsatisfying amalgam of ‘Single Ladies’ and ‘Deja Vu’ - after the baffling levitation scene is done and dusted, we have the same old desert-tribe Rite Of Spring raindance, then some dancing that… isn’t quite as good as we know Beyonce is capable of.

It’s only near the end, where B upgrades the robot hand theme to full-on armour plating (sort of - imagine if Apollo was entering the Terminator Gymnastics World Championships) that this video feels a worthwhile endeavour. It’s a shame - Beyonce clearly has more to offer than a batshit wardrobe. This is a rare occasion when I think I’d rather have tour footage.

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