Charli XCX’s ‘Famous’ video is a nightmarish mashup of ‘Black Mirror’ and health goth
Charli XCX is fluent in the language of the World Wide Web. As someone who was born in the nineties and broke through to mainstream stardom in 2013, she pretty much had to be. But lest you think she’s a new breed of human, in the music video for her new single “Famous” off her recent album “Sucker,” she shows she’s just as freaked out by the digital age as those of us who didn’t grow up Tumbling and Snapchatting on bedazzled pink smartphones. That this video was created for the YouTube Music Awards is either super ironic or a scary confirmation that The Borg absorbs critiques faster than you can think of them.
Directed with surrealist flair by who else but Eric Wareheim, the clip opens on a Charli XCX mini-me wearing the recycled styles of the late ’90s as she snaps selfies and dances to Charli’s video-within-a-video in her bedroom. But when her phone’s battery dies, menacing adult health goths appear out of nowhere. Not to be dissuaded, she gets on her iPad, but when that dies too, she’s sucked into a digital underworld full of old people in hip outfits, monsters with selfie sticks, and what appears to be an aging Suicide Girl. Also present: Ms. XCX herself, who is “ugly” when viewed not viewed through one’s mobile device.
In an effort to get back online, our young protagonist plugs her phone into the tummy-port of a man with selfie sticks for fingers, only to be electrocuted to death. (Presumably he’s angry because he can’t find his best angle.) As emojis pour from her fried little brain, the assembled cast of characters Instagram her death just like on that episode of “Black Mirror.”
Moral of the story: Charge your devices. Or maybe don’t. Either way, you’re fucked.
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