The latest release from R&B artist Robin Thicke is his single "Blurred Lines." Featuring rappers T.I. and Pharrell Williams, the song has a ridiculously catchy tune and its lyrics are promiscuous and somewhat inappropriate for the young crowd. "You wanna hug me / what rhymes with hug me," is just one line from the song that brings forth a sexy undertone, which was not anywhere near an undertone in the song's music video.
In fact, sex was the main idea.
What begins with three models clad in clear, plastic underwear with barely any actual clothing on their bodies becomes a strip show as they slowly but surely begin to lose whatever clothing they were wearing to begin with. The models, all beautiful and quite bodacious, begin playfully jumping around and hanging onto the three artists, who seem to be having a little too much fun.
"Blurred Lines" is only one example of how music videos have become blatant sex shows; artists are interpreting the saying "sex sells" quite literally, using nudity and sexy images to cash in millions of views on their videos. "We Don't Stop" is the latest single by Tennessee Native Miley Cyrus, and it's video is basically her twerking with interesting outfits that so obviously state 'who's Hannah Montana?'
Even though Cyrus is working on creating a new image for herself, Justin Timberlake has maintained his "sexy back" reputation. Timberlake's latest single "Tunnel Vision" had an accompanying video on YouTube, clearly labeled EXPLICIT due to the very naked ladies dancing throughout the six minute 47 second song. The music video was released July 3, and removed by YouTube shortly afterwards, only to resurface two days later.
These artists, whether they're hungry for attention or just like the drama, are creating a new foundation for what music videos should contain. Almost all music is written on the subject of love, if not all. But that love that the Beatles sang about back in the 60s has quickly diminished and became simply about sex. When was the last time a rap artist rhymed something sweet along the lines of "I ain't got nothing but love girl, eight days a week?"
Lately, the music industry has revolved around sex and drama, downplaying the creative element of singing and songwriting which should really be the main focus. If Bob Dylan were to release a song with a video on YouTube today, I doubt it would get very many plays. Plus, who wants to see a social critic shuffle through cards when you can get full-frontal, front row seat to nude ladies on Timberlake's channel?
Racy music videos can raise questions with religious and societal values. Some may not be appropriate for young fans. Most explicit videos on Youtube require an over 18-years of age account, but it's not like that can't be adjusted in a jiffy. And even beyond religion and society, don't these artists respect themselves and their work enough to not be so blatant about sex?
Nicki Minaj's bottom side is almost completely bare in her "High School" video, featuring fellow Young Money rapper Lil Wayne. Yes the song is very obviously about sex (some lyrics are very R-rated), but is a visual that necessary? When did popular artists take the creative aspect of music videos and turn them into borderline porn?
Videos used to be a different creative platform for musicians, essentially allowing them to create a mini movie to accompany their music. YouTube is a perfect place to post videos, for any one with internet access can enjoy that. But some artists apparently took advantage of their creative freedom, infusing music with sex, quite literally.
While there are some exceptions to this crazy sex/music video pattern, the main followers like Timberlake and Thicke remain in the popular music realm, which happens to be what most people listen to (hence the word "popular").
As evidenced by the hundreds of millions of views these artists get on their music videos, it's doubtful that they'll tone down the sexy and nudity in their future releases. Although, I'll be appreciating any music video I watch where I don't see a butt or boobs, I will appreciate a whole ton more.
-Melodi Erdogan is a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.