By Austin Crann, Staff Writer
The black hole of charisma strikes again: teen pop chanteuse/professional Mariah Carey impersonator Ariana “left side only” Grande has released the music video for “Love Me Harder” featuring The Weeknd, the third single off her sophomore album “My Everything.” It is Grande’s third consecutive disappointing music video, following “Problem” and “Break Free.”
Directed by Hannah Lux Davis, the video operates on a shoestring budget. Any viewers hoping for a shred of a storyline will be disappointed: it’s as elusive as the right side of Grande’s face. Ari, in her continued pursuit to look sexy yet innocent, writhes around in a forlorn, abandoned mansion. The writhing is everywhere: on a chair, on the floor, in a pool of water. Despite her attempts at moving, Ari just looks bored to be in the video, likely due to her fondness for just laying down in her videos.
The featured artist, R&B singer The Weeknd, looks just as uninterested, standing around in darkly-lit rooms. The alternating shots of Grande and The Weeknd are broken up by shots of rain, storm clouds and lightning. The entire video features weak attempts to create tension between Ari and The Weeknd and, infuriatingly, that low dose of tension is never broken or resolved.
The video isn’t all bad, however: Ari looks gorgeous throughout the video. We’re even treated to a few seconds of the right side of her face. She also sports a new hairdo — her infamous high ponytail is no more. The song is quite good, too.
The blandness of the “Love Me Harder” video points to the unavoidable fact that Grande has not yet made a single quality music video. The video for her summer smash “Problem” was absolute trash on a five-dollar budget. “Break Free” was campy to the point of irritation and again seemed low-budget.
The cheapness of Ari’s videos is surprising, considering she’s been positioned by her record label and the media as pop’s next big thing. She dominated the charts this summer, with “Problem,” “Break Free” and a feature on Jessie J and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang.”
Grande has saturated the media this year, trying to catapult to the top tier of contemporary pop stars alongside Rihanna, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus. MTV even hailed her as a “modern Britney Spears,” a comparison Grande is frankly unworthy of. Parts of what makes artists like Rihanna top-tier are creative and original music videos. Grande won’t be getting even near the top with the videos she’s made this year. A true diva would fill a simple video with personality and charisma.
If Ariana Grande plans on sticking around in the pop world, she better step up her game. Strong (but incomprehensible) vocals can only take a girl so far.
Check out the music video in question for yourself: