Music Video of the Day: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix (2016, dir. Sarah Chatfield)


Finally one of these 2016 music videos that I can get behind. This is the fourth of the six 2016 music videos I have looked at. It’s the only one that made me watch more from the same artist as a result. I looked it up, and they don’t appear to have worked with the same director more than twice. However, all the music videos I watched all knew what they were doing in the same way. They didn’t come across as simply existing to sell their music with sex, like Fifth Harmony’s Work From Home. They don’t rely on something they think will be shocking, that isn’t, like Ariana Grande’s Side To Side. They look like they are in command of their sexuality, unlike Hailee Steinfeld’s Starving.

The bit that makes me really like this music video is that I noticed they draw on elements from famous music videos to visually express their song. It starts right from the beginning. A desert where a woman is singing about her ex with suitcases involved. Of course they are going to reference You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette with a song like this. However, the song isn’t angry. It’s a song of hopeful and happy liberation. That’s why it isn’t a carbon copy, but reworked to fit the song.

Here I Go Again may be an 80’s hair metal video, but it evokes the same feeling of driving off into a wide new world after a lonely and heartbreaking experience. Don’t let the divide between music styles stop you. Hop in that car that I have no doubt Tawney Kitaen could have christened with a hood dance and drive off into an Instagram photo.

We are already in the beautiful location of the Spanish Tabernas Desert, groups like this frequently have a lot of bright colors, so of course lets toss Duran Duran’s Rio into the mix. It was also filmed at a beautiful location and used exaggerated colors like the ones we are throwing in anyways to contrast with those in You Oughta Know.

We need a way to end it, but the ending of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence is a little too depressing even though the song is in the ballpark and has bright colors. No matter. Coldplay remade it–Viva La Vida–with their lead-singer joined by his bandmates at the end instead of being alone, which turned it into a song about friends helping someone else through an otherwise solitary, but “long live life” experience. That’ll work for an ending! Have their arms in the air too like Dave Gahan in Personal Jesus.

Throw it together with some shots next to a pool to juxtapose with the outside shots since the song is all about taking a transitory period in a person’s life, and collapsing into a single future. It doesn’t have to be as explicit a division as most of Bonnie Tyler’s videos have. It can be one of the more subtle ones like the cuts between the claustrophobic cabin in the dark of night and the Grand Canyon in Holding Out For A Hero.

Top it off with some playfulness you saw in late-90s/early-2000s girl-bands like Dream and Dixie Chicks’ Ready To Run, and call it good.

I am of course not saying that is exactly what went through Little Mix and Sarah Chatfield’s minds. But it’s telling that I could break this music video into an amalgamation of things that worked from earlier music videos in such a way that you could believe that was the thought process behind it. Plus, you can see them make explicit references to things in their other music videos, such as the one to Risky Business (1983) in Hair. I’m pretty sure that one also referenced the four way split screen from ABBA’s Take A Chance On Me and had the girls posing for the cover of The Donnas’ album Spend The Night.

Regardless of the music video I watched, I saw all kinds of things that evoked memories of previous music videos that were brought together to express their own song in a playful manner without sacrificing a chance to do more serious material down the road. I go back to ABBA once again. I can see Little Mix having the range to do something playful like Waterloo, something more serious like Knowing Me, Knowing You, and something catchy, yet bittersweet, like Dancing Queen.

I know that’s a lot of great artists to pull out in talking about this music video, but that’s how much I enjoyed seeing this come out in 2016. Kudos, Little Mix & director Sarah Chatfield.

6 from 2016:

  1. Music Video of the Day: Work From Home by Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign (2016, dir. Director X)
  2. Music Video of the Day: Side To Side by Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj (2016, dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
  3. Music Video of the Day: Starving by Hailee Steinfeld, Grey ft. Zedd (2016, dir. Darren Craig)
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2 responses to “Music Video of the Day: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix (2016, dir. Sarah Chatfield)

  1. Pingback: Music Video of the Day: Up In The Hill by Brodka (2016, dir. Brodka) | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Music Video of the Day: What If I Go? by Mura Masa (2016, dir. Yoni Lappin) | Through the Shattered Lens

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