Between the same tired choreography we’ve been seeing every time Ariana Grande performs this song live to the cameo of Big Sean that served no purpose, Grande’s newest music video fell flat.
Directed by Nev Todorovic, who also directed Grande’s videos for “Right There” and “Almost is Never Enough”, this newest video followed the same 1960s theme that Grande has been promoting since news of a new single circulated.
From the fashion (Grande also sported the same outfit she’s been wearing for performances: knee high boots and a short black dress) to the grainy video effects it definitely has the 60s feel. Although the outfits were cute and Iggy Azalea looked good as always, they were nothing spectacular. Again, it was just too much of the same.
The problem with Grande’s newest video was she was showing us all things we’ve already seen. Take a look at her performance at the Radio Disney Music Awards:
Even the first time she performed this routine it wasn’t anything amazing. There’s no complicated dance moves or anything that I couldn’t teach myself in the comfort of my bedroom. The truth is that although Grande has great pipes, she can’t dance so her choreography is never as crazy as Chris Brown’s, for example, which is fine. What’s not fine is using the same mediocre dance routine over and over again, especially in a much anticipated music video that was very hyped up. To see the same moves again (that I feel confident I could now do in my sleep) it was not only disappointing but boring. To use a routine that many times it has to either be a line dance or Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” routine; Grande’s performance was neither.
For the entirety of the video I waited for something to happen. Anything that was different from what I’d already seen in the past but there was nothing. Grande could have just used footage from her previous performances of “Problem” and compiled it into this video. Yes there was some great video effects that added the 60s vibe but again nothing that made me say, “Oh wow. That’s fantastic.”
The only new feature in the video was Big Sean. As teased in one of Grande’s many teasers for the video on Instagram (the teaser has since been removed) Big Sean does make an appearance, only to whisper, “I got one less problem without ya.”
Whether or not Big Sean actually does the whispering on the original track is irrelevant. What is relevant is all he does is whisper in the video and we never even see a full body shot of him as the camera focuses on his mouth and glimpses of his face. He does not produce any kind of dance moves or really do anything but whisper. The inclusion of Big Sean in the video is thereby pointless because he adds nothing to it. He’s just another face on the scene who does nothing of interest.
What would have been interesting is if Big Sean played Grande’s love interest. There is definitely a flirtation between them in the video but nothing substantial. That’s what was really missing from the video. Not just a love interest for Grande (the video would be fine if she didn’t have one) but some sort of story line. The 60s theme is good and all but it can only hold a viewers interest for so long. Grande’s video for “Right There” may have been a little over the top but at least there’s a storyline to follow, one that almost everyone knows. “Problem” just didn’t give me anything to keep my attention or make me interested.
Todorovic could have taken some cues from Christina Aguilera’s 1940s themed video for “Candyman”. Sticking with the theme the video shows different scenes from different popular spots during the time period. Although the “Problem” video changes backdrops they don’t differ that much. Other than the video effects and clothing nothing else indicates the 60s theme. So much more could’ve been done with this video and it seems like a missed opportunity.
The only part that is remotely interesting is the first 10 seconds, which Grande conveniently used as a teaser on Instagram a few days ago (also removed). Showing a dancer on the floor, moving on his hands and giving a peek of the 60’s graphics used on Iggy, it at first looks as if the video will be really cool. Then as Grande starts to sing we see the same choreography we’ve seen before and I instantly became disappointed.
In terms of presentation, Todorovic did an excellent job with the editing and 60s video effects. However, overall the video was boring producing nothing fans haven’t already seen done by Grande.
Despite the let down of the music video, the lyric video for “Problem” is very good and definitely worth a look. The actual music video, however, is not.