Music Video Relapse: "Tik Tok" (2009) by Ke$ha

Posted by Adam Fairholm on January 9, 2014 in Music Video Relapse

Staff Post

kesha.jpg

One of the interesting things about running this website is that we sometimes get retweeted by artists and directors when we tweet about new music videos (The night Rebecca Black followed us will remain one of our proudest moments).

Last weekend, though, Ke$ha decided to RT our new music video tweeting account @newmusicvideo post about her new video for "Dirty Love". Since Ke$ha very rarely retweets anyone at all, our tweet got a lot of attention and people started RTing and favoriting our original tweet. For a few days we got to stare into the abyss that is Ke$ha-related twitter accounts (there are hundreds of them, including accounts with names like "NOTICE ME KE$SHA!!!!"). It was terrifying and glorious all at the same time.

Anyways, it got me thinking about our good friend Ms. Ke$ha, and it brought me back to her first music video - 2009's "Tik Tok," directed by Syndrome. Let's take a look!

As far as music videos go, "Tik Tok" is definitely an introductory and tone-setting video. Before this video, all anyone really had heard from Ke$ha was her backup vocal bit for "Right Round" by Flo Rida, and even then nobody really noted her name. So this video was really her introduction into the music world - and it was a world that was already extremely saturated with young female pop stars - it had to really establish her image and differentiate her from the Lady Gagas and Katy Perrys of the world.

Her initial image styling turned out to be pretty brilliant. Although a lot of people derisively called her "baby gaga," Ke$ha was presented as a more of less approachable party girl who was wearing ripped jeans, a ripped t-shirt, and glitter (lots of glitter). It was relatively against the tide, and it turns out there was room on the pop scene for a party girl who brushes her teeth with brand name whiskey.

"Tik Tok" is basically a commercial for her initial styling, mostly consisting of shots of her acting out waking up in a random house and finding her way to the next party. The plot doesn't really matter - what matters is that we get a good, long look at Ms. Ke$ha.

Compared to her later outings, Ke$ha actually looks pretty natural here. Around the time this video came out she had a habit of describing her fashion as making random pieces of clothing work based on how they're worn, and that is reflected here. I think that's what initially endeared her to the wide audience she enjoyed in 2009-2011 - before wading into higher concept pieces, she seemed like someone you might know.

Syndrome does a great job of turning what could have been a really dull video into something that stands out for its vibrant colors. They also added a lot of fun elements, like the fact that Ke$ha ostensibly wandered into this poor family's house and slept in their bathtub. If she was drunk enough to not know she was breaking into someone's house, she looks pretty good the next morning, all things considered. Little visual touches like the gold bicycle really help this video along.

By far my favorite part of this video, though, is Ke$ha's attempt at acting when we first see her - peering over the lip of the bathtubs she slept in. She gives it her best "uhh so hungover where am I" squinty eyes and commits to the part. If she was a professional actor it'd be an issue, but here it's just another part of her personality that comes through so well in this video. But why would she use Jack Daniels? I'd say drink the JD and get some, like, Evan Williams or something and use that for hygiene.

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.



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