Charli XCX has made a name for herself for challenging pop conventions. And her latest video for "Famous" is no exception. Directed by Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job fame, it's a perfectly disturbing satire of what happens when people get too obsessed with social media and pop culture:
Released for 2015 YouTube's Music Awards, the video has a refreshingly quirky aesthetic that fits Charli XCX's whole backstory and style. This is the same artist who "basically just told [her] label to fuck off," because she wouldn't change her style to fit their demands early in her career, according to Cosmopolitan. "If you want a puppet, just go and get yourself a puppet," she told the magazine. "I told them that from very early on, and I said I was never going to have a conversation with them about anything like that ever again."
The "Famous" video is hyperconscious of mainstream pop and social media's twin reputation for brainwashing listeners and overproducing content so that it shines with a sanitized gloss. Wareheim is really the perfect mastermind to bring this video to life. Much of his work — including his infamous Cinco infomercials and the "Pon De Floor" dance video he made for Major Lazer — puts an uncomfortably dark spin on pop culture tropes. In the video, the social media-obsessed Charli is haunted by "fleek" demons when her smartphone battery dies.The bubbly, grotesque hilarity of the "Famous" video fits strangely with the upbeat, anthemic song. But it helps underscore just how different Charli XCX is from almost every other pop star. Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea or Meghan Trainor would never dare put out a video like this. That's why we need Charli XCX.