Overall, this has been quite a strong week for music releases for many different artists. On Monday, Ariana Grande set the internet on fire with the track Bang Bang, thanks to the help of two other strong female voices, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. On the same day, entertainer Hilary Duff made a strong return to music with her carefree, yet earnest song, Chasing the Sun. Both tracks are still too new for people to consider which one trumps the other (although most see Bang Bang as having the most potential). On Thursday, two major pop powerhouses released new visuals for their current singles. Katy Perry unleashed the video for the jam, This Is How We Do; while Australian pop-rockers, 5 Seconds of Summer, pushed forth the clip for their third single, Amnesia. So, which one works better?
Contender 1: This Is How We Do by Katy Perry. Although the Prism album has not had as much success as its predecessor, Teenage Dream, it has still held up quite well. Perry has gained four more top 20 singles from the 2013 release and the first single, Roar, hit the top of the charts. Many people were surprised to learn that This Is How We Do would be the fifth release from Prism, as they expected an early favorite, the house music influenced Walking on Air, to finally get a proper release. Perry had performed Walking on Air many times during early promotions for Prism.
While This Is How We Do definitely sets a tone for current summer listening, the music video places Perry squarely into a throwback, pop art mode. In true fashion, the singer who once rocked a whipped cream-shooting bra manages to include something no one ever saw coming: an animated ice cream cone that twerks.
It is definitely a far cry from the America’s Funniest Home Videos style of her previous single, Birthday, but with a proper mix of 1980’s nostalgia and pieces of recent pop culture moments (including a “cameo” appearance from the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin); it all comes together in a truly memorable way.
Contender 2: Amnesia by 5 Seconds of Summer. It has been a while ride for the four young Australian men of 5 Seconds of Summer. Their debut eponymous album opened at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was the first for any Australian artist and the biggest debut for a group since 2006. Their first two singles, She Looks So Perfect and Don’t Stop, were both high in energy and the videos to those songs reflected the fun nature of the band known affectionately as 5SOS. The music video for Don’t Stop, in particular, has the foursome dressed up as zany superheroes. Hoping to show off a different side, 5SOS revealed via a live stream chat that they would be releasing the softer Amnesia as their third offering from the album.
The video plays out somewhat similarly to their other two releases: the band is seen playing around and acting silly in a swimming pool, during mini-golf and other fun moments. This time around, however, there are girls present; one for each group member. Admittedly, the video is not much more than just hanging out with those females and singing forlornly into the camera, minus the odd silly moment the band is known for.
If the basis of the video is that all four group members are supposed to be heartbroken as they sing about “not [being] fine at all”, it is a bit of a stretch. If it is meant to tie into a much realistic narrative to their current busy lives, it would make some sense. However, there is a bit of disconnect between the love interests and the band. Something just feels a bit off.
The ruling: In truth, Perry has been at this for a lot longer than the boys in 5 Seconds of Summer. While they may have the upper hand with such a strong song, the emotional pull for the Amnesia video needed to connect better. This Is How We Do may not be the strongest track in Perry’s discography. In fact, it probably is her weakest single to date. However, when all else fails, one makes the best out of what they have. Perry has done that in spades with her video.
Perhaps 5 Seconds of Summer was playing it safe by not pushing more of a romantic aspect in Amnesia, especially considering their target fan base consists of young girls. However, the song itself demanded something more. Perry managed to take the weak This Is How We Do and actually make it interesting. Sadly, 5 Seconds of Summer had the opposite effect — the song was great, but the video changed the course.
The winner: by a surprising upset, This Is How We Do by Katy Perry. Better luck next time, guys.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown