Bigsley the Oaf

Suit & Tie by Justin Timberlake ft. JAY Z (0:00 – 0:34)

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on March 11, 2013

Required Reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsUsVbTj2AY

—–

#1 – 0:00 – Close-up of hands playing piano w/ trumpets blasting. Immediately reminiscent of old-timey classic BS like Frank Sinatra and whatever. They want you to take this seriously (piano is a serious instrument – JT isn’t using synths or an elaborate production team – just piano + trumpets). One weird thing is that you can’t hear the piano – you can only hear trumpets. It’s a strange effect to have an image of his playing piano but not actually hear it – causing immediate cognitive dissonance and a feeling that his playing is somewhat casual (though I’m not sure why it causes this feeling).

#2 – 0:00 – 0:02 – We zoom out to see that JT is in some sort of hotel room. He’s either rehearsing or playing casually (for fun), though the mood is serious. This video is in B&W which implies more old-timey feeling + that this is SERIOUS. There’s a drink on the piano and an empty champagne flute, implying that there was a party, or someone else involved at some point (probably an attractive woman). He’s wearing a ruffled dress shirt, which implies that this is early morning or mid-day – perhaps this is the same shirt that he was wearing the night before.

#3 – 0:02 – 0:03 – Another cut, now we can see guitars in the background, and we notice that his tumbler is empty. On 0:03 we hear JT go “oooh” which sounds a bit like he’s orgasming or something, and this lasts into the next cut.

#4 – 0:03 – 0:04 – Same angle as #2, but zoomed out, now we can see the guitars and JT yawning or some shit? Wtf is this hand-to-mouth motion? Is it implying he’s tired? That shit’s just sloppy.

#5 – 0:04 – 0:07 – The longest cut so far, probably because they want us to focus on the scantily clad woman in the background, who throws up a pillow and kicks her legs. This woman is obviously a sex kitten and is wearing very few clothes, despite the fact that JT is receiving a back rub. This implies that the woman has no sense of propriety and is undoubtedly freak-y. She is also probably upper class as she is so casual around “the help.” This is setting up JT as a sort of ALPHA, which is of course necessary to the vibe of the whole thing. This video is part of an ongoing effort among mainstream media producers to emotionally + spiritually castrate your average male while simultaneously filling your average female with feelings of inadequacy and perhaps lust? I’m not exactly sure and this is conjectural anyway. Also of note is that this scene bears the first repeat of the refrain: “I be on my suit & tie shit, tie shit, tie,” which continues into the next cut. There’s some heavy drum + bass going on and a nice glissade. The glissade implies a sort of heavenly aspect, as this scene is the first element in the construction of the JT universe as some sort of impossible-to-occupy but ultimate Zone. The important thing about these lyrics is that they’re establishing that this is “suit and tie shit” which means that it’s SERIOUS. You can’t be JT and fuck around – though there’s a bit of a fun or like, half-joking undertone (cuzza the expletive). What exactly is “suit and tie shit?” This is a very uncomfortable question, and I’ll come back to it.

#6 – 0:07 – 0:09 – JT receiving a backrub, with an inscrutable look on his face. He seems a bit unkempt (heavy eyelids, tousled hair), probably due to fucking aforementioned Sex Object, and dude seems pretty relaxed to boot. We can’t see the masseuse, though she seems to have dark skin.

#7 – 0:09 – 0:12 – Another long cut. Here JT is pouring booze & has unbuttoned his shirt for some reason. He’s RELAXING, but this is serious relaxation (B&W + he’s not smiling or having fun or anything). It’s important to note that in the first twelve seconds we’ve already established three important symbols which will recur throughout the video – MUSIC, WOMEN, BOOZE. This is how JT relaxes – he plays some music, has sex with women, gets a massage, then drinks booze. I’ve long wondered whether there are explicit monetary relations between the music industry and the alcohol industries. If you ever listen to mainstream rap, there are a lot of songs that might as well be alcohol commercials (SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOT  SHOTS!). Does JT actually drink much? I doubt it. He probably spends most of his time working on his music, fucking models, etc. Why would he drink? I wonder if he does LSD or smokes weed, or if he has access to even better drugs. If JT doesn’t do GHB he probably should, since it’s pointwise superior to alcohol. I wonder if “rich and powerful” people know this. I think this cut would be much better/more interesting if he were expelling some dark-colored GHB out of a syringe into a red party cup.

#8 – 0:12 – 0:15 – OK this is genuinely weird, and I didn’t notice this the first few times I watched the video, but in this cut JT is being pushed on a bed into a space which has the stereotypical light + dust effect of a recording studio/performance space. The implication here is that he’s such a FUCKING PRINCESS that he can’t even be bothered to get out of bed & go to work, so his manager or agent or whatever has to hire some swarthy men in blue-colar attire to push his bed (from the hotel?) into his performance space. The lyrics accompanying this section go “can I show you a few thangs, a few thangs” and span the next cut as well. Presumably these are sexual “thangs,” though it’s unclear why showing someone “thangs” requires “suit and tie shit.”

#9 – 0:15 – 0:18 – Another strange scene for a number of reasons. JT is relaxing (still relaxing) and looks over to see that his beautiful + high class blonde friend has made her chess move (???). OK, why are they playing chess? What’s the implication? Is it a tongue-in-cheek jab at being smart like the new-rich still play chess (or pretend) because they know it looks cool or something? There’s no way JT is good at chess and NO WAY that woman is good at chess. Is it some sort of abstract courting gesture? He doesn’t seem to be paying much attention, in any case, though when she moves his attention comes back to the game, and there’s a very strange wipe transition (someone walks in front of the camera). This implies that they’re in a busy space where people are working, but he’s still relaxing + goofing off like a fucking asshole. I guess this is “swag?” Acting like you’re a princess who drinks + makes the underpaid masseuse hang out with your unclothed hot GF who’s probably saying bullshit + then can’t even get out of bed to do his job + then PLAYS CHESS POORLY instead of like practicing or helping set up or some shit. UGH.

#10 – 0:18 – 0:20 – JT leans forward towards the chess board and removes his sunglasses from his head, implying that he is daunted by the move. But the implication is that he doesn’t even care about this game, anyway! No one watching this video can possibly believe that these two people are good at chess – do we even think that they know how the pieces move? What is he concerned about? Perhaps this scene is supposed to represent a sort of metaphorical realization that JT needs to actually prepare for this show he’s putting on tonight. This makes sense in the context of the next cut.

#11 – 0:20 – 0:23 – OK maybe they were playing chess to kill time before their instructor got there? JT + the blonde are now dancing side by side (there’s a strange filter on the scene which cuts off the top + bottom of the frame – is this supposed to imply that we’re spying on them or something?). There’s someone with implied african-american ethnicity standing off to the left, snapping his fingers. It’s interesting – there are three separate scenes in which there is “help” – the masseuse, the two guys pushing JT in his bed into the studio, and now this scene where he + the broad have some sort of dance instructor – but in each case the ethnicity of the help is occluded. This is undoubtedly because whatever company produced this would not bear to imply that the (lower-class) help is of any particular ethnicity. JT’s white and the broads are white, but we can only guess at the ethnicities of the help. This has to have been intentional. This cut is accompanied by the words “little baby cuz” – JT’s singing to a woman. WOMEN. WOMEN ARE SEX. SEX SEX SEX UGH. This song is riddled with blatant objectification – he calls the woman “baby” here, and later he refers to her (or her ass?) as “it.” The B&W old timey vibe that they’re setting up (more on this later) allows this. You can’t be contemporary and objectifying – you have to hearken back to a bygone era where this thing is OK. This is great because it lets the viewer feel simultaneously exhilarated (either by vicariously objectifying if male or being vicariously objectified if female) while also comfortable that this isn’t related to anything “real or current.” There’s a bit of an irony in that some of the old-timey elements of the video (e.g. JT’s smoking – coming up later – and drinking + B&W) are contrasted with hyper-contemporary (though still classic) architectural styles, clothing, etc. It creates a subtle feeling of dissonance – when is this even taking place?

#12 – 0:24 – 0:26 – “I be on my suit and tie shit” – Now we see JT REALLY trying to relax, because he’s in the presence of JAY Z. JAY Z  is black. DO NOT FORGET THAT HE IS BLACK. THIS IS IMPORTANT. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU REMEMBER THAT HE IS BLACK. Because this video uses his blackness like it was a fucking trump card my GOD. JT feels so awkward trying to relax as much as JAY Z, but he can’t even fucking come close at ALL. He’s like a stuttering neurotic highschool pimply nerd next to JAY Z. Look at JAY Z’s glasses! Look at his shirt. Look at his lean! Look how his arm is way out over the back of the soft WAY extended, holding his drink out, finger pointed, leaning back, LEAN. Shittt. WTF is JT eating, cereal? LIFE cereal? I think that the cereal-eating thing is meant to really bring home the fact that JT is white. JT is so smiley and happy here, because he gets to hang out with JAY Z who is really cool. There’s a subtle implication here that JT can never ever be as cool as JAY Z and that JAY Z is some sort of godlike figure capable of infinite repose & sophistication. Shit I can’t tell if this is all in here or if this is just some sort of weird latent racism I have. Who knows? I suppose I’m getting close to the line between analysis & subjective reaction, but whatever.

#13 – 0:26 – 0:28 – OH SHIT LOOK HOW COOL + REPOSED.

#14 – 0:28 – 0:30 – OH SHIT EATING CEREAL, LOOKIN NERVOUS.

#15 – 0:30 – 0:32 – OH SHIT RELAXING + WATCHING BASKETBALL.

#16 – 0:32 – 0:34 – JAY Z slowly + luxuriously moves his big cigarette to his moist + sexy high class lips. SO CLASS. WTF is he wearing? How does he get so fucking relaxed? Relaxation is definitely an important element of this video. The song up to this point is so mellow + repetitive + nonsensical – everything is fuzzy + dreamlike – you’re meant to be slowly rocked into a comfortable goo-like state where you can’t even help but dream about what it would be like to be either:

Rich + successful + white JT who gets babes + drinks + gets pushed around on beds.

Rich + successful + black JAY Z who lays back and smokes cigars and drinks and is so fucking swag 2themax.

Rich + successful + hot broads who are just straight up fucked and love it.

OK I’mma stop here cuz I’m tired + this shit’s exhausting + I want to let thoughts stew. Maybe I’ll redo this tomorrow.

8 Responses

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  1. Nagle said, on March 12, 2013 at 5:47 am

    The cereal thing!

    See Christina’s video, “Your Body” — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cfCgLgiFDM — at 4:22

    Bonus points if you can figure wtf is going on in either a) 0:04 – 0:19 or b) 4:18 – 4:33. At worst you could cut those out and loop them to get some kind of viral absurdity, a la http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeLdJBpuOXs

    • bigsleytheoaf said, on March 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Yeah, that video is way more inscrutable than Suit and Tie.

      My best guess is that 0:04-0:19/4:18-4:33 are set up to frame the video with like “Christina is completely fucking nuts.” There seems to be some sort of like “sex with completely crazy woman” thing going on throughout, right? Like, she gives the men really good sex, but ultimately they’re left in various states of destruction. You have to think about what class this is aimed at, too – I think C is popular among lower class + hispanic communities, and I’m not really too aware of what’s going on w/ them w/r/t sexuality, trends, etc. Why is she using such an old computer? Yeah, no clue dude.

      As I watch S&T more I begin to realize how much it really is about race – it’s completely ridiculous!

      • Nagle said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:36 am

        My only observation into the beginning part is that I *think* she’s using an old school NES controller to hook up to her old-school computer, which I think is a mismatch. Regardless, I feel like they’re suppose to evoke some retro vibe — Christina hanging out, being cool, playing old school games. But then she … calls her psychic??? Who is on call while she is just hanging out playing old school video games??

        I feel like this is more believable than JT vs. Hottie playing chess… but still really not that believable.

        I like your point about race and class — I’d suspect Christina’s audience overlaps substantially with “The Voice”‘s audience, where she’s a judge.

        It’s funny how just writing out literally what happens in these videos makes the absurdity pop out at you. We close with Christina eating cereal, flipping channels from hysterically laughing foxes to a five-second shot of Lucille Ball, who appears as if through kaleidoscope at first. End!

  2. Nagle said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:49 am

    It turns out Oranum.com is real!

    Also I guess the end sort of makes sense in a like, I’m a psycho bitch sex killer, and now I’m just hanging around, eatin’ cereal, watchin’ TV, but you and I viewer know I’m lethal!!!

    • Nagle said, on March 13, 2013 at 3:57 am

      Ohhhh. Oranum is a product integration with Xtina’s video according to The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/christina-aguileras-body-video-psychic-375803

      “When Oranum came on board, there were also some other benefits in terms of financial support to help Christina support her vision.”

      I like how “some other benefits” is left nice and vague. What could it mean??

      Also, Xtina calls her psychic “Ranum”, making you think it’s his site, but really he’s Laszlo, and it’s a network of psychics on Oranum.

      And he says “it’s going to be a killer week,” which is a lead up to, you know, her killing people. I kind of liked it better when it just seemed like abusrdist music video theatre.

  3. Jen B said, on March 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    As Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake awoke one morning from uneasy dreams each found himself transformed in his bed into a very muscular woman of uncertain ethnicity.

  4. Jen B said, on March 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Actually, strike that. Just Jay-Z.

  5. Jen B said, on March 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    OK, I have it now.

    Chris, thank you for pointing out this video. I agree that it’s of huge significance. But I couldn’t disagree more about your interpretation.

    I watched this video like 10 times and I had all these unanswered questions:

    – Why is JT shown as having sex with beautiful women, whereas Jay-Z is merely superimposed with their images? What does it add to the story to see JT post-coitus?

    – Why is JT so nervous/tired, and why does he need those drinks? Why is Jay-Z so fucking cool?

    – Why does Jay-Z seem to be running the show (eg, asking in the beginning if JT is ready), even though it’s JT’s music video?

    – Why is the sex kitten in the first scene so muscular, as is the underwear-clad woman in the later scene?

    – Are we seeing images of Jay-Z writhing sexily at 3:49? Or is it that muscular chick at 3:58 (we only really know it’s a chick here, because we see the bra)?

    – And is that Jay-Z jumping on a trampoline? Jay-Z doesn’t jump on trampolines, and if he does he sure as hell doesn’t let anyone film it.

    – Why is it that even though JT references female formalwear repeatedly (“and you’re dressed in that dress I like”) are all the women wearing underwear?

    – What story is this video telling? Is it the story of JT making a song? Really?

    – Why is Jay-Z’s rap so bad?

    Raised in your post:

    – Why is JT eating cereal after the sex kitten clip?

    – Why is JT wheeled into the recording studio/stage on a bed? In general, why is he shown surrounded by so much help?

    And the most crucial question of all:

    Why is Jay-Z even in this video? If we make the (safe) assumption that he has no shortage of cash, and his image is his most valuable asset, in what way does this video improve (or at least not hurt) his brand?

    And it’s so fucking simple. Maybe it’s already clear from my questions. It wasn’t clear to me the first 5-6 times I watched the video. So here it is:

    In the beginning of the video, we see getting a massage as a really muscular sex kitten jubilantly throws a pillow into the air behind him. Then we see JT come out into the kitchen. It’s the morning and he’s eating cereal.

    Now pretend you don’t know anything at all about this video, or the performers, except what you’ve just seen.

    Someone’s watching TV on the couch. Who do you think it is?

    Obvious answer: The girl JT just had sex with.

    Correct answer: Jay-Z, looking oh-so cool.

    The obvious but incredible conclusion: Jay-Z just fucked JT. Jay-Z’s alter ego is the hot muscular chick. Jay-Z fucked JT so thoroughly, that the latter thinks he fucked Jay-Z. Damn.

    Don’t believe me? This video SHOWS Jay-Z transforming into the hot muscular chick. Twice. First during the rap in the writhing-sexily sequence (roughly 3:45-4:00), then in the trampoline jumping sequence.

    And now everything falls into place. Let’s go back to the questions.

    – Why is JT shown as having sex with a beautiful woman, whereas Jay-Z is merely superimposed with their images? What does it add to the story to see JT post-coitus?

    The first part is obvious. We see JT post-coitus because we must establish that Jay-Z did, in fact, fuck JT.

    – Why is JT so nervous/tired, and why does he need those drinks? Why is Jay-Z so fucking cool? Why does JT do all the work (songwriting, dance sequence, etc)?

    Think it’s easy to get fucked by Jay-Z?
    And JT does all the work for the obvious reason that he thinks he’s on top.

    – Why does Jay-Z seem to be running the show (eg, asking in the beginning if JT is ready), even though it’s JT’s music video?

    Because JT is the tool of Jay-Z’s metamorphosis.

    – Why is the sex kitten in the first scene so muscular, as is the underwear-clad woman in the later scene?

    Because Jay-Z may be assuming a female form, but it’s sure as hell going to be a powerful one.

    – Are we seeing images of Jay-Z writhing sexily at 3:49? Or is it that muscular chick at 3:58 (we only really know it’s a chick here, because we see the bra)?

    They’re one and the same.

    – And is that Jay-Z jumping on a trampoline? Jay-Z doesn’t jump on trampolines, and if he does he sure as hell doesn’t let anyone film it.

    Ditto. Also, notice that we still plainly see JT’s face in the trampoline sequence, but not Jay-Z’s.

    – Why is it that even though JT references female formalwear repeatedly (“and you’re dressed in that dress I like”) are all the women wearing underwear?

    Because Jay-Z’s objective is to fuck JT, not go to dinner with him.

    – What story is this video telling? Is it the story of JT making a song? Really?

    Of course not. It’s the story of Jay-Z turning into a woman. Why? So he can fuck JT. Just for that. Not only does Jay-Z fuck JT IN the video, he fucks JT by making the video. JT (the person) does all the work in the video – dancing, singing, etc, but ultimately is a shmuck. (See next question).

    – Why is Jay-Z’s rap so bad?

    Sorry to sound like a broken record but: because that’s how you fuck someone. You shit on their record. (Also, note in the youtube comments that many JT fans think JZ “ruins” the video.) You know what’s funny? They’re absolutely right.

    – Why is JT eating cereal after the sex kitten clip?

    To establish the superposition of “it’s morning and I’m waking up with the person I just fucked” with Jay-Z on the couch. I mean, they couldn’t really stick the two of them in a bed together.

    – Why is JT wheeled into the recording studio/stage on a bed? In general, why is he shown surrounded by so much help?

    Because that’s how you take care of your prized cattle.

    Why is Jay-Z even in this video? If we make the (safe) assumption that he has no shortage of cash, and his image is his most valuable asset, in what way does this video improve (or at least not hurt) his brand?

    How has fucking over a powerful white man ever hurt a black rap mogul’s brand?

    OK, this is long so I will stop here. It seems obvious to me that your average JT fan is not meant to understand any of that, and in fact does not, whereas to your average Jay-Z fan it’s all intuitively obvious. ( Hey our man Jay-Z just laid down some shit on that mousketeer’s song and got fucking paid for it). Whether JT himself understands it is less clear to me. My guess is yes – he’s not dumb, and he’s had a lot of time to digest it. But such is the price of recording with Jay-Z.


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