Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Bang Bang’ Is a Pop Song From Another Era
In the spirit of the Moulin Rouge! version of “Lady Marmalade” and that Pepsi commercial in which Britney, Beyoncé, and Pink are Roman gladiators comes the new video “Bang Bang,” for Jessie J’s new collabo single with Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande. Which is to say, the “Bang Bang” video is verrrrrrry early 2000s. Aside from the Beats Pill product placement and that fact that Ariana Grande would have been a zygote during the Carson Daly era, this video could be straight from TRL. The styling actually looks just like the New York–themed ad campaign for the 2000 VMAs that depicted Britney as a sexy hot dog vendor. The song “Bang Bang” still sounds like a High School Musical outtake, although the lyrics are obliquely sexual. I’m fairly certain “bang bang” is like a female version of “skeet skeet” in this context, so do what you will with that info. Jessie J is one of the U.K.’s most mediocre pop stars, so it’s necessary for her to team up with the likes of Ariana and Nicki to score another hit in America (her first was the execrable “Price Tag”). Jessie J has a big voice, but it’s hollow and lacks soul, and there are a lot of British pop stars I’d rather see break in the States (hi, Cher Lloyd and Cheryl Cole).
Noted former bisexual Jessie J jacks Canadian pop-house breakout Kiesza’s whole dancing-in-the-streets-in-suspenders bit for her setup and crosses it with the Christina Aguilera block-party video for “Can’t Hold Us Down,” while demon princess Ariana lounges in a Spring Breakers–themed chill-out room under neon Arecaceae. Ariana should probably not sing, “She might’ve let you hold her hand in school / But I’mma show you how to graduate” because even though she is fully legal (21!), her child-beauty-pageant looks make it feel like she might not even be at hand-holding-in-school age yet. There are more shots of Jessie’s fake New York City street scene and Ariana’s slumber party, and then Nicki touches down on a rooftop in a helicopter and convinces us all to let the song play through. Nicki does a double-time (yet clean) victory-lap verse, and then all three gather for a rooftop fiesta with an electroclash DJ, rounding out the 2000s theme. Bang bang, now it’s stuck in your head, too.