Work Music Videos Review
Recently, Rihanna surprised her fans with not one, but two music videos for her chart topping single, “Work”. So better late than never, here is a quick compare and contrast of the duel music videos, complete with some background information and my personal opinions.
Who but Rihanna could pull off releasing two videos for the same song and manage to have them both impress? Rihanna utilized the powers of two accomplished music video directors, Director X and Tim Erem, as they took the same material and created two entirely different viewing experiences. Director X’s video plays first, as it features Rihanna and Drake dancing in a crowded, Rastafarian themed bar. Tim Erem’s video follows, and it too focuses on Drake and Rihanna dancing on each other, only this time they are alone in a pink, basement type room.
So to answer the obvious question first, why did Rihanna want to make two music videos? After reading through a few interviews, I discovered that Tim Erem and Rihanna started with a completely different original concept, and the pink room was only supposed to be a small scene in the larger, more elaborate video. However, after filming several scenes for this idea, Tim and Rihanna decided that footage would work a lot better for a different track but still needed something more for “Work.” That’s where Director X’s video came in.
Although both videos blew me away, the way that each director chose to film this larger than life female star differs between the videos. Tim Erem’s video portrays Rihanna in a more conventionally “feminine” light, and this is obvious through the little details. Rihanna’s long hair and flirty pink makeup showcase a much softer image than in Director X’s video. Her outfit adds to this bubblegum aesthetic, as she wears a pale jean skirt and a pink see-through top. Compare this look to Rihanna’s ensemble in Director X’s music video, where she pairs short hair and black lipstick with crotched cover up and bikini. Her yellow, green, and red cover up fits the raunchy islander vibe of the faux club this video is set in, appropriately named “The Real Jerk.” If you were wondering what Drake is wearing, he sports a red jumpsuit from his own brand, OVO, in Director X’s club scene. In Tim Erem’s video, he wears a Louis Vuitton long sleeved shirt with sweat pants.
Rihanna’s sexuality is also portrayed in different ways from video to video. Overall, Tim Erem’s video establishes a more traditionally romantic scenario. This could be attributed to the lack of extras, but can also be seen in the choreography and shots chosen. Erem focuses on Rihanna’s slow dance for Drake, while her eyes are locked on the camera. These details make the relationship between Drake and Rihanna more intimate. While Erem’s video gave the impression that she was dancing for Drake, Director X’s video made me feel like she was dancing for herself. I personally appreciated how her sexuality is portrayed in Director X’s video more than the other. Although it is much raunchier and sexually explicit, it felt like an honest depiction of Rihanna’s character and what it stands for. Rihanna’s power and self-love shined through, especially in the opening and ending shots of her dancing in front of a mirror. Overall, Director X’s video seemed to focus more on Rihanna herself, while Tim Erem’s video focused on Rihanna and Drake’s chemistry. Although my personal taste and outlook has me favoring Director X’s video, that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the romance and intimacy of Tim Erem’s pink dream.