Welcome to the TGS Video Breakdown Series, where I take a look at the music videos of some of our favorite artists and point out the awesome, the absurd, and the inexplicable. This week we look at Fergie’s 2007 hit, “Glamorous”, featuring Ludacris.
From the moment she joined the Black Eyed Peas and sang on their 2003 mega single “Where is the Love”, Fergie seemed destined for solo stardom. She released “The Duchess” three years later and it predictably shot to the top of the charts, racking up five hit singles. “Glamorous” is the third single from “The Duchess”, a song about the crazy lifestyle that comes with fame and how Fergie remains grounded by remembering her humble beginnings. And speaking of those humble beginnings, let’s take a trip back in time shall we? The setting is 1994:
At a backyard kegger (apparently attended by a time-traveling Polo da Don, who produced this track and would have probably been a teenager in 1994):
In east Los Angeles:
Wait, you thought I could tell the location of this flashback was east Los Angeles because of this subheading? In point of fact, I was actually tipped off by the stocking capped, sunglass wearing gentleman with the bedazzled denim jacket that has “Los Angeles” printed in rhinestone on the back:
Bonus points awarded for the sparked downtown LA skyline. This jacket is a work of art and if any of you reading this truly love me, you’ll gift me this incredible item on or around December 25, 2016. Now that we know when and where we are, let’s take a peek at the party:
Notice the brightness of the red Solo cups against the Sepia tinted tone of the rest of the shot. This is high art, people. Wait a minute, has anyone seen Fergie? Is she filling the cups? Getting herself a slice of pizza, perhaps?
Ahh, there’s our star. There’s subtly a lot to unpack in this gif. Again, notice the contrast in colors (this time Fergie’s bright blonde hair in addition to the red cups), her Black Eyed Peas bandmate apl.de.ap. to her right grooving along with the song. Some near golf clapping from the dude in the oversized jacket with a football jersey underneath. And on Fergie’s left appears to be the adult, real life version of Cartman from South Park. Actually, let’s see that gif again to just make sure we got everything:
Got it? Good. We need to move on now because these next two gifs are something special. It is here that we see the tremendous respect that Fergie has for the history of music, and by extension, music videos. The great ones always pay tribute to the legends of the past, and here, in the great tradition of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and “Bad” videos, we get some choreographed dancing from gang members:
Incredible. You know what they say—if you’re in east LA and find yourself in the wrong neighborhood late at night…you better be prepared to dance. Potentially for your life. You won’t be cut any slack. This is an amazing moment, and before you can gather your thoughts to comprehend what you just witnessed, this happens:
**RECORD SCRATCH** Wait…what? Is that who I think it is? Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Alfonso from “Silver Spoons”? Our greatest “Dancing with the Stars” champion? You mean to tell me that an adult Carlton Banks just happened to be at the same east LA party as Fergie in 1994? The math in this video isn’t adding up. Regardless, we must power through.
“Glamorous” is essentially Fergie’s “Jenny from the Block”, in which she contrasts the lifestyle that fame has brought her with the simpler life she led before. No matter how much money and accolades she currently has, she’s still just a regular, down to earth person. Who sometimes sips champagne on a private jet:
Get it Ferg! Despite this lavish setting, she gives gives us an immediate contrast by singing the praises of Taco Bell while giving us a visual of picking up fast food in a limousine:
Great image, right? Fade into—a flashback of Fergie at the same drive though, in what we can only assume is 1994, in a white Mustang. Times have changed for our heroine.
THEM EARRINGS THO. Normally I’m not a fan of softball sized jewelry, but somehow these work on Fergie. Also, these intermittent flashbacks are outstanding. I feel like I’m watching an episode of Lost. This motif actually gets taken to the extreme mid-video, where we get to Ludacris’ verse. Luda and Lil Wayne shared the guest verse crown in the mid 2000s, and here he gets to indulge in some Bonnie and Clyde style role play in what seems to be a “Glamorous” movie?
Look at this thousand-yard stare. This is the look of a man who knows he’s about to drop an incredible verse:
This section of the video is pretty harrowing. Ludacris and Fergie, circa 1927, fighting off the long arm of the law:
But wait, plot twist! It was a movie the whole time!
This video is way more meta than I anticipated. My brain hurts. These are complex ideas, people. Overall, Fergie seems to be conflicted with her new life. Maybe fame isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. “Glamorous”, then, is an ironic title with a hint of melancholy (think Britney Spears’ “Lucky”). The video closes on yet another flashback, with a young Fergie recalling her father’s sage advice about how cold the music industry is. Apparently he told Fergie this at age 8:
A wise man, indeed.
Just this. This really says everything that needs to be said. About this video. And about life. Forever mood: