In Ariana Grande’s music video for “Love Me Harder,” featuring The Weeknd, the 21-year old Florida native delivers one of the most banal performances yet—a feat previously thought impossible, considering Grande’s uncomfortably long history of making videos of herself lying on a rotating floor, touching her face, and lip-synching lyrics—all with a doe-eyed stare straddling the fine line between cute and creepy.
The video is dishearteningly similar to its predecessors. Bringing Grande’s tropes to a new setting—a partially computer-generated place appearing to be an abandoned haunted house filled with sand—the production contains virtually every element a Grande video is expected to involve: white nail polish, fake eyelashes, and four minutes and 10 seconds of Ariana Grande casually caressing herself to compensate for an evident lack of dance skills.
Apart from scenes in which lightning bolts and hyperlapse footage of ominous clouds elicit the occasional “wow” and “cool” from viewers, the imagination of the video is lacking. The Weeknd strolls through secret passageways in the bowels of the haunted house. Meanwhile, Grande spends her screen-time sitting on a chair seductively, slightly deviating from her usual 12-year-old-sporting-a-high-ponytail persona.
When you are a post-Nickelodeon pop princess with a great voice (and an even greater ability to rock cat ears and leather unmentionables), you do not have to worry much about ingenuity. Grande has a built-in fan base, equal parts pre-teen girls and young adult men. Regardless of the thought and energy (or lack thereof) required to create the finished product, this recent addition to the star’s video saga begs the questions: if Grande is not sprawled atop a rotating surface, lying in a pool of her own hair, is it really a Grande music video?
Featured Image Courtesy of Republic Records