In the cult of pop, the DJ is the High Priest. (The MC is the High Priestess) He is the weaver of the magic that keeps the party hopping. He’s the reason why people go to clubs. Anyone who’s ever tried to replicate the club experience at home knows that without a skilled DJ, the party’s going to suck. He reads the crowd and selects just the right tune for the moment. This is why performers pay homage to the DJ in tracks aimed at getting club rotation.
The video plays this up in multiple dimensions. First, there’s the obvious, David’s keeping the endless party going by spinning the earth itself back to the beginning of the night, just like he would a record. That’s the first level of meaning, the hint that draws you deeper in.
Second, there’s the product placements. With the magic of pop, even crass commercialism can be rendered unto magic. You might look at all the placements and think, “what a gyp,” thinking that the placements broke the illusion. You’re not the target audience. It’s not for you.
If you throw this kind of party at your house, (or a beach, as this one is on) it is, again, likely to suck without commercial sponsorship. With the amount of money these companies sink into parties, you can do stuff like get huge light shows and slamming sound systems. Vitamin Water becomes social proof, it separates the men from the boys. Without it, you get this.
Who’s getting the better deal here? Nobody cares about Vitamin Water, all they care about is the party. That’s why when Vitamin Water sponsors a party the Kool-Aid/Vitamin Water is free. Vitamin Water also knows through the magic of data mining that this kind of spending is good for their bottom line. Ultimately, this is a win-win, each uses the other for their own purposes. Shared creation of illusion.
And if you moan and groan at the crass commercialism, that instantly marks you as out-group and gets you dis-invited to the next party. Help with the illusion or go home. Why else would you be at the club?
Finally, there’s the “little bad girl” lyrics, the final, aspirational layer. The real meat of the video, what it’s truly trying to convey. The key to understanding this layer is the light-rope dancing girls. You could be forgiven for thinking that these are the “little bad girls.”
But anyone who goes to clubs knows that these girls are as unapproachable as the bartender at a bar. Their job is to dance and look good. Bad girls don’t have paid security there to protect them. (not pictured in the video, but in a real club or sponsored party they would) In this cult, they’re the dedicates. They’ve a job to do, being the living artwork that the club-goers gaze at to help them buy into the illusion. Don’t waste your time on the hired guns, that shows you don’t get it. Take your picture (with your HTC camera phone) and move on.
What they’re there for is so that the real “Little Bad Girls” in the crowd don’t feel slutty for dancing the same way. They want to dance that way, they want to play that role. But they’re prevented from doing so by societal convention. (read: feminism) They’re the ones that need the illusion. Good girls don’t act this way, even drunk. In this cult, they’re the deity/demon being summoned. It takes the magic of the DJ and the party/illusion he weaves to convince them it’s OK.
The “Little Bad Girl” is a narcissistic construction, literally everything in the video is aimed at creating them. The party, the music, hypnotic lights, lit-up dancers, sexy lyrics, the DJ, MCs, reversing the earth’s rotation, the product placements. Everything you see is aimed at getting the regular girls to suspend their disbelief, let their hair down, and shake their booties. It’s the big-money version of “ladies night” at your local club. The DJ knows it, the MCs know it, the guys know it, the light-rope dancers know it, Vitamin Water knows it, the girls know it, and you should know it too.
If you want one of the girls, you have to get the illusion and work to perpetuate it. No amount of cash, good looks, or anything people associate with being able to “get girls” will help you unless you can do this. And even if you don’t have them, you’ll be able to have a good time anyway and even get a girl on occasion. That’s the true democracy of pop.
Share the illusion. It’s more fun that way.