Music Video Cliches – No 1. Hot Girls On Drugs

I wouldn’t normally squander precious seconds of my life watching a Groove Armada video, but since Popjustice‘s Peter Robinson described their new track ‘Paper Romance’ as “really good”, I thought I’d take a look.

Turns out he’s wrong about the song. It’s not very good at all. But that’s not what bothers me about it. It’s more the fact that the video conforms to one of the laziest music video cliches of all – namely, the attractive, druggy woman, wandering around looking dishevelled and ‘edgy’.

These videos are always the same. You’re supposed to think the woman in question is all damaged and mysterious and lost, so the director can kid himself he’s making some meaningful point about youthful nihilism when really he’s just fulfilling a four-word brief: hot girl on drugs.

Indeed, the ‘hot girl on drugs’ trope is so ubiquitous, it’s practically a genre in itself. Key markers include:

1. Smudged mascara.

2. A slow-motion ‘coming up’ scene. Followed inevitably by…

3. A gritty comedown scene, usually set in a toilet.

Here are a few other notable examples of the ‘hot girl on drugs’ genre.

Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun
A classic of the genre. Hot girl takes drugs, stares in the mirror. ‘Trippiness’ ensues. [Watch]

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
You know, the one that was ‘banned my MTV’ (even though it wasn’t, they actually gave it two awards).

Simian Mobile Disco – Cruel Intentions
Features plenty of slow-mo coming up action, although it’s not clear what drug the woman might have taken, given that it’s administered via a three-pronged plug in her armpit.

Simian Mobile Disco – The Hustler
Hot girls on drugs are evidently something of an obsession for SMD – this video boasts a whole room of them.

Orbital – The Box
In some respects the original and best hot girl on drugs video, starring Tilda Swinton in the role of someone having the least fun acid trip ever.