Even though local filmmaker Harmony Korine didn’t direct the above video for B.o.B. and Taylor Swift’s “Both of Us,” which premiered on MTV today, there is little about the Nashville-set clip that makes sense. First off, I’ve done my share of drinking down at Melrose Billiards, and one thing I’ve definitely never stumbled upon in such travels is a distant, lost and pensive Sweet Baby Tay-Tay drowning sorrows by her lonesome. So, for starters, this video takes place in a world in which Taylor Swift rolls solo to divey Nashville bars.
Other things to look out for: A recurring American flag motif and a quick shot of Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. As for the song itself, it sounds like some studio whiz took a stock, sing-songy Taylor Swift chorus and an unfinished, uplifting, “Where Is the Love”-style hip-hop track — two aesthetically but not conceptually disparate things — and Frankensteined them together, resulting in a sound that can only be described as … Swift-hop?
Watch the MTV/VH1 “Behind the Video” clip below to learn the true adversity facing Swift and B.o.B. on the “Both of Us” shoot: Bugs — spiders, mosquitos, chiggers — they were everywhere, apparently. In the segment (below), British director Jake Nava says, “My vision for the video is like a kinda collage [pronounced kullodge] of different aspects of humanity in the Southern states, particularly around Nashville.”
So in other words, nothing really happens in this video. And both of the collaborators, Swift and B.o.B., are shown together in, according to my count, only three blink-and-you-might-miss-them shots. The rest of the time the separated pair appear only as two kindred spirits living parallel lives, thousand-yard staring their way through low-income Southern livin’. Not to be cynical, but it seems to me like the folks behind this clip (or at least the fierce guardians of Swift’s apple-pie-sweet image) went to great lengths to avoid implying any sexual tension between the two performers, typically the hallmark of a weighty, one-off duet — as seen here.