“Heartless,” But for Kanye It’s Hopeless
“Heartless” from 808s & Hearkbreak
Influences: Peter Max, Yellow Submarine, Pop Art
The premise is simple: woman are changeful and cold. And they can apparently take your soul, too! Who knew?
I listened to this song way too many times when it was released, I admit. It was always on the radio or playing over the speakers in a store.
I never got around to watching the video until a few days ago, and I was incredibly put off.
First of all, this is certainly the face of a woman who is cold and unfeeling:
Try again, Kanye. I’m not convinced she’s a bitch.
But more than the coloring book animation style, more than the trite story, what irritated me the most were the soup cans.
Because when I’ve just broken up with someone, I always go into my corner and cry under my paintings of Campbells. Right.
Needless to say, the shots of the woman and the soup cans drove me into an inarticulate rage. I spent half a minute trying to wrestle out words before I had to give up and type it.
Not only do the cans lack context, they also seem utterly devoid of any meaning. It just exists to reference Andy and pop culture.
How unique, a meaningless pop culture reference in a meaningless pop culture video.
At 2:20, the woman starts gyrating against a painting of a cartoon character. What is Kanye trying to tell me here? She’s just a decorative object similar to the pop art hanging all over the apartment. Also, she likes to corrupt boys by grinding her butt against them. Remember, she has no real feelings other than horny.
And then it gets even better. On the apartment walls are three more images of The Jetsons characters.
Animation is difficult and labor intensive and time consuming. Nothing is put in there arbitrarily. The juxtaposition of the male and female characters against the paintings of the Jetsons characters is not random chance. The male singer is positioned between the teenage girl and the mom, in front of the robot. Then there is a shot inserted where he is in front of the dog, Astro, which is presumably hanging in another part of the house. Astro has his huge tongue hanging out, panting for the sexy lady across from him. Or is that what Kanye is doing? He’s associated himself with lust, pure animal lust. I really find that slobbery tongue attractive, I do.
Now the woman is in front of the little boy Elroy. This character is the prodigy, the brilliant child in the family. But still a child, still controlled by father and mother. What are you saying to me, Kanye? Yeah, women might be clever, but you still look at them as children?
According to this video, women might be heartless, but it’s okay, they have their vaginas.
I’ll leave you with this, which I love because of its self-indulgent dependence on the male gaze. (Why have one, when you can have three???)