Gwen Stefani: remember her? The 45-year-old pop star no doubt hopes that you do, and in the opening moments of her new music video “Baby Don’t Lie,” Stefani’s look is certainly familiar. Shot in black-and-white, Stefani poses sexily for the camera with her traditional platinum blonde hair and sharp lipstick, sporting her half-classical, half-punk aesthetic.
From there on out, though, we are in uncharted territory. In the first of many bizarre choices, Stefani is swallowed up by a tornado of her own lyrics and transplanted into some kind of psychedelic wonderland. The video largely consists of Stefani walking down a yellow road against a series of shifting abstract backgrounds. There are pulsating striped mountains, colorful Stefani clones that appear suddenly and then vanish, and what appear to be a series of female silhouettes playing volleyball.
Needless to say, it is unclear what any of this has to do with the song itself, a fairly inconsequential but catchy number about a suspicious lover, tinged with EDM soundscapes. At one point in the video, Stefani pulls out a smartphone and swipes to a new environment. That is a pretty succinct summary of the video as a whole: it lacks a sustained focus, and is constantly switching gears to stave off potential boredom.
On that note, I suppose it succeeds—you cannot accuse the “Baby Don’t Lie” video of being boring. You can, however, accuse it of being ugly and visually assaultive, which it is. At times the video looks like the peculiar love child of a drugged-out James Bond credits sequence and a malfunctioning MacBook screen—and that is no lie.