Lea Michele tried to prove with her debut album Louder that she has the potential to become a pop star in her own right. There she took baby steps, as she balanced her Broadway-inspired roots with modern EDM leanings, the best example of the latter being the Fernando Garibay-assisted “On My Way.” (The Mexican producer had worked with Natalia Kills, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.) With her new “On My Way” video, debuted today (May 19), she takes a huge leap in that same direction.
The problem is, she’s trying too hard. Here’s what happens: Michele and her friends embark on a road trip through the desert and to various cutesy resorts. The guy that’s inspired her “blackout state of mind,” as per her lyrics, is a scruffy blond with perfectly floppy hair. Whether she’s in a crowd or alone with him, though, Michele’s attention is rarely on her company – it’s on us, the viewer, as she shoots smoldering glances at the camera to prove herself as a Grown Woman. The longer the Crossroads-esque plot plays out, the more it’s interrupted with other scenes of her writhing in a bathtub and on her motel room door.
None of this is to say that Michele should be forever young or as squeaky clean as her starring role in Glee. (The scene of her and her man diving under the covers is actually cute!) It would also be unfair to criticize Michele’s video without recognizing that nearly every female coming-of-age pop video plays out somewhat like this, where the star bends and contorts her body into impossible angles — pouting, thrusting and arching — in heavy-handed efforts to show she’s not that innocent anymore. (For whatever reason, Christina Milian‘s “Dip It Low” video comes to mind.) Still, in efforts to break free from her TV role as a high-schooler, her “On My Way” video is industry-dictated overkill. Here, she’s “growing up” too fast.
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