WEEKEND | Video Clip of the Week #1: “Rock Your Body” as manifesto of modern physics

Justin Timberlake’s suggestion to “Rock Your Body” is presented pretty persuasively, precisely what makes this video so good. It’s actually and honestly about dancing (in a cube thing…?) and making the camera dance while you’re at it. The hyperspace of flashing lights and boxes is more than just smoke and mirrors, although there’s that too — light bulbs change color, flash symbols and sweep across the room’s frame with the same precision as JT’s slick dance moves.

The cuts to each of the camera’s shifting, spinning angles are perfectly in sync with every beat of the electronic funk jam. The effect is that in the dynamic world created by director Francis Lawrence (who also coordinated launching Shakira out of primordial ocean waters into a stallion-filled desert so that she could be “Whenever, Wherever” and, more recently, conceiving of Gaga’s “Bad Romance”), your only two options are to: a) obey JT’s command, “Dance with me”, or b) have a seizure.

If you’re still not convinced, check out the beat-boxing solo (around the 3:00 mark) when JT, sliding around in a decagonal metal cage, his long-sleeve white shirt loosely hanging off his body, whispers “Bring the beat back” and proceeds to spin around in a field of lights. Cool.

Occasionally, JT and his back-up dancers stand on sleek, black polished ground, while at other times they are suspended to/from/around “space”.The amount of floating in the video debunks the notion once and for all that one needs a dance floor — or gravity — to rock a body.

When the lights turn off at the end of the video, that idea of space collapses. One Justin becomes insufficient, and his figure is multiplied. (Luckily, there are still enough dance moves to go around for each of his incarnations.) SPOILER: At the end, with a knowing finger, the last Justin remaining beckons you with him to move into the void.

Count me in.

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