I’m hooked on Toni Braxton’s newish single and video, “You Make My Heart,” not only because Toni and I currently have the same haircut (seriously, it’s almost identical, if I had a decent camera I’d show you… I emailed my hairstylist to tell her Toni’s sweatin’ my style, and she responded, “She totally wasted your flava. Let’s sue!”), but also because the song is really fucking fun. Its production is reminiscent of old school house or 90’s runway music, which works well because despite maintaining a decently regular release schedule of three or four albums since her early-mid 90’s heyday, Toni Braxton is still like inherently nostalgic. I love how the song’s chorus defies expectations, is almost deliberately unsatisfying, landing on and then repeatedly hammering this unresolved note (it’s probably like a half step or something, yeah? If I was better w/ music theory, I could probably explain myself more effectively), which creates this sense of anxiety, anticipation, that keeps listeners’ bodies on edge until the melody resolves itself accompanied by Toni’s brilliantly meaningless, “Ba da bum bum bum.” The lyrics are utterly indistinct and cut-and-paste, but that doesn’t really matter, because this song is about the body, it’s an injunction to move.
…To which the video attests. This is maybe my favorite video choreography I’ve ever seen. Instead of a bunch of jerky, posed video hos, we’ve got urban dance in its original context — a basement party, as social dance. Communication. These folks are having a really good time. They are dancing for themselves, not the camera. And who are these folks? Large people, Queer people, everyday-looking young people of color. I think it’s kinda liberatory. And then that their dance is juxtaposed with Toni swaying all badass against this polychromatic backdrop… it’s like the dancers, through their dance, are also accessing this fantasy of glam celebrity fierceness. I hope people hear this shit and tear it up.