Chance the Rapper’s most recent video, “Same Drugs,” is a let down. Given the expectations Chance has set for himself with his critically acclaimed album, Coloring Book, his powerful performance on SNL last winter and a slew of other noteworthy creative endeavors, the video is a let down. Not only does the “Same Drugs” video not live up to Chance’s track record — it fails the complexity and quality of the original. The CDQ track of “Same Drugs” moves smoothly between wanting and uplifting. Chance sings of love lost and a childhood left behind, before ending with a positive look at the future.

The video mimics something like a 1980s children’s TV variety show: the type one might see on “Sesame Street” or any other PBS program, where Chance plays piano next to a goofy looking muppet in a jazzercise get up. As he croons the first verse, the muppet lays slumped on his shoulder.

Aesthetically, the first two thirds is a strange mix of contemporary minimalism and 1980s maximalism. The shots are simple, but everything is soaked in a pink tint, and both Chance and the Muppet have loud outfits on. It’s more of a headache than it is nostalgic.

And the first verse drags. It’s mostly Chance singing and supporting a passed out muppet. The moment of climax and excitement, when the muppet wakes up for the chorus, might have been more exciting if it wasn’t entirely predictable. In any case, the muppet wakes up and adds her own set of vocals, jarring in comparison to the smooth croon of the album version.

There is one last twist; towards the end of the video, Chance leaves the set of the faux variety show to reveal everyone working the set is also a muppet. The retro tint disappears and Chance walks off the set as the song plays out.

The message here is kinda fun, albeit a bit obvious. Muppets pretending to be humans are equal parts nodding to a childish surrealism and a drug addled reality. Coloring book is an album drenched with a heartwarming nostalgia for simpler times. Thematically, the video lines up with the album’s overarching theme.

So Chance gets some points for trying. The video’s not cliché or derivative, or lacking from any artistic vision. It’s just, unfortunately, pretty boring.

YouTube video


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