Justin Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision” does a disservice to nudity

"Tunnel Vision"—Justin Timberlake
“Tunnel Vision”—Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake, the talented and affable former Mouseketeer and N’Sync frontman, the ex-boyfriend of Britney Spears and current fixture on “Saturday Night Live” and “Jimmy Fallon,” proves that nudity is not a Band-Aid for bad music in “Tunnel Vision.”

“Zoom Zoom,” croons Timberlake like the kid from the Mazda commercials, as a bevy of sexless, athletic nudes litter a soundstage. The overproduced ditty finds Timberlake uncertain of which overdubbed, overprocessed lyrics to mime to and, though his image is superimposed over the bodies of the women, he doesn’t interact with them at all.

"Tunnel Vision"—Justin Timberlake
“Tunnel Vision”—Justin Timberlake

Some critics fret that women are once again objectified by the he-should-know-better Timberlake, that JT himself shows no skin, that—and this is charitable—”Tunnel Vision” is a metaphor for the limited scope of the Male Gaze and is in fact Timberlake’s self-effacing commentary on his own shallowness.

I say that is a cynical way of gussying up a pretty bad song.

"Blurred Lines"—Robin Thicke
“Blurred Lines”—Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video, meanwhile, is a goddamn party.

"Blurred Lines"—Robin Thicke
“Blurred Lines”—Robin Thicke

Not only is it a fun song (well, it might be argued that it’s about date rape, in which case it wouldn’t be fun, but Thicke is Canadian and I refuse to believe that of him), but Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams, who cavort with models Emily Ratajkowski, Jessi M’Bengue, and Elle Evans, act as if the models’ nudity and their good time are related. Which They Are.


The only complaint I have about the video is that I think it’s going to inspire some serious hashtag douchebaggery.

"Girls on Film"—Duran Duran
“Girls on Film”—Duran Duran

Duran Duran’s 1982 album “Rio” spawned two racy videos that were not only titillating but also—especially in the case of the Helmut Newton and ocarina-inspired “Chauffeur”—made narrative sense.

For example, in “Girls on Film,” Duran Duran is singing about girls who appear on film. Why wouldn’t they be naked?

Duran Duran – Girls On Film [Uncensored] by hushhush112

It just makes sense.

"The Chauffeur"—Duran Duran
“The Chauffeur”—Duran Duran

“The Chauffeur” tells the story of three femme-y dominatrices who all take vehicles to the same London garage, then do dances there.

Duran Duran – The Chauffeur [uncensored] from mm1 on Vimeo.

Then there’s 1989’s “Wicked Game,” which ties it all together.

"Wicked Game"—Chris Isaak
“Wicked Game”—Chris Isaak

Cannily (get it?) showing nought but the butt-crack of Helena Christensen, Herb Ritts’ splendid video of Chris Isaak’s languid torch song is the perfect marriage of nudity and audio. Isaak and Christensen are all over each other because the viewer feels they want to be.

Timberlake’s lack of proximity, emotional or otherwise, makes the nudity in “Tunnel Vision” a wasted effort. I’m assuming he still gets laid as much as Joey Fatone, though.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: “Jaws XXX 3D”—Nice Quint; “Smell the Glove”—when Julie Simone met Joe Gallant; Gracie Glam in a tub, Carmen Luvana in pigtails, crackers in my mouth

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  1. While I think your assessment of Timberlake’s video is dead-on, especially when compared to the others (especially Blurred Lines), I really like the song itself, and will entertain no criticisms. Also, and I argue this just to do it, but the fact that Timberlake isn’t interacting with the women (were they even in the same place at the same time?) *could* be a play on the title/theme of the song, which is to say he doesn’t see them, because he’s focused on the subject of the song.

    Or something.

  2. I want JT (James Taylor, too) to continue being successful, and for that reason I’d hope there’s some deeper meaning. But it just seemed like the direction involved him improvising miles and weeks away from the female money shots of the video. I’m not sure that song is going to grow on me. I’m just going to associate it with despair and modern dance.

  3. I didn’t even know there was an uncut version because even the more modest one (that accompanied the original post) got the job done. Thank you!

  4. I really like your analysis using the “male gaze ” as a reference as well for these two videos. I appreciate both videos but actually see them as two completely different artistic concepts. Blurred Lines is a, in fact, a party as you said. By contrast, as the the first commenter said, Tunnel Vision is not a party, is a visual concept of have the temptations of the flesh of all the other woman and not seeing any of them because of having “tunnel vision” for his love. That being said, I see be your viewpoint how it is a waste of nudity while looking at the women as meat of course.

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