Everyone was well aware when the song originally dropped in March, that it is Justin Bieber’s unofficial intention with “Girlfriend” to establish himself as the logical heir to the erstwhile Justin Timberlake. So no one can be surprised, or even insulted, really, that the video for the track, which dropped last night around 8 p.m., is positively rife with classic ’90s boy band signifiers.
The Director X-helmed clip’s first 30 seconds are exciting. There’s darkness, mystery, sexual imagery (icicles! gears!), even a momentary paean to Michael Jackson in the form of a silhouetted pose — everything seems to suggest things are going in the direction of “serious, kickass pop artist.” And then, psych! Just kidding. That was a music video within a music video. Here’s the real story: cue the sports cars, scantily clad girls, sunshine, and Bieber bouncing back and forth with some hip-hop moves. This is an 18-year-old dance party, no more, no less. We just checked our calendars, just to be sure; don’t worry, it’s not 2001. Us *NSYNC diehards have sworn we’ve seen this song-named-for-significant-other-set-at-a-street-race thing before, though.
Nevertheless, Beliebers (predictably) aren’t fazed by the heavy-handed, er, borrowing: although Rihanna just broke the YouTube record for most views in 24 hours for nest-filled “Where Have You Been,” Biebs is definitely on his way there. Within a little more than 12 hours, the video for “Boyfriend” has more than 2 million views. We would totally request this live if we could. Miss you, Carson.