As one who considers herself to be a long-time resident of Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation," I was feeling all the best feels imaginable when Twitter let me know that Jackson's highly anticipated music video for her new single, "No Sleep," had dropped on Friday, July 24. I have always been a staunch supporter of Jackson's inimitably sensual stylings, and her latest video has once again exceeded my baby-making music expectations. The video takes place at Jackson's opulent two-story, where she — as the lyrics have already indicated — is waiting for a subject of amour to arrive so that they can spend the night doing grown-up things that are a lot more fun than snoozing. The romantic suitor in question appears to be (surprise!) J. Cole, who shows up mid-way to rap sweet nothings to our gal, Jackson.
But wait! There is a caveat to this late-night hookup, as the entire video seems to be threaded together by the theme of sleep deprivation. In fact, no horizontal action even takes place, as Jackson is about ready to keel over and become enveloped by zz's at any moment. As an avid fan of naps, I know that feel, girl. Throughout the video, hazy shots are interspersed to cultivate an image of someone who has been up longer than a grad student writing their thesis, a magical magnifying glass appears, and Cole turns into about 10 different Coles. All that being said, the video is stunning, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Let's break down the most beautifully strange moments in "No Sleep" and the ways that it serves as the ultimate cautionary tales for sleep deprivation.
1. "Plush" Is Written On Some Rain-Soaked Condensation
You know how when you're really tired, you just start scribbling random words like "plush" on windows? Yup, this video starts out on a sleepy/sensual note.
2. Jackson Cradling This Cup Of Tea
Right from the get, she's aching to go off to dreamland, guys.
3. This Never-Ending Magnifying Glass Of Doom
Who's ready for some tunnel vision? There's no denying that this is a killer shot, but I also think someone needs to tuck Jackson in at this point.
4. The Blurriest Image Of All Time
No, I'm not terrible at taking screenshots — this blurred image was very much on purpose. The shots of Jackson grow hazy at various times, indicating that she may need to go from "No Sleeep" to lots of sleep ASAP.
5. Cole Is Inexplicably Locked Out In The Rain
Not long after Cole appears out of nowhere on Jackson's couch, we suddenly pan over to a shot of him inexplicably locked out in the rain — he even has a different shirt on! He doesn't seem to mind, however, as anyone at a certain point of sleep deprivation experiences some apathy.
6. Suddenly There Are A Bunch Of Coles!
Have you ever had the experience of seeing double? How about triple? Or quadruple? That's exactly what happens when Cole reenters Jackson's house as inexplicably as he left, and suddenly a bevy of Coles are congesting the shot. IMHO, you can never have too many Coles, so I am perfectly fine with this.
7. The "No Sleeep" Crooner Goes To Sleep
The closing shot of "No Sleeep" features Jackson completely passed out on her couch — she didn't even make it up the stairs. As one who makes a habit of falling asleep on couches, I've never felt so close to the R&B star.
I would be remised if I didn't mention that the music video also features various projected polaroid shots of Jackson during her childhood — a lovely, personal touch. Overall, I would say that the video is spectacular, even though it reminds me that I need to get better at catching a full eight hours of zz's per night.
Images: VEVO (8)