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Badu, Gaga, Bieber reviving music video buzz

Erykah Badu performs at the New Orleans Jazz

Erykah Badu performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Saturday, April 25, 2009 in New Orleans. The festival features hundreds of acts on 12 stages this weekend and next. The festival will continue Sunday and pick up again on Thursday. Among this year's headline acts are Bon Jovi, Neil Young, Kings of Leon and Sugarland. (AP Photo/Cheryl Gerber) ltc Photo Credit: AP Photo/

    With all the current hubbub about Erykah Badu’s naked “Window Seat” video, Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s murderous “Telephone’ video, and Justin Bieber holding hands with a young lady in his “Never Let You Go” video, it’s easy to forget that the music video is a long way from the pop culture roost it once ruled.

    But maybe that’s changing. Right now, musicians are treating videos like it’s 1999. Gaga, after all, just became the first artist ever to have her videos streamed more than a billion times – and that was even before “Telephone” hit it stride.

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    Badu says her video, where she strips naked at the site where President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and is then shot herself, is meant to challenge the idea of “groupthink.” “[My] character assassination due to mob mentality/groupthink is the theme of the ‘Window Seat’ video,” she explains on her Twitter. “The message is encoded.”

    Though Badu’s message is clearly debatable, the fact that she chose the music video as her medium isn’t. The same goes for Gaga’s video, which has kept the blogosphere buzzing for weeks and even inspired scene-by-scene breakdowns of its pop culture references and even the designers of all of her costumes. It has even revived debate about MTV, which actually does still air videos, and its decision to censor references to Gaga sponsor Virgin Mobile cell phones while the scenes where Gaga and Beyonce poison dozens in a diner airs as originally released.

    “I’m always trying to convolute everyone's idea of what a pop music video should be,” Gaga told E! News. Maybe her latest trick is getting everyone to talk about it again as an art form.

PHOTO: Erykah Badu at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival by Associated Press.

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