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Hot (and not) music videos

Hot (and not) music videos — See what we thought of the latest offerings from Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, and others

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Hot (and not) music videos

Got a bad case of the postholiday sads? Allow us to prescribe some YouTube Rx: the latest in escapist, candy-colored music videos. Below, we’ve separated the best (yay, White Stripes!) from the rest (oh, Britney).

ALICIA KEYS, ”Like You’ll Never See Me Again”
The Premise Beginning at the end — with Alicia’s onscreen lover, rapper Common, bloodied and flatlining on an operating table — the doomed affair is traced backward in dusky, blue-lit vignettes.
Does It Work? Alicia and Common have acted together before (in last year’s Smokin’ Aces), and it shows in their convincing intimacy. A-

BRITNEY SPEARS, ”Piece of Me”
The Premise Diary of a Mad Pop Star. The clip for Britney’s most confrontational song to date depicts her as a paparazzi muse whose decoy doppelgängers only whet the press’ appetite further.
Does It Work? Even as she struts and sneers, her old sparkle is strangely muted. The once-dazzling performer now lip-synchs listlessly — and dances like she’s wearing one of Sean Preston’s full diapers. C

ASHLEY TISDALE, ”Not Like That”
The Premise The High School Musical star mines Britney’s territory: ”All the flashing cameras/Try my best to handle it/I’m just the girl next door…” Thankfully, this girl next door has lots of outfit changes and an entourage to help keep her real.
Does It Work? Better than Brit’s, yes; Ashley actually seems to be enjoying the ride. B+

HOT HOT HEAT, ”Harmonicas & Tambourines”
The Premise The arch new-wave outfit’s bouncy anthem takes a dive perm-first into ’80s cable-access cliché (tinsel backdrops! neon graphics!) and John Hughes teen-movie tropes.
Does It Work? Like, fer sure. Singer Steve Bays even does an excellent little knock-kneed Molly Ringwald jig. B+

CHRIS BROWN, ”With You”
The Premise Love blooms on public transportation as a city bus brings boy and girl together, while Chris trips his signature liquid-fantastic moves.
Does It Work? The concept isn’t much without his inimitable dancing, but the tune — a sweet acoustic departure — suits the lower-key visuals. B+

THE WHITE STRIPES, ”Conquest”
The Premise Jack White: rocker, blues enthusiast, toreador! The singer-guitarist hams it up like a silent-film hero, taking on el toro in the ring.
Does It Work? Like a Spanish charm — though drummer Meg, as Jack’s not-so-trusty sidekick, narrowly loses the best-supporting role to a bull that cries pearly crocodile tears. Still, bueno! A

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