After four years of silence, Ashanti’s back, and back with a vengeance. Her new video, “The Way That I Love You,” from her upcoming album The Declaration, is based on the Oxygen reality show Snapped, a series that profiles women accused of murder. In the video, Ashanti stabs her boyfriend to death after finding proof of infidelity on her honey’s Sidekick:

As the video cycles through the evidence — bloody knife on the floor, bloody footprint, bloody body in the bathtub — it does a competent job of condensing the drama of, say, Forensic Files, into 4:21 seconds, while convincing us that this louse did a very bad thing, and that the well-coiffed Ashanti was driven over the edge. (The vid’s director is Kevin Bray, who’s directed episodes of CSI: NY and Cold Case.) “When women snap, they do crazy things,” she says in an MTV News interview.

Two things detract from my enjoyment of this video (not to mention my own failure in “setting the scene” — it’s Friday morning, the birds are chirping outside my bedroom window, I’ve got a purring cat in my lap, etc .etc.): For one, this vid is based on a television show. Okay, a reality TV show, you got me there. But somewhere in this visual carousel of art-imitating-art-as-a-pale-simulacrum-of-life, I feel a little cheated. Isn’t there enough drama in the so-called “real” world to fuel such incisive artistic commentary? Also, just to be a little petty: Ashanti’s rubber-room garb — a silver floor-length ballroom gown — is nicer than anything I’d ever hope to own. I’d kill to own something like that. Now wait a minute…

What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you like the video? Are you psyched for the Ashanti’s return? Or do you think “The Way That I Love You” deserves to be booked on charges?