The Wanted’s “Walks Like Rihanna” Video: A Trip Through Boy Band History

Sam Lansky | May 8, 2013 5:49 am

The Wanted‘s winsomely abysmal new single “Walks Like Rihanna” has a video now, and it’s a weird one. It follows the boys as they meet with their video director (who’s really hot and walks like Rihanna, presumably, although as far as I can tell she mostly just walks like a person), and they have a lot of funny concepts for videos that they try out, most of which contain references to cheesy videos from boy bands past.

Cute, right? The Wanted as Backstreet Boys. The Wanted as NSYNC. It’s practically a work of historical fiction. 

But it’s not! It’s not at all. See, the problem is that it’s an ironic video for a song that’s bereft of irony: The most tragic thing about the single is that it’s executed with cringe-inducing sincerity, with nothing in the lyrics or delivery that suggests a line as embarrassing as, “She’s the freakiest thing, you gotta see her,” is played for laughs. So pairing an earnestly corny song with a video parodying risible boy bands of the past suggests a self-consciousness about the ridiculousness of the song that isn’t actually present in the song. Do they know that the song is terrible (and also brilliant, but mostly terrible)? Do they know that it’s equally as cheesy as any LFO b-side?

Maybe, maybe not. But “Walks Like Rihanna” is one of the rare videos that makes me like the song much less — like they’re trying to cover up how mortifying the song is by pretending it was their plan to make fun of the goofiness of boy bands all along. Sing the hell out of that song like you believe every word of it, or sell it as a parody, but don’t try to do both at once.

At least they were smart enough not to take on One Direction.

What do you think of The Wanted’s new video? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.