Vanity Fair Article
After releasing her new single, “Bad Liar,” at the end of May, Selena Gomez has debuted its highly anticipated music video, helmed by former Girls director Jesse Peretz. It has a distinct 70s style, perhaps an homage to the Talking Heads’ 1977 song “Psycho Killer,” which was sampled on the track (and given the stamp of approval by David Byrne himself). It’s a departure from Gomez’s past videos, which have typically stuck to a simple format with little to no narrative or characters besides herself. “Bad Liar” is the antithesis of these earlier videos, and it is also very, very confusing.
Throughout the three minute and 57 second video, Gomez takes on the roles of four different characters and their accompanying wigs: a high school student, a gym teacher, the student’s mother, and the principal or teacher of the high school (it isn’t clear) who is also maybe the student’s step-dad or biological father. The student keeps an eye on the maybe-principal, who continues to flirt with the gym teacher before we see him head home in a car driven by his presumed wife/the student’s mother. They share a tense dinner before (student) Gomez comes home after basketball practice and heads off to her room to dance off the day, apparently, to her own song. She eventually lays down on her bed and pulls out a candid Polaroid of the gym teacher, which she somehow has access to, from underneath her pillow and smiles.
Yeah . . . what?
There is one takeaway from the video that is fairly certain: student Gomez has a crush on her feather-haired gym teacher, who is also Selena Gomez. Unfortunately, this leaves us with more questions than answers about the very plot-heavy video. Is this man the principal or a teacher? Is he the student’s step-dad or biological dad? Is he cheating on his wife with the gym teacher? If not, what is the purpose of having a mother/wife character in the first place? Shouldn’t he not be conspicuously touching his crotch while watching a high school girls basketball team practice?
There are no obvious answers to these questions, except that this music video could have stood to cut a character. But lest we forget, Selena Gomez is not just a singer, she’s a performer, a businesswoman, and most recently, an executive producer of Netflix’s extremely successful series 13 Reasons Why. For Gomez, the video serves as a vehicle to show off her talents, which include both performing and moving merchandise. You can buy the tank top she wore as well as other pieces of memorabilia seen throughout the video on her website now, along with the soundtrack to 13 Reasons Why on cassette tape, should that be something you would like to purchase.