First of all, before you do anything, watch this music video. You will not regret it.
Okay, now that you have done that…
Ughhhh Missy, I’m always so, so thankful when you come back into our lives. I hope that you are here to stay for a while. Thankfully, with this new hit comes rumors of an upcoming album. Missy hasn’t had an album since The Cookbook in 2005 (of “Lose Control” fame). Better ’05 and ’11, Missy focused most of her energy on producing for and/or being featured with artists including Monica, Jennifer Hudson, Keyshia Cole, J. Cole. Fantasia, and Faith Evans. Elliot’s hiatus from music around 2011 was due to complications from Graves’s disease. She was relatively silent until 2015. Since ’14, Elliot has only released three songs—“W.T.F.,” “Pep Rally,” and now “I’m Better.” Missy made a big splash back in the public eye two years ago, when she took everyone by surprised at the Super Bowl, arguably saving Katy Perry from an otherwise lackluster Halftime Show (though I will give her the huge ass lion she rode on…and lest we never forget the magic that was the hottie Left Shark) . The internet freaked out—old fans who were happy to see the 90s/00s star back in their lives and younguns who literally thought she was a new artist because she had been out of the game for so long (my god did that make me feel old).
Missy followed her halftime appearance by gracing us with the dance banger “W.T.F.” The song was a hit, and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that it was so reminiscent of her older music. “Pep Rally” had a similar vibe.
“I’m Better” tells a different story.
The song itself is unlike the canon of Missy songs with which I am familiar. It is missing the R&B, swanky, and/or dance-y accompaniment that I am used to. I am not familiar with the producer and rapper Lamb who made the beat, but after a little research I discovered that he is the genius behind Beyonce’s “Countdown.” The beat here is quite different; it is sparse and more electronic than I am used to from a Missy Elliot song. That being said, I LOVE it. It makes me want to go hard at literally whatever I am doing. Seriously, I was looking at spreadsheets while listening to this song and was number crunching the HELL out of my computer.
Missy’s lyrics are not anything spectacular, though I will definitely give some hand claps to “He say I’m too much, I’m a handful/He watching my body like he watches Scandal/But I’m just here, with my girls.” I do like the quick vocal harmonies sprinkled throughout the song.
The highlight of this song is truly the music video. With her long time and frequent collaborator Dave Meyers, Missy never disappoints when it comes to the lost art of music videos. I would put her up there with some of the best (I mean the woman LITERALLY wore a trash bag and made it look fly as hell). First, the outfits. I mean…I can’t stop staring at her lips. Don’t act like you weren’t having the same reaction. The choreo, created by Sean Bankhead and two of the female dancers in the video, is out of this world. It starts with the light up riot gear masks. Then the hanging dancers. I wasn’t a fan at first—it definitely called to mind more gruesome images—but ending up being really into it. And then the water comes out of nowhere. AND THEN THE EXERCISE BALLS!? Definitely something I have never seen before (and something I need to try the next time I am at the gym). Missy is quoted in a recent interview with FACT magazine saying, “This video took a month. We rehearsed a whole month and I’ve never done that in my whole career. We rehearsed from nine at night until six in the morning, most of the time. I wanted it to look like art instead of just a video. I wanted the dance movement to be challenging.” Well, gurl, you surely accomplished that.
The video, released at midnight on January 27th, came out with a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the artist. The trailer, featuring the likes of Pharrell and Busta Rhymes, will be a look into Missy’s life and creative process. The trailer starts: “It’s never just making a hot record—I can do that in my sleep. But visually I have to see what I’m going to do with that record when I perform it.” #truth
Overall, I wouldn’t say that this song isn’t anywhere near Missy’s best work, but I do like it. It’s different, it makes me want to move, and I like the hard vibe that it gives off.
Are you a fan? Leave comments and let me know what you think!