Yes, in just about every conceivable way, JT’s “Suit & Tie” video was destined to be an epic thing, an old-fashioned, old-Hollywood blockbuster; the kind with style and swagger to spare (and a budget that knew no bounds), one befitting a premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Of course, given that we live in 2013, we’d have to make due with a bow on the Internet, which happened — appropriately enough — on Valentine’s Day, and yet, somehow feels beneath the clip.
Because, make no mistake about it, this is one classy affair, shot in beautiful black and white, full of striking silhouettes and plumes of cigar smoke, showgirls, step routines, backstage dressing rooms and no shortage of wattage from its two co-stars. Timberlake and Jay pal around like erstwhile Rat Packers (Frank, Sammy, Dean and Co. were definitely a major influence), puff on enough stogies to give the Surgeon General pause and basically look like they’re having the time of their lives — which, given the general quality of those lives, is definitely saying something. There are crisp dance routines, artfully-framed close-ups, opulent costumes, all of which help create a world we’re only used to seeing on the silver screen.
Fincher is at his finest, directing a clip that brings to mind some of his previous best (Madonna’s “Vogue” and “Express Yourself” off the top of my head), and perfectly capturing the tailored, three-fingers-of-scotch style of the song itself. All of his shots recall the glamor photography of yesteryear, but he’s also smart enough to work in beautiful close ups of dancers’ bodies in motion, which touch on the smoldering sexuality hiding beneath “Suit’s” lapels.
We knew it was going to be big and bold, but still, “Suit & Tie” manages to impress … JT is definitely feeling his retro, R&B roots this time out, and now he has the classy clip to match. It hearkens back to the heroics, the romance and the sophistication of a time long gone, yet also manages to bring that era directly to 2013. At the very least, with every stitched, smoke-filled frame, the video should inspire you to step your game up. C’mon fellas, it’s Valentine’s Day, after all.
Are you feeling JT and Jay’s “Suit & Tie” video? Let us know in the comments below.