Charli XCX's Script-Flipping 'Boys' Might Be 2017's Best Music Video

Courtesy YouTube/Charli XCX
Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 28 July 2017
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On the surface, and underneath, Charli XCX’s new music video for her song “Boys” is all about, well, boys.

Since its release on July 26, the video has racked up nearly five million views on YouTube. Essentially, the video, which was directed by Charli XCX herself, is filled with some of the hottest male names in pop culture today—among its ranks: Joe Jonas, Charlie Puth, Joey Bada$$, Oli Sykes, Brendan Urie, Stormzy, Amine, Jay Park, MNEK, THEY., Ezra Koenig, Mark Ronson, Flume, Wiz Khalifa, G-Eazy, Riz Ahmed, Connor Franta, Diplo, Jack Antonoff, Vance Joy, D.R.A.M., Kahlid, Kaytranada, Mac DeMarco…you get the point—doing a bunch of things that are cute or sexy or funny, and sometimes a combination of the three.

Diplo plays with a brood of puppies, DeMarco licks the neck of his guitar, Jonas pours maple syrup on a stack of pancakes, Ahmed wraps the arms of a giant teddy bear around his neck, Antonoff curls a dumbbell in a sweaty tank, D.R.A.M. smashes old televisions with a sledgehammer, Puth washes a car. And maybe its the nonstop blast of “millennial pink,” but even the most mundane activities somehow have an undeniable appeal, like Ronson combing his hair while Koenig brushes his teeth.

The video’s YouTube comments are filled with declarations for each viewer’s boy(s) of choice, and it’s spurred such thinkpieces as “What Your Favorite Boy in Charli XCX’s ‘Boys’ Video Says About You” and “I Ranked Every Single Boy from Charli XCX’s ‘Boys’.”

So what makes this video so important other than its massive star power and irrepressible hotness? Well, as Charli XCX explained to BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, its about who is creating said hotness.

“They’re basically doing all the sexy things that girls usually do in videos,” she said, Mac reeling back in her chair and palming her forehead to demonstrate just how blown her mind is, exclaiming, “Are you serious?! You’ve…you’ve turned it around?! Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for someone to do this?!”

Charli XCX continued: “I started thinking about all the guys that I’ve worked with or met over my years in the industry, and I was like, okay, I feel I can harass enough of them into doing this video…I just want to flip the male gaze on its head and have you guys do the sexy stuff.”

Boom. Watch the video below:

As for the song itself, it is classic Charli XCX catchy, but bears a bubbly minimalism that elevates it above the rest of her catalogue. Propelled by hollow drum hits of alternating tones, trap hi-hat rolls, and Charli XCX’s dreamy coos, the song’s real magic exists in the Super Mario coin sound effect (pitch raised) that follows every time Charli XCX says “boys” (the placement and meaning of that sound is up to your discretion).

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