Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.
Welcome to One Video, written by one woman. It’s just me (Kaitlyn) this week, as Lizzie is on a reporting trip in the Bronx doing something very important and interesting that you’ll get to read about later, I assume. Without Lizzie I am heartbroken, and I need a new source of entertainment. That’s why I chose a heartbreaking music video with a complicated narrative that is nearly seven minutes long.
This week’s video: “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato
Video chat apps have been having a real moment in music videos lately, and specifically in the music videos of former Disney Channel stars and current pop princesses. “Tell Me You Love Me,” starts with Demi Lovato accepting an absolutely enormous engagement ring from Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, then showing it off to a friend in a Google Duo call. At this point, Duo is a welcome, if baffling presence. It’s just a music video about a boring wedding proposal and a huge diamond and two attractive people kissing.
However, mere seconds later, you will be thrown for a loop! I’m sorry! Reminder that I warned you this would be heartbreaking! Suddenly, Demi receives a video call from a mysterious man who she does not want to discuss with her fiancé. Now they are fighting. Minutes later, her fiancé meets her at the altar and smiles at her for several minutes before frowning and leaving. Oh my god.
Who is Demi Lovato?
From 2008 to 2011, Demi Lovato starred in Disney Channel’s Camp Rock, perhaps the best televised musical of my lifetime, and Sonny With a Chance, undoubtedly the best kids version of 30 Rock to air in my lifetime. Now, Lovato is a pop star who The Ringer’s Lindsay Zoladz has described (affectionately) as “the pop star equivalent of a jammed caps-lock button.” It’s true that she is a belter, and it is true too that the dramatic stakes of this song and video could not possibly be higher.
This should not really come as a surprise, as one of her first music videos — for the 2012 song “Give Your Heart a Break,” which you might remember as the soundtrack to a confusing suburban summer when you were 19 and romantically obsessed with a sociopath, I don’t know, I don’t know your life — ends with Demi constructing a many-story-high shrine to her love interest, made up of thousands upon thousands of photos of them together. In the 2016 video for perfect song “Stone Cold,” she reenacts some key scenes from Alive.
What’s special about “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato:
This video is special because it was directed by Mark Pellington, who has made dozens of music videos for the likes of Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen, including one for a song I had never heard of, called “Girls in Their Summer Clothes (Winter Mix).”
It’s also special because it’s essentially one entire Lifetime movie distilled down to the length of just two ordinary music videos stapled together. Before today you might have thought it would be impossible to watch an entire Lifetime movie at your desk without being caught and scolded. Before today you might have thought there was only just the one version of “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen. Before today, it was not yet December — the month of winter mixes and Lifetime movies. Before today, it would have been weird to have hot chocolate with your lunch. Today is amazing.
How long everyone should watch “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato:
Please watch until Demi Lovato leads an army of gospel singers in lab coats through the woods to hunt down Jesse Williams. This part of the video starts at 5:40.
Please tell Lizzie I miss her.
Correction: A previous version of this article identified the video calling app in this video as FaceTime, but it is in fact Google Duo. We regret the error.