If you haven’t heard of Jane Zhang yet, you may want to study up.
Fresh off announcing her upcoming album/collaboration with Timbaland, the Chinese pop artist has officially released her first single of the 2016, titled “Dust My Shoulders Off.”
The song tells the story of someone who may be having a rough day but who quickly decides to “dust her shoulders off” in swaggy fashion. It features a catchy beat and a heartening don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff vibe.
As for the video, it’s—dare we say—artsy. Like, literally, famous art everywhere.
Starting off with a stressed-out Jane walking around an art gallery and attempting to take a phone call, the video takes a quick turn from your average stroll through a museum into a trippy art sensation.
Almost immediately viewers are taken straight out of the museum and into the various universes of the world’s most famous paintings—starting out with a twist on “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. Then, before we know it, we are whisked away to Jane, painted up to portray Vincent Van Gogh, whose ear is quickly bitten off by Mike Tyson.
Why? Because both are famous for losing and biting an ear, respectively, and this is art.
Then, Tyson and Van Gogh disappear and Jane is seen in a field, dressed as the woman from Vermeer‘s “Girl With A Pearl Earring,” singing in front of two twirling umbrellas. This fades into a take on the painting “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth, where a girl lays in a field looking at houses in the distance. Only this time, the girl in the field is Jane, and she is holding a grenade launcher, which she shoots at a passing car.
This scene then (quite literally) explodes into an interpretation of Seurat‘s iconic “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” which fades into Munch‘s “The Scream,” featuring a smooth Men in Black cameo where the screaming man has his memory erased. Spooky!
Eventually, after Jane sings and dances a bit, the video continues to channel a variety of paintings and into Magritte‘s “The Son of Man,” which leads into a dressed up Jane walking right back into the cafe from “Nighthawks”—thus bringing her journey full circle and leading us back to the real Jane, who’s still on the phone trying to get reception.
Was Christina plotting revenge against her neighbors? Did the man in “The Scream” see aliens? Was Jane just beyond frustrated with the guy on the phone, or modern technology? All of the above? Who knows?!
After placing third in China’s Super Girl, a female-only talent competition in the vein of X-Factor or American Idol, Jane Zhang has enjoyed major success in the Chinese market.
With seven consecutive wins for Best Female Singer at the China Pop Charts Awards and the title of Best Asian Artist from the Mnet Asian Music Awards, it was only a matter of time before Zhang sought success in the U.S.—and sure enough, “Dust My Shoulders Off” hit No. 5 on the charts in its second week. And it’s even less of a surprise that her video is now blowing up both MTV and Vevo.
“I grew up loving the sound and feel of Western popular music, working with Timbaland allowed me to not only see how great music is produced but also the creative culture behind the scenes that enables the continuous production of great music. It was an amazing learning experience,” Zhang has said.
Dropped earlier today, the video is something we haven’t quite seen before, and it’s definitely something we will remember. Zhang’s as-yet untitled album, executive-produced by Timbaland, is due in early 2017 from Montage Records.