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One Video: Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott

One Video: Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott


Time for some chaos theory

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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.

This week’s video: “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott

Lizzie: “Butterfly Effect” marks the second time a Travis Scott video has appeared on your favorite internet column One Video, and to that we say, “What do you want from us, variety?” It’s called One Video, not Many Different Videos From Different Artists, which is too long of a name to get tattooed on your body anyway. The first Travis Scott video to land here was “Way Back” starring James Harden.

Kaitlyn: This video includes far fewer memes than “Way Back,” but approximately the same number of open-air car rides.

Fortunately for the curious: The co-directors of this video, Alex Lee and Kyle Wightman, posted plenty of behind-the-scenes photos to their Instagram account, giving us some clue as to how they made it look like Travis Scott was safely partying in and around a moving vehicle.

What is the Butterfly Effect?

Lizzie: The Butterfly Effect, not to be confused with “Butterfly Effect,” was Ashton Kutcher’s attempt to recover his acting career from his role as “Hank” in the 2003 remake of Cheaper by the Dozen. It’s also the name of an alt-metal band from Australia with a lead singer named Clint Boge.

Kaitlyn: I don’t have a clear memory of the 2004 film The Butterfly Effect, but I know I watched it at one point and declared it a rip-off of Donnie Darko. It’s one of those vaguely scary movies you might have rented for your first boy-girl movie night in middle school and struggled to process due to the overwhelming chemical burden of being a human preteen.

Anyway, the film is named after an element of chaos theory — “the butterfly effect” — which states that small events can eventually have very large consequences. I’m not sure why that needs a special name, but it comes from a metaphor about flapping butterfly wings predicting the location of a tornado. I also don’t know how any of that plays into this video, although there are butterflies coming out of people’s mouths. According to four contributors on Genius, the title might be a reference to Travis Scott’s Lamborghini, which has winged doors.

What’s special about “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott:

Lizzie: “Butterfly Effect” reminds me of that documentary Winona Ryder makes in Reality Bites after Ben Stiller gets ahold of it and makes it look like a hair gel commercial. It also looks like it was shot in a really expensive car dealership, a setting that not enough people have been brave enough to film in.

Kaitlyn: “Butterfly Effect” is also special because it reminds me of another music video with a neon color scheme, trippy animation, and a Lamborghini: 2016’s “Yamborghini High,” which was one of my favorite music videos before it turned out that more than one member of A$AP Mob had been accused of sexual assault. Travis Scott hasn’t been accused of anything, so now “Butterfly Effect” can replace that video in my heart and YouTube queue. Great.

How long everyone should watch “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott:

Lizzie: My favorite scenes are the car dealership scenes, specifically 2:16 to 2:25.

Kaitlyn: I like from 1:50 to 1:55 when Travis Scott is riding around on the front of a car and animated pink butterflies are drifting over his body, which is safe because this is a controlled stunt and not something he’s doing for real. Plus I like 3:05, when Travis gets struck by lightning, and for the same reason.

When you’re done with those clips, you can read a special One Video spinoff. It’s an interview with music video director Glassface about animated rap videos like this one. Or just have a snack. I don’t care what you do!