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Bonnie McKee Kisses Her Party-Girl Days Goodbye In The New “Forever 21” Video — Exclusive

And what a last hurrah it is.

by Carson Mlnarik

It’s a night to remember for everyone except Bonnie McKee, but at least this time, she’s in on the joke. In the vibrant new music video for “Forever 21,” premiering exclusively on NYLON, the pop singer harkens back to her messy party-girl days with a cautionary tale about drinking too much and ruining a wedding. Sporting a pink bridesmaid dress and bright Y2K makeup with a champagne glass constantly in tow, McKee’s cinematic visual reminds us why this glittering but deceptively deep track has long been a fan favorite — and means so much to her personally.

As the singer tells NYLON, “Forever 21” — which appears on her latest album Hot City — is a “tragedy disguised as a bright and sparkly bop.” Despite a shimmering pop production, each lyric skillfully dodges responsibility for, perhaps, staying at the party a little too long. “Written in the twilight of my drinking days, it was my satirical coping mechanism and a cathartic outlet exploring my shame around being an alcoholic hot mess,” she says.

Brian Ziff
Brian Ziff
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There are hints of retrospection in the anthemic lyrics like “I’ll take whatever keeps me numb / Baby, I’ll stay forever 21” and flecks of nostalgia in shout-outs to a “Slip N’ Slide headed straight to nowhere” and “Malibu and Sprite.” Told through the narrative device of an old wedding VHS tape, the dreamy video was co-directed by McKee with David Richardson, who also lensed her clips for tracks like “Bombastic,” “Jenny’s Got A Boyfriend,” and “Stars In Your Heart.”

Indeed, it proves to be “a night to remember” as McKee throws punches during the bouquet toss and knocks over a wedding cake — all while barely messing up her eyeliner. The pretend nuptials are surreal but glamorous, while the “American Girl” singer plays her part masterfully with a wink and nod, having a viscerally fun time trying to forgive her boozed-up and youth-obsessed past self. “I was grappling with the idea of abandoning my party-girl identity, flirting with the notion that the party might finally be over, and reveling in my last sloppy hurrah,” she says.

Watch the video for “Forever 21” from Hot City below.