All hail the gods of the Internet for bringing us this lost music video from 2002. The song, "I.M. Me" by Brittney Cleary (a.k.a. Nikki Cleary), is a celebration of instant messaging culture. The lyrics, the 14-year-old singer and the ridiculously bad graphics make this one of the best music videos of the early 2000s, if not all time.
The chorus goes:
Hey, LOL, G2G
I gotta go, but baby watch for me 'cause
I'll be right back, BRB
So sign on, and I.M. me
Such poetry! Remember when those online chatting terms were novel?
The video itself is, in a word, hideous. Cleary lives in a strange computer-generated world, with IM terms floating around her. There are a lot of "3D" graphics that remind us of old Microsoft screen savers. Cleary wears a classic purple leather pantsuit at one point, a look that will definitely be making a comeback soon.
The YouTube version of the video is entitled "Britteny RoughCut" and the words "ROUGH CUT V.1" are imprinted on the images throughout, suggesting that this video hadn't seen the light of day -- let alone MTV -- until recently. Aside from the crazy graphics, at one point the green screen behind Cleary becomes completely visible. Other times, the video goes completely black for a second in a clear editing error. Beautiful.
Cleary was a minor Nickelodeon star in the early 2000s. According to her Wikipedia page, "She was featured on a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards record in 2003, with her single '1,2,3.' She also performed on Nickelodeon's 'All That.' Cleary also did a version of 'Summertime Guys,' featured on the 'Kim Possible' soundtrack."
She also went by Nikki Cleary, and contributed the song "Hated" to the "Mean Girls" soundtrack under that name. The top review from Cleary's second album on Amazon (a comment written in 2003) claims that Cleary's father wrote "I.M. Me." Was someone else claiming to have written the song at the time? Do we smell a scandal?!
Artist Jacob Ciocci first found and posted the "I.M. Me" YouTube video on his Facebook wall in April. From there, it was passed on to Sam Frank, senior editor at the online magazine Triple Canopy, and eventually made its way here. It may have taken a while to find us, but it was worth it. It was so, so worth it.
This "RoughCut" video was only uploaded to YouTube in February, but Cleary fan and Vimeo user Ricky Van Veen posted his own version of a music video for "I.M. Me" six years ago, an homage that he and his friends made when the song first came out (see below). Van Veen writes that he even mailed the singer "a VHS copy of the video and her mom wrote me back to tell me she loved it. An autographed photo was also enclosed."
Watch Ricky Van Veen's "I.M. Me" fan vid below: