“We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment…”
This edition of Old Favourites was written by Jimmy Reilly, who will be an extra pair of hands on board Y,WGAV! Please make him feel welcome!
Sometimes I question the wisdom in broadcasting videos at 2:15 am. A sane man would not be able to comprehend some of the stuff that Rage throw at us that late at night. In this vein, this week’s video is Tool’s Parabola, which could be titled “What The Fuck Was That?!?: The Music Video”.
The song itelf comes from the 2001 release Lateralus, which is a brilliant album and a landmark release for Maynard and the boys. Of course, the song itself has little to do with this, frankly, terrifying film clip. Like most of Adam Jones‘ work, it’s mostly stop-motion. We open with a shot of barbed red blood cells circling around each other with an ominous droning soundtrack crying underneath it, and then things get creepy.
The first part of the film clip is actually to Parabol, which is a separate track on the album. Three guys from the Superman Lovers film clip are dressed in suits and ceramoniously unpack what looks like a butter knife. if you look closely,you can see one of them scratch their nose in one of the single most terrifying uncanny valley moments in history. This is immediately followed by an apple appearing out of the table, being cut in half and watching as the seed star grows points. One of the Superman Lovers holds his finger up, it catches fire, everybody levitates, everybody vomits, hands come out of nowhere and the track proper starts.
I really hope that made sense to you, because things are just gonna get stranger from here on out. I’d like you to meet Earl. He lives in a hospital worshop thing (with Tricky!) and apparently has a mechanical face. Tricky’s job is to push over slabs of stone, that then shatter, fly to the corner and then up the wall, and to look after a tree of life that is very obviously supposed to look like veins. Tricky is very devoted to his job, because he doesn’t notice when Earl tries to warn him about the killer collection of spheres floating in mid air, which then rapes Earl to death. Tricky then screams FUCK at the orbs, slices Earl in two DOWN THE FUCKING MIDDLE and goes for a walk in the forest. Just when you thought things couldn’t be any wierder, Tricky looks at a leaf. Said leaf catches fire, burns his skin off, and transports him to a world filled with freaky eyeballs where he assumes the role of The Shacras.
Okay. What the hell did I just watch? I would love to give you some kind of deep analyisis, but part of what make Tool so brilliant is their emphasis on self interpretation. The film clip means only as much as you think it means. Personally, I think it means Tool like fucking with our heads. More important than that, this film clip does everything a film clip does. It completely suckers you in. Once it starts, you can’t look away. As an added bonus, its story (he says using the term loosely) is nearly exactly the opposite of the lyrics to the song, which is always a nice touch. A great introduction to a great band.
“I know a dog remains a dog, even on a short lead…”
Here’s the skinny on Laura Imbruglia. She has a more famous sister, but unlike Dannii Minogue she’s actually the cooler of the two. She’s been ripping out awesome tunes for years now, from sweet alt-country to thrashy garage rock. This little number, from her latest record The Lighter Side of Laura Imbruglia, falls into the former category with a bit more of a folk tinge to it, as she croons about uncomfortably shifting herself into a love triangle and trying to steal away a boy of interest.
The plot of the video is followed fairly literally in the video, which was directed by Robert Babekuhl & Filipe Marques in a very cheap and very charming manner. The quirky story is followed with playful melodrama, some sweet handball moves and even a notion that shit could get violent when Laura picks up a knife and gets stabby. Even if she does seem a tad on the crazy side, I’d go out with Laura in a second – and you’ll probably want to as well when you’re done with the video. Another hot tip: near the end of the video is a clue for the My Favourite Video selection Laura’s done for the blog, which will be up in a few week’s time. Weee!
“My kind, your kind, I’ll stay the same…”
Here’s an interesting one – a video made within a video. For the defining crown in both their discography and videography, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps” is one of the most powerful music videos of all time, in my humble opinion. It’s conceptually simplistic and an incredibly basic set-up, yet the emotional power is something of insurmountable proportions. It starts off simply enough, with a crew in an otherwise empty hall setting up to film the band performing the song. Guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase are stone-faced, but it’s Karen O who draws you in – the shivering, lost emotion on her face says it all as she rips out her heart and ties it firmly to her sleeve. Everyone stops working as the band play, enthralled by what they’re doing – for a staged video concept, it feels so incredibly real and close to home. Watch for the moment near the final chorus where O breaks a solitary tear down her cheek – to me, one of those music video “moments” that takes a second to view and a lifetime to forget about – in other words, unforgettable.
This week’s category takes its calls from the most primitive and basic yet occasionally most powerful form of music video – the live performance. Here aere some of my favourite moments in the history of the cheapest option.
5. Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
“Don’t believe the ‘ype,” said Alex Turner in his accented drawl before he and his band, Arctic Monkeys, tore through a spot-on version of the song that I ended up enjoying more than the studio version. It’s raw, off-kilter and a display of precocious talent that was less than a year away from exploding the world over. Why the hell not?
4. R.E.M. – So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)
Interesting bit of trivia: for the early part of R.E.M.’s videography, singer Michael Stipe was totally adverse to lip-syncing in the band’s videos to the point where he would flat refuse to make videos if he had to do so. To compromise this, the band’s label, I.R.S. records let the rest of the band mime along to the original instrumental recording, but Stipe was given live vocals. He would later change his position, but at the time this was probably the finest of the videos made with this bizarre set up.
3. Neil Young – The Needle and The Damage Done
Performing live on The Johnny Cash Show back in the seventies, Young simply sat alone on the middle of the stage, mumbled a bit of the song’s context and played. Stunned silence, and then a standing ovation. Surely you need no more proof of the power of Neil Young’s music, especially when the man himself is presenting them in their rawest, most honest form? Phenomenal stuff.
2. The Strokes – Last Nite
Another last-minute option when the band themselves didn’t particularly feel like making a video. An iconic video from the early 2000s, the band reeked cool and that ultimate couldn’t-give-a-fuck attitude as they swaggered their way through what is arguably the biggest hit of their career. Watch out for the hilarious accident near the end in which drummer Fab Moretti‘s drum mics both topple over, as well as the random shots of arcade video games and Albert Hammond, Jr.’s bitching solo. Rock & roll done 21st century stylee, this is a classic performance video.
1. Nine Inch Nails – March of The Pigs
One take. One camera. White background. A spur of the moment creation that ended up being one of the most terrifying videos Trent Reznor has ever put his name to, even without any crucified monkeys directly involved in the process. Not just my favourite performance video – to me, it defines exactly what a great performance video is all about. Truly a brilliant creation of music video.
“You’re vulnerable in your head. you’ll scream and you’ll wail till you’re dead…”
I continually find it completely astounding that Laura Marling is all but six months older than me and has already achieved more than I possibly ever will. Her second album, I Speak Because I Can, dropped earlier this year to rave reviews; and now she’s added another awesome video to a small but very impressive videography for one of the highlights from Speak entitled Rambling Man.
The premise might be a little confusing at first – dude strips, dude goes swimming, Laura sings/looks all pretty, dude finds what he’s swam out for and dude leaves. Video end. What I find so great about this video, though, is how much I enjoy watching it. The pacing is slow but suspensful, the cinematography is stunning and the level of emotion the central character conveys without saying a single word is simply astounding. Maybe I’m alone on this one, but just have a look at it and see what you get out of it.
Ryan Beveridge is a Wollongong-based musician whose past bands include Bennie James and the Hesitant Few, Ironhide and The Jacket.
His latest project, Order 66, can be checked out here on MySpace.
His favourite video is Monkey Wrench by the Foo Fighters.
Most people would go for Learn to Fly or Everlong, but it’s the little things in Monkey Wrench that make it my favourite. The red and grey colour scheme of Dave’s apartment where the band is playing, Dave’s Gretsch guitar, Pat Smear’s priceless expression and pyjamas when he comes out of his room, the sheer attitude and energy that the band are playing with skewed in the fisheye lens…It’s an incredibly simple idea that’s pulled off based on the amount of intensity that the band (inside and out) are giving the performance.
“From around the next crooked corner, you’ve gotta see it to believe…”
One of the problems I have with smaller Australian acts putting out videos is how damn seriously some of them take it. Big brooding performance clips with ugly “this is my serious face” shots that do absolutely nothing for the band have plagued them for far too long. That’s why Tzar Bomber, and their video for the song Chainfire, is so refreshing. It’s not trying to cover up the fact that there was next to no budget, it’s not trying to make the band look like rock gods and it doesn’t take itself so bloody seriously! Tzar Bomber are just four bogan mates with some rockin’ tunes and a sense of humour – always good personality traits in my books.
The video’s premise is pretty simple – a gorilla has escaped from the zoo and the zookeepers (played ever so convincingly by Tzar Bomber) are on the hunt for it. It’s a big ol’ chase scene, with a whole mob joining in on the fun (yours truly charges past somewhere near the middle). Ultimately, however, the gorilla escapes the victor and celebrates his victory the only way it knows how…exactly what that is you’ll have to watch the video to see. The video is an easy laugh that the band obviously had a blast filming, and it also happens to be for my favourite track from their EP, 2009’s Melt On Like This, so it’s an easy winner from me. And yes, I’m a little biased because I’ve known some of these guys since I was a kid, but who cares? Just get some gorilla-induced lulz up ya, yeh bastard.
“Ooh, ahh, I lost my bra…”
I warned you this would happen. Ladies and gentlemen, for my “Tamara Jaber is the worst thing to ever happen to pop music” hat trick, I give you her very own solo video. Wanna know how forgotten this track is? The only video I was able to find of it on YouTube was a VHS rip with a whopping ninety-eight views. Amazingly, it was just uploaded two days ago – thanks for helping out The Cringe, user matthewknigh15. You are a true bastion of all that is fucking terrible, good sir.
Now, onto the song itself. This really is fucking embarrassing – I’m still failing to see how anyone involved with this in any way at all, even if they were a janitor or an electrician in the studio, could have honestly thought this was a good idea. The lyrics try really hard to be sexy, but just end up being really, really offputting. Don’t believe me? “My boyfriend gave me a kiss on the (oooh) and all the neighbours heard”. HER BOYFRIEND AT THE TIME WAS VILE FUCKING SANDILANDS. Ewwww can you imagine his big creepy body dripping all over her…I think I’m going to be sick. And the video makes out like she’s some kind of sex goddess, wearing really skanky clothing and gyrating various parts of her body as shirtless dudes try various styles of crumping and what appears to be interpretive dance in order to seal her approval. Are you kidding me? And exactly WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENS AT THE END? The video changes into a really fucked up dance-off as Jaber spouts shit like “girls are sexy/made out to Pepsi.” Shit. Fucking REALLY? Did Pepsi pay for the fucking video or something?
I don’t think I really need to say much more. Tamara Jaber, you gummy-mouthed bogan airhead gold-digging attention whore, for the love of all that is good and fucking decent, never make music again. I will seriously pay for you to go to TAFE and study hairdressing if it means you will never attempt to make music again.
Here it is. There we go. Tamara Jaber triple threat of atrocity is DONE.
“I need your love, like night needs morning…”
Choosing between your favourite Kylie videos is like choosing between children. Yes, they are very camp, sparkly and incredibly well choreographed children, but they’re all so adorable! Still, even with the hot pants, the robot dancers, the naked people making out in a big pile and the whole being murdered by Nick Cave thing, I think there was always going to be one clear-cut winner.
Come Into My World is one of the defining videos of the 2000s and arguably one of the best videos of all time. The visionary Michel Gondry directed this one, bringing an imagination and creativity never before seen in Minogue’s videography. Everything is so perfectly detailed to the point where you might as well watch a different part of your screen each time it comes on – in other words, it’s a clip that basically demands to be watched time and time again. You won’t get sick of it, either, and that’s more or less the beauty of it.
It’s an unforgettable video, the kind that you remember vividly The “groundhog day” style isn’t an entirely original concept, but it’s the way that Gondry has gone about it for the Come Into My World video that makes this one such an incredible achievement for both him and the impossible princess herself. This one transcended boundaries to the point where even people who couldn’t stand Kylie could not stop raving about its excellence. I’ve seen everyone from Jack Johnson to Pitchfork Media singing this video’s praises, and it’s not difficult to see why. A classic video – watch out for the way the four Kylies interact with one another without actually seeing each other at the very end of the video. Mesmerising stuff.
“Why don’t you bring him to my table?”
Mama Kin is one of the best new talents in the country’s ever-flourishing blues and roots music scene. She’s been touring around the traps with acts like The Cat Empire and the John Butler Trio, as well as appearing on ABC’s Spicks and Specks earlier in the year. Right now, with the release of her new album Beat and Holler on the horizon, Mama has pulled together this sexy, fun video for the groovy single, To My Table.
As the title of the song might suggest, the entire video is based around (forgive the horrid pun) a round table, and Mama lying on it for the clip’s entirety. She is the sole consistency of the video, as everything around her changes at a rapid speed. Filmed from an overhead perspective, it’s a very cleverly done video with a lot of interesting changes and a simple yet incredibly intriguing concept. She seems like she had a lot of fun making it, even though it would more than likely be a literal pain in the neck to create. Ahh, who cares – everyone’s gotta suffer for their art at least a little, right? This is a really cool video, and hopefully it’ll be bringing a few more cats to Mama’s table. I know I’ll be coming back for seconds.