“Stuck in a moment of emotion I’ve destroyed, is this the end I feel?”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh boy. Well. They’re back. Possibly the most loved-to-hate band that has ever graced the posts of this here blog, Jared Leto‘s litte buddies 30 Seconds to Mars. Now, it’s been a little while since their promo cycle for their third studio album, This is War. From it, we got some truly terrible clips – blow-by-blow reports on which you can find here, here and here. They’re impeccably shit videos. Apex predators walking among just plain bad videos. Unstoppably, immeasurably bad. Either winding up their own egos beyond all comprehension or simply throwing a series of laughably pretentious imagery in the hope that it will come across as artistic. That’s more or less what we got from 30STM last time around.
You’ll be happy to learn that nothing much has changed as the band gear up to do their fourth album. It’s called Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams. I wish I was making that up. This right here is the first single, and they’ve decided that there really would be no greater introduction to this new LP of theirs than to throw together an 8.5 minute video for a 4.5 minute song. Because of course that’s what we’re after. I’m not exaggerating when I say “thrown together,” either. There is absolutely no cohesion, no artistry and no skill that went into taking these random bits and mashing them into a steaming pile of what-the-fuck-ever. It’s so easy to get distracted with this thing it’s not funny. Oh, look, it’s Dita Von Teese! Oh look, it’s slow-motion Shannon Leto! Oh, look, it’s some other crap! Why are there animals on the set? We going anywhere with this anytime soon? No? No? Not really. Didn’t think so. I dunno, normally I put a bit more bile into this. I just want to show you guys that this video exists. As in: This happened. And we let it happen.
“I’m eating at the beat, like you gave a little speed to a great white shark on Shark Week…”
One of my favourite live experiences of 2013 thus far was seeing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis live. At their first ever Australian show, the duo knocked it out of the park with a high-energy set, impassioned and with a point to make. Neither of them are happy to just be “those Thrift Shop guys.” There’s so much more going into what they’re doing here than you’d think on surface value. As far as current pop goes, these guys are about as genuine as you’re going to get. That’s why, today, I can finally applaud them on this here blog. They’re no strangers to great videos – it’s only a matter of proximity and retrospect before we see Thrift Shop as a momentous, sign-of-the-times pop video – but I’ve got to say, Can’t Hold Us has to be up there among their greatest achievements in a still-growing career.
The fact that the video’s shoot was stretched across seven flippin’ continents was impressive enough on paper, but when you really take the whole thing in it’s nothing short of immense. From the open seas to the rough snow-covered forest, the video really gives a great sense of scope and environment. The video’s plotless meandering is irrelevant – we’re talking a pop video here. The fact we go from Macklemore running through the woods to Ryan Lewis diving out of a window doesn’t have to make sense. It just feels right, y’know? Let’s not forget the icing on the cake, either: Whereas many pop videos use radio edits in order to keep up with attention spans and playlists etc., this version of Can’t Hold Us is a good two-and-a-bit-minutes longer than the original. A 12-inch version, if you will. It really adds to the video, as just having the regular version would just mean that it was too packed in to appreciate. With this amount of space, you’ll come out of Can’t Hold Us convinced you’re going to live forever.
Something a bit out of the ordinary for Wednesday lunchtime. For the first time ever, Y,WGAV! has got a competition going – we’ve got some tickets to give away to the very exciting upcoming VIVID Sydney festival coming up at the Sydney Opera House throughout May and into June.
Everyone from Cloud Control to Kraftwerk is making an appearance, but of particular interest to you electronic music fans will be the Terminal Projekt; which is set to take over the Customs and Cargo Hall of the Overseas Terminal over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of June. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible show of stunning visuals and some exciting performances from acts like dOP and Sepalcure.
Sound like fun? Bet you’d like two tickets – worth $118 – in your hot little hands, right? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Thanks to the kind and attractive folk over at Finely Tuned, that’s exactly what I’ve got. So, if you’d like two tickets to the first night of the Terminal Projekt, then just send your name, address and phone number in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s as easy as that!
Entries close on May 1st.
For more information and to grab tickets, click the picture below.
“We have to use every trick in the book, and make a hook so good…”
Today, I’m going to throw in a couple of clips that I normally wouldn’t feature – just because I’m a little bit taken by the out of the ordinary at the moment. This one comes to us from a sketch comedy group in Norway of all places. I was alerted to it this week, given my love of not only excessive and glossy pop videos, but anyone with the right amount of wit to properly lambaste them. Kollektivet have decidedly killed it, ripping the current rave-pop trends set by acts like Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and the like.
The clip is based around fictional rockstars STDS (Scandinavian Techno Dance Society), a hapless duo of idiot savants. The group consists of Adam Inkazzo (vocals/lead synth/cool glasses) and Fatswell (vocals/beats/also cool glasses), who introduce their own video for Hit Song. The video takes us to an Orwellian future, where hit music has inexplicably been banished. STDS are the last hitmakers in the world, and it’s up to them to reclaim it. If this sounds completely ridiculous, it’s because it is. I genuinely don’t know what’s funnier – the fact that these guys have nailed this parody with such distinct vitriol and energy; or the fact that I wouldn’t be surprised if a serious act probably sketched out the idea for the video with a bold, confident face before; thinking it would be a brilliant idea. A great idea, and a video highlight of the year thus far from the most unexpected of places.
“How about them transparent dangling carrots?”
Here’s an interesting one. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed Alanis Morissette – the first lady of boyfriend-revenge pop – properly within the world of this here blog. I admit that there are plenty more obvious places to start than this video, which is one of her few hits that came after the Jagged Little Pill record. But if you’ve garnered anything from reading this blog over nearly three years (if at all), it’s that I’m not always coming from your most obvious points of reference. The late nineties and mid-2000s were my most formative musical times, and they were guided by music videos.
So imagine my shock at seeing a straight-up naked chick just hanging out in a music video. I barely had any idea who Alanis was at the time, but needless to say I stood up and paid attention after the release of this video. No, not like that; c’mon now. I just found this video to be so mesmerising and confronting. Definitely not a video I felt comfortable watching in front of my parents, that’s for sure. The nudity aside – covered up by hair and what Wikipedia describes as a “blurry vulva” – I was taken aback by the context of it. Just standing in the street, either being completely ignored or momentarily embraced by passing strangers.
What did it all stand for, exactly? Did it reflect the fact that only a few people are willing to stop and help someone at their most bare-soul moment? Hell, could anyone actually see Alanis away from those random people? These were the issues that weighed on my mind – and, over a decade on, I still get overwhelmed at the video for Thank U. It takes me back to that time of confusion and discovery – I’m not sure if Alanis ever gave me proper answers, but I can always thank her for getting me to start asking the questions.
“Yougun, pegi, tur, equa, machen, varriya…”
You seriously thought we were going to sleep on this one again? After the insanity of PSY passed by Y,WGAV! completely until he hit the top 5 of our best clips of 2012, there was no way we were going to let the all-important follow-up just go drifting on by. Here we are, 6-odd albums into old mate’s career and about a quarter past the peak of insanity that lead to Gangnam Style reaching one billion views. That statistic again: One. Billion. Views. (Dr. Evil pinky). Is Gentleman just a rehash? Is it funny? Is it worth another billion?
It’s taken me a few viewings, and I admittedly didn’t love it as much as my first views of Gangnam Style, but I’m officially on board with Gentleman. He’s once again playing up to a ridiculous character, a few of the familiar faces from Gangnam are back on board and there’s plenty of new antics to have fun with – this may well be the first time I’ve ever seen a fart dart in a music video. He manages to pack a great deal of action and fun into the video’s three minutes. The dance is far less complicated and pretty easy to get on board with; not to mention the great location shots and the choreography bringing it all together. As far as ridiculous pop videos go, it’s bang on. Can we get past the whole tall poppy syndrome and just be happy for the world’s most unlikely popstar? Have a ponder – while doing the dance, of course.
“Just call me a Holden fan, ’cause I can never afford…”
Here’s an interesting one: When Matt Okine isn’t being one of the funniest observational comedians in the country (he has gear on bread, FFS!), he’s doing the hippity-hop-ya-don’t-stop thing under the moniker of Disco-Matt MC. What a hoot and a holler, right? What’s even crazier is that he’s actually really, really good – probably as good as his stand-up. He has just dropped a brand-new clip for one of my favourite songs from last year’s free mixtape, and I’m pretty stoked to be sharing that with you today.
Seemingly shot entirely within the confines of Okine’s apartment, Still Broke sees Disco-Matt have a bit of fun with his housemates, some ridiculous costume changes and an excessive amount of grated cheese. Fitting with the whole subject matter of being short on cash, the video works remarkably well on its decidedly low budget. It’s charming, it’s funny and it looks like it was an absolute treat to make. Goes to show, like I always say, that you don’t need a million dollars to win me over with your video. Hope we get some more out of Disco-Matt before he starts selling out the Enmore and the Town Hall with his gags. Cereal, bro!
“I jumped the gun, so sure you’d hit and run…”
To start off the week, I thought I’d discuss how – once again – the medium of the music video has made me a fan of an artist I wasn’t so much of previously. For context, I’ve heard the name MS MR (say it “Miss Mister”) thrown around a bit late last year, particularly when it came to their breakthrough single Hurricane. Despite repeated radio airplay and my friends in Sietta covering the track, I just never got too excited about the band. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just felt like something was missing when I listened to their music.
Upon watching this music video, I made the realisation that this was it. The missing piece. The thing that would make me stand up and pay attention to MS MR and what they had to offer. Through an utterly fascinating and strikingly powerful video, I am now immersed in the song, its melodies, its overtones, the works. How did this happen? Buddy, have you looked at this thing? It’s a thing of utter splendour. Using a myriad of boldly contrasting colours, we are lead into a world of deviancy, unruliness and perceived sin. When these thing take place, the colours run. They bleed. They consume people entirely. True colours, if you will. This clip more or less left me completely stunned. I’m still wrapping my head around it. Well done, MS MR. You got my vote.
“The room is on fire, as she’s fixing her hair…”
By 2003, The Strokes were very much on my radar. I’d taken notice with the now-infamous video for Last Nite, but had more or less no idea what was going on in terms of their greater impact. Hell, I was in the fifth grade – can you blame me? By the time I hit high school, I naively wondered into Room on Fire, their second studio album which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in October. I realise that it’s a very disregarded and marred album now, but because it was my first full-on Strokes moment, I treasure that record. I know every word to every song. Hell, I know every last melody – I even have harmonies for them. As I see those same fans that adored them around this time turn their collective backs to the band’s latest record, Comedown Machine, I’ve returned to this era to see what I could find.
Rather than go with the Tron-aping clip for 12:51, I’ve decided to take a look at the album’s second single – overlooked at the time, but has grown in recognition over the years thanks to Guitar Hero and the like. The video is an up-close-and-personal look at the band members – and that’s not a metaphor. These here are what Wayne and Garth would have described as “extreme close-ups” (WOAHHHHH!). I loved this, as it showed exactly what each member contributed. Watching both guitars and the bass at the same time in the “chorus” of the song is spellbinding stuff. I also love Albert Hammond, Jr. shaking violently before the second verse starts up; not to mention Julian Casablancas screaming and going all bug-eyed on us. Brilliantly edited and effortlessly cool – the latter of which has basically become a Strokes calling card.