“But if you change your mind, you know where to find me…”
I’ve officially been caught out. Every bit of detail about a music video’s plot, special effects, audience engagement, cinematography, choreography etc. etc. etc. can officially be disregarded. Why? Because I have a new favourite video of the year, and it’s for Girls/Girls/Boys; the third single from Panic! At the Disco‘s outstanding new album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!
So what was it about this video that astounded, arrested and captivated me? Was it the fast-pacing and cultural highjacking, a la my #1 video of 2010, Telephone? How about the striking contrasts and raw emotions, a la my #1 video of 2011, Somebody That I Used to Know? Maybe some deep, shocking moments and devastating plotline, ala my #1 video of 2012, Hey Jane?
Nah. Brendon Urie‘s abs.
Yep, this is a purely indulgent eye-candy fest as P!ATD’s fearless leader does a shot-for-shot remake of D’Angelo‘s classic slow-jam video for Untitled (How Does it Feel). Sexy times clearly call for sexy measures – and things get pretty sexy here, people. Watch out for those lower torso shots, the hair flick and those eyes. If Brendon wasn’t one of your major crushes circa 2005/6, then he’s sure as shit going to make up for lost time here. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure. Guilty as sin.
“I’ll show you my private things, like my scrapbook of fantasies…”
One of the greatest experiences of my life was mid-November last year, in which I ended up going to a major international artist’s show every single day of the week. This included a two-day trip to Adelaide, where I saw today’s topic Silversun Pickups along with The Dandy Warhols. Not only had they been one of the most important bands of my life for the past five or so years, they had also just released one of my favourite records of the year in Neck of the Woods. It was surreal, both being in a completely foreign city and seeing (then later meeting) one of most-loved bands.
We’re now coming up to 15 months give-or-take since the album’s release; and although they have a slew of festival appearances still to come in 2013, the promotional trail for Neck of the Woods is coming to a close. It’s with this that we get the video for the album’s forth and final single – and what a way to go out. For many people, their first exposure to SSPU comes via the inimitable Lazy Eye single – more specifically, the song’s video; which focused in on awkward attempt at young love. Several years on, the clip for Dots and Dashes takes a similar approach.
Removing the band from proceedings entirely, the video follows a young, innocent girl who chances upon a rebellious soul on a bike. They like what they see in one another, and spend their day breaking into houses, jumping on beds and seemingly falling for one another. It’s gorgeously shot – I love the filters used, as well as the intimate close-ups that draw you into their seemingly-wordless relationship. The editing is also spectacularly done, to the degree where I was genuinely left wondering as to whether the whole thing was in the running girl’s head the entire time. It’s difficult to make something like this work over a five-minute music video, but Dots and Dashes is an exhilarating experience. Give it a try.
“Let’s get fucked up, then find Mr. Right and get monogamous…”
About damn time! Given their previous track record of releasing a record every other year, it’s new album season for The Lonely Island. We were teased earlier in the year with The Wack Album‘s lead single, YOLO (You Oughta Look Out), which featured hook man Adam Levine and the badass Kendrick Lamar. Unfortunately, Y,WGAV! missed out on that one – didn’t see it until it was too late! A real shame, given these guys are no strangers to this part of the internet. Still, no use worrying about that – we’ve got bigger issues at hand!
What issues, I hear you cry from the far reaches of wherever the fuck you’re reading this from? Two big ones, actually: Marriage equality and getting absolutely smashed on spring break. I think you’ll appreciate that both have been intensely discussed and debated recently, and there is certainly a world of controversy surrounding them. Through releasing Spring Break Anthem, TLI want to make sure we’re on board in support of both – and they make very convincing arguments. Hell, I was sold the second I realised that Andy Samberg had ditched Joanna Newsom in favour of getting hitched to Zach Galafianikis, who introduces the clip with a Between Two Ferns interview starring James Franco; who also finds himself getting married in the proceedings. God bless America!
“When I see myself reflect on you, I know what I was meant to do…”
Would anyone be so kind as to tell me exactly what the fuck happened to Semi Precious Weapons? Before we go any further, you need to know three separate things. The first, of course, is who the hell Semi Precious Weapons are. They are – or at least were – a glam-rock band from the States, specialising in big, dumb riffs and bi-curious lyrics that resulted in two patchy but overall quite fun albums, We Love You and You Love You. Secondly, you should know that I’ve liked these guys from the very second I saw them, opening for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball tour a few years back. Yes, they were ridiculous, but they played the part well and they had great fun with it. Thirdly: I try not to let personality or ego get in the way of a good song or a good album. Arseholes have made good music for ages, and that’s not going to change.
You got all that? Okay, great. Let’s go. This is a fucking awful song and a fucking awful video. I hated both with a vengeance. Any degree of liveliness or character has been thrown out of the window with this dull, thudding, greyscale piece of slow-jam glitter turd. They haven’t even progressed or developed their sound in this attempt to ditch their guitars for synths – there is no way a band played on this. We’re back to SPW being the vehicle for Justin Tranter, the band’s frontperson and figurehead – literally, there is a photo shoot of the band where the other three members are wearing masks of Justin’s face. Creepy.
The video, set mostly out in the desert, sees the SPW crew rock up and build a house out of essentially nothing. It’s based around aren’t-we-clever preening and sunset shots, and it’s basically the visual equivalent of ipecac. It really is a lot to stomach – especially as you struggle to figure out exactly what they’re going for here. Is it literally an expression of their delusions of grandeur – wanting a big-city life but living in the slums? Are they attempting to connect with “lesser” beings? I just… I dunno, dude. It’s going to take an absolute shitting miracle for their upcoming third album to not be the worst thing ever if this is what we have to go by.
“You made the whole world want to dance, you bought yourself a second chance…”
Well, tonight’s the night. After fifteen years of being a fan, I’m finally going to see Garbage live. At a fucking casino of all places. Weird? Unbelievably. Still, it’s happening, so I may as well deal with it on my own terms. In the mean time, I’d thought I’d do some recollection regarding this here band. I’ve been on board since their 1998 album Version 2.0, when I was simply a young pop afficionado paying close attention to the charts. They’ve obviously come to mean a lot more to me than other chart-busters of the time – anyone remember K-Ci and JoJo? What about B*Witched? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Anyway, I think – at least, from a video perspective – that this one here was my most vivid memory of Garbage growing up. I’d have been eleven or maybe twelve at the time of its release, and I can still remember every last part. The invisible band, jamming out on keyboards and guitars. Shirley Manson, as alluring as ever, even when there is literally none of her there. The gender-bending strip tease towards the end has always stuck with me, even if I am admittedly just a sucker for toilet gags. Sure, it’s all a bit naff now. But I’ll be damned if this wasn’t just the perfect lure into the beautifulgarbage record – especially at my tender age. Now, let’s see if they can still rip it live. Report to follow!
“I’ve been a loser, paid my dues, I fought my way up from the ground…”
Although not as high-profile as they used to be, it’s heartening to know that the Pet Shop Boys are still around and releasing new material with at least some level of consistency. Elysium, their eleventh album and first in three years, is set for release this September and the duo have just dropped the first single from it. The song is nice enough, with some of Neil Tennant‘s typically laconic vocal delivery and some pretty arrangements. It’s the video, however, that manages to send this one into an entirely new stratosphere. This is unquestionably their best video since 2006’s brilliant collaboration with Matt Lucas and David Walliams, I’m with Stupid.
Set in a roller derby in the UK, the video focuses specifically on a team known as the London Rollergirls. After introducing some of the key players, we’re introduced to their newest recruit, Dirty Diana. DD is slightly different to the rest of her teammates, in that she was not born a woman and is still going through the gender reassignment phase. Rather than feel alienated within the group, however, she comes to thrive. It’s what she is passionate about and it’s where she feels welcome. I can’t quite detail how many times this video made me smile so much that my face hurt. It’s sweet and inspirational – and, at a time when Olympic fever is set to take over, it takes a lot for those words to mean something, as opposed to just being tacked on phrases. I fucking adore this video. I may, in fact, have a new front-runner for VOTY. We’ll see, but for now I can’t emphasise just how much I loved this clip. Those Boys have still got the magic.
“I never really said it before, there’s nothing here but flesh and bone …”
Here’s an interesting one from my childhood. Most of my Old Favourites are either from 1998 or 2004 for whatever reason, and today we’re going to take a look at the former – a landmark video clip for me that I didn’t fully appreciate until later on in life. You see, whether he wanted to be or not, George Michael was my first foray into the world of GLBT culture. I wasn’t even born when Wake Me Up Before You Go was a hit, and missed out on both Faith and Freedom. So, this was it – but what a time to be introduced to George Michael!
Just six months before this song/video came out, George had been found with a dude in a public toilet. You know how that story goes, I’m sure. This video, in response to that saga in his life that lead to his coming out, would satirise the entire thing. Well, I suppose if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? This was way too camp and cheesy for my liking at the time, so the whole thing – the porn parody, the uniform choreography, the various queer PDAs – went over my head at the time. Revisting it later on, though, it made so much more sense. Now, as a bisexual guy myself, I trace my first real exposure to gay culture back to this video. Did George Michael send me queer? Who knows? Who cares! It’s lunchtime – let’s go outside!
“That clock going 110, I never said I’ll get you back again…”
Normally, when a video like this comes out, you can’t stop me raving about its wonders, its artistic beauty, its fragility, its resonating power. This is a video that has left me feeling like I’ve been savagely hit in the guts. I’m shaken and pale, and it’s been hours since I watched it. In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure I can bring myself to watch it again any time soon. All I can say is that this is a really important video – it’s absolutely remarkable. I’m going to shut up and let Hey Jane speak for itself. At this point in time, this is all I can do.
I might come back to this, I might not. Just watch. Not at work, though. Not suitable.