Music Video of the Day: Drugs by Ratatat (2010, dir by Carl Burgess)

Today’s music video of the day is Drugs by Ratatat.

Some of my friends have told me that they actually found this video to be the creepiest thing that they had ever seen and that they would never forgive me for making them watch it.  Myself, I think it’s only as creepy as you choose to make it.

Visually, this video is entirely made up of Getty stock footage.  None of the images are actually connected, beyond the fact that they were all designed so that they could basically mean just about anything.  As viewers our natural instinct is to try to force everything we see and experience into a coherent storyline.  That’s an instinct that this video exploits to perfection.  In short, this video means whatever you think it means.  And what you think it means says more about you than the video.


Music Video of the Day: Brrrat! by Armand Van Helden and Steve Aoki (2010, directed by Ace Norton)

This video was directed by Ace Norton, who was several videos to his credit.  Watching this video, I was immediately reminded of the work of Ben Wheatley, though the video predates all of Wheatley’s features films, with the exception of Down Terrace.  The guns firing at the balloons brought to mind Free Fire.  The image of a man tied to a line reminded me of A Field in England.  And the video’s dystopian tone felt almost identical to the dystopian tone of High-Rise.

I’ve shown this video to a few people and most of them have replied with, “What the fug did I just watch?”

Well, it doesn’t matter to me whether anyone else agrees or not.  I like this video, specifically because it is so bizarre.  Why should music videos make sense?  This is a video (and a song) that creates a definite mood.  It plays out like a dystopian nightmare and really, when was the last time that a dystopia ever made any sense?  If the world followed any sort of logic, it wouldn’t currently be on the brink of destruction.

Anyway, enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: ZOOM! by Alvin Risk (2014, created by Chris Torres)

When the 8-bit world is being invaded by a bunch of spiders wearing sombreros, who else can you depend on to save the day other than Alvin Risk and everyone’s favorite internet meme, Nyan Cat?  Of course, it’ll also involve a lot of heart, a lot of dancing, and a spinning pizza.  No one should be surprised.

This video was created by Nyan Cat’s creator, Chris Torres.  I think it’s kind of adorable.




Music Video of the Day: Mother, Mother by Tracy Bonham (1996, dir by Jake Scott)

Happy Mother’s Day.

For many of us, today is a bittersweet day.  My sisters and I lost our mom nearly nine years ago and today reminds us of how much we miss her and will always miss her.  At the same time, today is also my niece’s ninth birthday and I know mom would be so proud of how her granddaughter has been raised.

Our music video of the day is also bittersweet.  Tracy Bonham’s Mother, Mother imagines a mother/daughter phone conversation in which the daughter assures her mom that life is great while secretly wishing that she could admit that it’s not.  I don’t think there’s anyone alive who can’t relate to Bonham’s desperation as she shouts, “Everything’s fine!”

There are actually two videos for Mother, Mother, both of which were directed by Jake Scott.  The first one features Tracy Bonham singing on television while her mother (played by Bonham’s real-life mother) cleans up around the house.

The second version is a bit more positive.  To be honest, despite my instinct to naturally embrace the darker version of any work of art, I actually prefer the second video.  Maybe it’s because I like playing dress up and I can relate to screaming while jumping around in a closet.  Who knows?

Anyway … enjoy!


Music Video of the Day: Madness by Muse (2012, directed by Anthony Mandler)

I, I can’t get these memories out of my mind
And some kind of madness has started to evolve
I, I tried so hard to let you go
But some kind of madness is swallowing me whole, yeah

I don’t smoke because 1) I have asthma, 2) I have a predisposition to addiction, and 3) I’m so obsessive compulsive that if I did start smoking, I would become the biggest chain smoker in the world and I’d end up being one of those women you see in anti-smoking commercials, popping out her fake teeth and pointing at the hole in her throat.  That’s not for me.

That said, if I ever do start smoking, it’ll probably because of this song and this video.  Seriously, just the opening bass line makes me want to light up.  And then the video itself proves that smoking is pretty photogenic when the cigarettes are being held by beautiful people.

The song, itself, was written by Matt Bellamy after he had a fight with his then-girlfriend, Kate Hudson.  According to Bellamy, he was reflecting on the fight and thought to himself, “Yeah, she was right, wasn’t she?”

As for the video, it features two lovers on a train, dealing with their own issues while a riot rages around them.  The two lovers are played by Erin Wasson and Max Silberman, both of whom are achingly pretty.  (For some reason, the usually reliable imvdb insists that the man on the train was played by Emile Hirsch.  Sorry, that’s definitely Max Silberman.)

Of course, the idea of two lovers in the middle of a protest immediately makes me think of this famous picture, which was taken in Vancouver during a riot:

And, of course, there’s this Ray-Ban advertisement:

(If the majority of protesters looked as good as the people in the video and these two pictures, I might even be inspired to go to a march or two.)

(Also, be happy that I resisted the temptation to include a picture from that Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial.  I came really close to doing it but, in the end, I couldn’t do it.  I was born a Coke drinker and I’ll die a Coke drinker.  Pepsi tastes too much like Vermont for me.)

This video was directed by Anthony Mandler, who has directed several videos for everyone from Jay-Z to Taylor Swift to Justin Bieber.  (The imvdb credits him with 74 videos.)  The gorgeous cinematography is credited to David Devlin.

Mario Contini, who is credited as being 1st Assistant Cameraman on Madness, was later the director of photography for Saint Motel’s My Type.


Music Video of the Day: A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum (1967, dir by ?????)

What to say about A Whiter Shade of Pale?  This is one of the essential songs.  I grew to love it as a result of it showing up on the soundtrack of some of my favorite movies.  If you’re watching a film that’s set in the 60s, chances are that you’re going to hear A Whiter Shade of Pale at some point.  (The song is also used to haunting effect in Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves.)  To be honest, even before I knew the song’s title or that it was originally recorded in 1967 by a group called Procol Harum, I knew that organ melody.

A Whiter Shade of Pale was one of the biggest hits of 1967.  John Lennon reportedly loved it so much that he would often play it over and over again in his limousine.  I don’t blame him.  It’s good driving music.  There’s a lot of debate as to what exactly the song is actually about.  Who or what are the Vestal Virgins meant to represent?  Who is skipping the light fandango?  What’s up with feeling seasick?

Here’s what lyricist Ken Reid told Songfacts about the song’s meaning:

“It’s sort of a film, really, trying to conjure up mood and tell a story. It’s about a relationship. There’s characters and there’s a location, and there’s a journey. You get the sound of the room and the feel of the room and the smell of the room. But certainly there’s a journey going on, it’s not a collection of lines just stuck together. It’s got a thread running through it….I feel with songs that you’re given a piece of the puzzle, the inspiration or whatever. In this case, I had that title, ‘Whiter Shade of Pale,’ and I thought, There’s a song here. And it’s making up the puzzle that fits the piece you’ve got. You fill out the picture, you find the rest of the picture that that piece fits into.”

As for the video itself, this is actually the second video that was made for A Whiter Shade of Pale.  (Of course, in 1967, they were called promotional films and they often played on a type of jukebox known as a scopitone.)  The first video featured footage of the band walking through the ruins of a castle and playing the song.  It also featured a few quick cuts of Vietnam War footage.  This was considered so controversial that Top of the Pops banned the video from airing.  Hence, a second, far less political video was filmed.

(Apparently, a third video was filmed in the 80s.  It featured Harry Dean Stanton and, since it’s on YouTube, maybe we’ll feature it at some point in the future.)

Anyway, I really like the video above.  It’s a real time capsule, even if it is bereft of references to Vietnam.  I like the fact that the members of the band appear to be struggling to keep a straight face throughout most of the video.

Plus, it’s just a kickass song!


Music Video of the Day: My Type by Saint Motel (2014, directed by A/J Jackson)

Today’s music video of the day is Saint Motel’s My Type.  I don’t have too much to say about this one, beyond the fact that I like the retro feel of both the song and the video.  This is a fun song to dance to and that’s certainly something that this video captures.

This video was directed by A/J Jackson, Saint Motel’s lead vocalist.  Jackson has said that he was going for a cross of “early 70s cigarette ads and New York street photography.”  Myself, I like to think of the video as being an outtake from a lost Joe Sarno movie.

This video’s cinematographer was Mario Contini while Cody Fusina is credited with production design.