Music Video of the Day: Float On by Modest Mouse (2004, dir. Christopher Mills)


This is far from the first time I have heard this song, but it is the first time I have watched the music video. I have to imagine that it is based on the now infamous ending of the TV Show St. Elsewhere. In the last episode of that show, it appears that the entire show was actually taking place in the mind of an autistic guy named Tommy Westphall.

St. Elsewhere

St. Elsewhere

The same scene has been redone several times such as the 1996 episode of NewsRadio where it appears the entire show is taking place in the mind of Stephen Root’s character.

NewsRadio

NewsRadio

You might recall Stephen Root’s character as the Alec Baldwin character from 30 Rock since it’s the same show as NewsRadio, but fixed. 30 Rock did a similar episode for it’s series finale.

30 Rock

30 Rock

In the case of this music video, it takes place entirely within a small box being carried around by a drifter. This would fit with what Isaac Brock said about why he wrote the song in an interview with The A.V. Club:

“It was a completely conscious thing. I was just kind of fed up with how bad shit had been going, and how dark everything was, with bad news coming from everywhere. Our president George W. Bush is just a fucking daily dose of bad news! Then you’ve got the well-intentioned scientists telling us that everything is fucked. I just want to feel good for a day.”

I guess it could also be a reference to One Magic Christmas (1985) where the central point of hope is the North Pole within a snow globe where the little girl visits Santa Claus.

One Magic Christmas (1985)

One Magic Christmas (1985)

The rest of the music video reminds me of the comic book styling of The Alan Parsons Project’s Don’t Answer Me in the way it portrays everything as a two-dimensional pop-up book. That music video has a comic book opening that contains the music video inside itself.

The rest is kind of morbid with the sheep being sent to slaughter, which seems to contrast with the intent of the song.

Still, a pretty music video to look at.

Christopher Mills directed the music video. He seems to have worked on somewhere around 70 music videos. He also wrote and worked as an animator on the video.

Kelly Norris worked as an executive producer on the video. It is a little difficult to tell, but she seems to have produced around 100 music videos.

Danny Lockwood’s work on the music video is new to me. He was the video commissioner. I had to look up what that means. A video commissioner is essentially a creative director in that the music company comes to him, and he goes out to find the appropriate director to make the music video. Lockwood seems to have worked in this capacity on around 140 music videos. He has also done some other work such as co-directing Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) for Katy Perry.

Enjoy!