I recently decided to pin a tweet to my account saying I’ll take requests for music videos to do here. Lisa jumped on it in short order. Of her requests, I decided to go with this one first.
I was originally planning to go back and try to put this music video in some context, but I have a bad habit of biting off more than I can chew. If I were really to do that, then I would probably be going back at least as far as 1978, if not back to the 1960s. Forget that, I’ll get to those music videos in time. You don’t have to know anything about where elements of this music video come from to enjoy it.
The Chemical Brothers were probably my first introduction to this style of music. It never really stuck with me. I remember there being some show on MTV that generated screensaver-like patterns to songs such as Block Rockin’ Beats. That was enjoyable to catch late at night. But like I said, this genre of music never really became a thing for me.
I like the song, but it’s the music video that interests me. I won’t lie. I took one look at the thumbnail for the music video, and thought of Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. Then I hit Michel Gondry’s IMVDb page and a few music videos caught my eye. He has done some for Björk because of course he has. Two other music videos that jumped out at me were Blow Me Down by Mark Curry and Les Jupes by RoBERT.
There’s a constant theme of distortion of reality in Gondry’s work. For example, you can see this in 1995’s Like A Rolling Stone by The Rolling Stones. You can see the spinning of reality to reveal fantasy in his version of Sheryl Crow’s A Change Would Do You Good where it’s a viewfinder rather than something you would expect in a musical. You can see the clock in Feel It by Neneh Cherry. Another interesting one to look at is Hou! Mama Mia by Les Negresses Vertes.
You can go on and on here piecing this music video together from Gondry’s previous work, but I won’t. To really do it justice would require doing a full retrospective of Gondry’s music videos.
You can go through and interpret the video. I’ll leave that to you. Gondry doesn’t make it cryptic. My favorite part is the television test pattern. I like how the clock is normal at the start when she wakes, blank when she goes to sleep, and giant when she buries herself under her covers at the end. The hour hand does a horizontal flip between the way it is shown at the start as opposed to the end. Also, the blank clock has the drum set on top of it that progressively moves from the sidewalk across the street to being in her apartment.
Just enjoy it! I did. Thank you for the recommendation, Lisa. Someday I’ll get around to going through all of Gondry’s work that I can get my hands on.
Georges Bermann and Julie Fong produced the music video. They both worked mainly with Gondry.
K.K. Barrett was the art director. I can only find a couple of credits, but three of them happen to be ones that have already been done here. He was the “Philosophical Consultant” on Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim. I still have no idea what that means. He was the production designer on Elektrobank by The Chemical Brothers. He was also the art director for Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins. That means they hired an art director who is famous for working on a remake of a classic example of Cinema of Spectacle (A Trip To The Moon), would go on to do a Fred Astaire inspired music video, and had already done a music video with The Chemical Brothers. Even more so, he was doing music like this known as electropunk back in the 1970s with a group called The Screamers. You can see him on drums in the video below–assuming it is still up.
He has also worked on famous films like Her (2013) and Lost In Translation (2003).