Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lifehouse - “Halfway Gone”

 So we start out with this really blurry image of a person walking toward us. I don’t know if they’re just being artistic or if the cameraman is drunk and no one noticed. This goes on for a little bit, and boredom is already creeping in, when suddenly the shot comes into focus just as the lead singer starts warbling the lyrics. A few seconds later, the rest of the band magically appears out of the singer’s back, then they wander off to do something else.

  Then we have close-ups of each band member singing the song, proving that they at least know the words. This is a really greasy-looking bunch of people, and none of them appear to be very happy. Come on, folks, lighten up. We know you’re getting paid for this. Crack a smile or two.

  Anyway, all of this is taking place in some type of peaceful park next to a quaint little lake. Very pretty and calming. Then some rude people in cars come driving up, killing the grass and polluting the atmosphere. Crowds of yuppies pile out of the cars, and everybody starts dragging out blankets and picnic things. Great. Nothing says “serenity” like 500 of your closest friends screaming and eating fried chicken.

  But it’s a good thing these other folks showed up, because it appears that the band is no longer interested in singing the song. Now all of these extras are put to work performing bits of the song, with close-ups of people we don’t know, lip-synching and dancing like an injured moose.

  Then we have several scenes showing part of the herd breaking away and racing off to do something. This pack runs up a hill, then bursts forth over the top of it, all of them waving and cheering like they just won the World Cup. We have no idea why they are doing this, but they certainly have lots of energy. They thunder down the hill,  laughing and carrying on. I’m guessing there was a stop at Starbucks before they hit the park.

  While we were away watching this mad race to nowhere, someone in the legal department must have spoken to the band, because now they’re back in the picture. More close-ups of them half-heartedly singing the song. These shots are interspersed with some fool running around in one of those giant hamster-balls that are apparently the rage with certain classes of people. Why do people even want to do this, when you could just sit around somewhere and drink beer?

  More clips of strangers singing along. I’m fairly certain that I don’t want any of their CD’s.

  Then there’s a disturbing scene where lots of these strangers come running out of the side of a very skinny tree and race directly at the camera. This is NOT what Nature intended, with trees giving birth to threatening people that fill the screen. I don’t think I like this park anymore. It’s evil.

  More clips of unknowns who can’t dance. This is starting to get old. All of these people running around and they can’t come up with something more satisfying to do? I almost miss the stupid hamster-ball.

  Oh wait, there’s Hamster Man. He’s given a nice extended shot as he furiously works the contraption across the screen, running like a fiber drink just kicked in. Thrillingly, he trips and falls right at the last second. Watching people bust their ass is one of the finer things in life. They cut away just as this happens, but I still got my fix.

  Then some of the peeps in the cast of thousands decide it’s time to eat, throwing down their blankets and setting up a spread. Sadly, and inexplicably, this quickly leads to some severe rough-housing, with folks rolling around on the ground and potato salad flying. Some people just don’t have any manners.

  Next up is a long scene where they’re doing some of that digital magic again. This time, we zoom in on one of the band members facing away from us. At first, it actually appears that he might be relieving himself, so I’m a little concerned about the plot at this point. But no, he’s just standing very still so pretty women can burst out of his crotch and back, then caress him lovingly.

  Holy cow. This is one naughty magical park.

  We check back in with the rough-housing hooligans who don’t understand how to properly have a picnic, to find that things have progressed to an all-out food war, with entrees and drinks being hurled about. This is what happens when lip-synchers are unsupervised. But at least they’re having fun, bless their little ADD hearts.

  And we’re just about done. They cram in about a thousand quick shots of the Benetton extras as they shimmy and groove to the last of the song, a few more glimpses of the bored band members, and a final update from the food fight, where some idiot has pulled out a crate of whipped cream cans. People are squirting and screaming and running, like some jacked-up Fertility Clinic of the Damned. I hope they’re all wearing protection, especially since you never know where they might morph next.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lady Antebellum - “Need You Now”

  We start out staring at a red balloon floating in a hallway somewhere, while someone is playing a mournful series of notes on a piano. The balloon looks very sad and doesn’t seem to have any friends.

  Then we cut to Charles, one of the lead singers, sitting on the floor in a similar hallway, and now we realize that this must be a hotel of some kind. Charles is right next to one of those room service trays. There is the slightly naughty possibility that he is stealing someone’s food, because he looks somewhat guilty and normal people don’t eat in the hallway, but we really don’t have enough information.

  Charles gets on his cell phone and calls somebody. (“Dude, I just found the most slammin nachos, get over here.”) Then we are shown an image of discarded roses tossed on a table or bench of some kind. The flowers look very dejected. Apparently all of the props in this video have emotional issues.

  Oh hey, there’s the guy that’s been playing those same notes on the piano, over and over, to make sure that we’ve got it down. (We do. Does he know any other music?) We don’t know if he’s sad like everybody else, because his face is in shadow, but we can see his arm and it doesn’t look very cheerful.

  Then we start getting shots of Hillary, the other lead singer, and she’s actually INSIDE one of the hotel rooms, so she must have more money than Charles. But she’s not any happier. Her hair is kind of a mess, and somebody really needs to make the bed. I guess the maid service is very questionable in this establishment. Hillary wanders around the room, pulling at her hair, which is sign language for “I’m just doing whatever until the piano man gets through the intro and I can start singing”.

  Then Hillary DOES start to croon the opening lines a few scenes later, and now her hair looks really good and she’s bathed in a golden glow. But she’s still sad about something. While singing, she glances at some empty champagne bottles. Is she blue because there’s nothing more to drink?

  Then both of them do a little duet, even though he’s in the hallway and she’s in the messy room. I guess the walls are really thin, or maybe they’re both just really loud, in which case the rest of the hotel is probably not very pleased with them at the moment. I don’t think I ever want to stay at this hotel, what with the poor service, all the sadness, and people bellowing pop songs at a quarter after one in the morning.

  Oh look, for the chorus, Hillary has sprawled herself on the messy bed and is squirming around, almost as if the mattress is putting up a fight or her thong just flossed an uncomfortable spot. We cut to the hallway, where Charles glances down at the room service tray to make sure there’s nothing left, then he goes back to singing and looking tormented. Then he gets up and wanders off, perhaps to see what they had for dinner in the next wing.

  Oh wait, he has apparently left the hotel, because now he’s in some diner, where he’s very protective of his coffee cup, keeping his hand over it the whole time. Or maybe he’s cold and just trying to warm up. He certainly can’t be hungry after the hallway buffet, and there’s no food on the diner table, so the waitress is going to get a really crappy tip unless she upsells the cherry pie.

  Then Hillary finally drags her lazy ass out of bed, checks the mirror to ensure her sparkling formal wear is still form-fitting, then she grabs an overcoat and heads out into the night.

  Back to the diner, where Charles is still wailing and shielding his coffee from terrorists. The piano man waltzes in with his female companion and they sit at another booth, looking very happy and making googly eyes at each other. We instantly don’t care for them, just because. This is a sad song and they’re just ruining the mood.

  Cut to Hillary in the backseat of some car, with her head shoved out the window as she belts out a few more lines. The car doesn’t seem to be moving, so I’m not sure where she thinks she’s going. (In the midst of this, we get a brief shot of Charles doing a very odd hand movement that seems to signify he has just been instructed to turn his head and cough.)

   More of Hillary in the car, whipping her head around and gripping the lowered window. I think this is supposed to mean that she’s very anguished about certain decisions in her love life, but it might just be that she’s getting frustrated with the Sonic waitress who is taking WAY too long to bring her cherry limeade.

  Charles suddenly stands up and races out of the diner, without leaving any money at ALL, never mind a tip. (Does this guy just not understand that you are supposed to PAY for food? What does he not get?) He hurries along the sidewalk, and actually starts running, so he’s either really late for some rendezvous or the coffee has kicked in with a surprising vengeance.

  We also get shots of Hillary back in the car. Her hair is blowing around, indicating some type of wind disturbance, but I’m still not convinced the car is actually moving. (Where the hell is the driver? Why are there no other cars around them? Why aren‘t they stopping to pay tolls? How come irritating homeless people aren’t trying to wash the car windows? It’s just not very realistic.)

  Anyway, they both somehow end up at this building where some type of formal dance is going on.  (Hillary does take time out of her mission to pose for the cameraman while she sings one of the critical lines in the song, then she starts running frantically again.) They sashay into the ballroom and start scouring the crowd, with all the dancers wearing black eye masks to heighten the tension as well as disguise the fact that we are seeing the same four extras from different camera angles. Budget issues, I guess.

  Charles finds his lost love first, some blond who looks a bit like Hillary but is way younger and smiles a lot more. Then moon at each other for a bit. Then Hillary finds her man, who doesn’t look anything like Charles but is way younger and smiles a lot. Then the finally-happy couples hold each other and slow dance while some queen in charge of the party releases confetti over the crowd.

  While everyone is reuniting and it feels so good, the piano man and his adoring mate wander in and start hugging as well, showing that you don’t HAVE to be in a relationship where people fight and then sing about being drunk and lonely. You can get along just fine and you still might be featured in a music video. There’s hope for everyone.

  Well, maybe not everyone.

  The final shot is of the sad balloon that started all this mess. Now the poor thing is lying on the carpeted floor of the crappy hotel, half-deflated, with it’s tragic ribbon all trampled and unloved. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to take this, but it’s certainly not a happy image. What are they telling us?

  Maybe it’s a promo for the next Lady Antebellum single. Something like “Need Your Helium Now” or “Latex on My Mind” or “Love Don’t Live Here on the Floor”.

  Or maybe not. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube...


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