Friday, October 8, 2010

Neon Trees - “Animal”

  Well, here’s another group that I initially didn’t know much about, which means that I’m really out of touch with modern music, or too many clueless teenagers have Internet access to websites where they can vote repeatedly like ants on crack. To be fair, it’s probably the first explanation, since I rarely leave the house unless ordered to do so by a health inspector.

  Anyway, we start off with dual things going on. One involves a series of scenes where what I’m assuming are the members of Neon Trees are trudging through a city where it’s snowing, headed toward something. This part is not very exciting, but there’s really only so much you can do when filming people walking, especially if it’s really cold and there’s embarrassing shrinkage happening behind the scenes.

  We also have snooty art people in a snooty art gallery, being very foo-foo about that weird art where somebody makes a single dot on a ginormous piece of canvas, and half the art world has an orgasm. Really don’t get that. But I was raised in Oklahoma, where modern art means indoor plumbing.

  The lyrics start, and the lead singer has one of those modified mohawk haircuts, with the rest of his head shaved. This is another thing I don’t understand. What is the appeal of such a thing? Is it the natural air-conditioning? Are you able to run faster when the po-po knock on the door? Then again, there’s the naughty sexual angle, and I suppose it might be a bit of fun to have a furry racing-stripe rubbing against my tingly parts. This puts things in a new light, and I may have to investigate further.

  Back to the Neon Trees people, who have suddenly decided it would be really amusing to use a nifty contraption to pump an odd, red gas into the snooty art museum so that all the patrons get a whiff and then drop to the ground. I’m not really sure what the motivation might be behind this, but I’m not in a band so I don’t have any real reference points. (I’ll admit to some wild days in college, but I never wanted to asphyxiate people.)

  The camera in the museum pans among the sleeping snooty art people as they snore and wrinkle their trendy couture that costs more than my car. Interestingly enough, most of them have refused to loosen their grip on their cocktail glasses as they went into their comas. At least I understand that part. If I’m going down, I want an adult beverage nearby.

  Once the hoity people are napping, the Neon Trees crash the party, breaking into the museum. (One of them is carrying a huge boom box from back in the day. Have these people not heard about the newer technologies?) The mohawked lead singer slaps a paintbrush on his hand, which means nothing to me, but apparently signals the other band members to race through the museum and begin performing exuberant acts of vandalism.

  Now we start getting shots of the band performing live mixed in with the museum carnage. This carnage includes Tree people racing up to art pieces and throwing buckets of paint on the mystifying imagery. That’s kind of silly. I don’t like the pieces either, but if drunk rich people want to waste their time getting aroused over that mess, let ‘em do it. I don’t care. Why waste your time with evil gases and destruction? Just make sure you vote on election day. THAT makes a difference. Sayin.

  Speaking of the live band footage, take a gander at 1:01 in the video, when a red-haired woman in the band makes a facial expression that indicates she thought she was auditioning for “Debbie Does Dallas, The Remake”.  A few seconds later, this same woman smears paint on Mohawk Man’s face, then wanders off. She’s very complicated, that girl. But she also looks a lot like Alyson Hannigan during her “Buffy” days, so that gives her some very important street cred.

  Then the really cryptic part of the video kicks in, with the gassed patrons being transformed into actual animals. Okay, I went to college and all that, but I have no idea what this bit means. (And I’ve seen John Cage live in concert, so it’s not like I haven’t been outside the envelope.)

  This goes on for a while, combining the live shots of the band performing with the morphing shots of unconscious people being transformed into cast members of “Noah’s Ark, The Musical”.  Oh, and the Trees keep destroying art all over the museum. (Are they Republican? Surely not, we’ve got a mohawk in the house.)

  Then the producers decide to start splitting the action into three screens so we have lots of activity going on. This could be fun (“Batman” movies directed by Tim Burton) or not (“Batman” movies directed by Joel Schumacher). But if we can get three different angles on the goings on, maybe we can understand why the Trees really don’t care for the snooty art people and want to gas them.

  Suddenly, we get a brief shot of the lead singer’s feet, and he’s wearing red velvet boots. This totally changes everything, or at least makes me wonder exactly where you would find footwear like that. But before I have time to google the possibilities, we’re off and running with another montage of the live band performance versus a dizzying array of animal people strewn about the art gallery like the NRA has finally taken over the world.

  Hold up, it looks like the snoozing animal people are starting to arise from the dead. Well, we need to see where this goes. The Old McDonald’s gang decides to start dancing while the band continues to play. It appears that unwillingly snorting a red gas has completely changed their lives. And I suppose it has, because now they have to get a live-animal permit in order to live in their own homes.

  So now we have extended scenes with Cow People dancing about with abandon mixed in with the Trees jamming with their bad selves. (I’m not sure what’s up with the one guy wearing the referee shirt. Was there a pivotal college football game that left him bitter for all eternity? Not clear.) But the red-haired girl still looks like Alyson, so it’s all good.

  We have some brief footage of the band members back outside in the snow, which might be an editing error or might be the band showing their support for the poor people who can’t afford the cover charge for their concert at the Museum of Snooty Art People Who Could Now Star In A New Episode of “Wild Kingdom”. Then we zip back inside, where it’s warmer, and someone who looks like Elsie the Cow is bouncing around like she just found a very special salt lick.

  And that’s about it, folks. We wind things down with the band rocking the Cowsbah while the art patrons dance and contemplate their new lives in specially-designed habitats at the local zoo. (There’s a startling moment when a Horse-Man appears to be lunging with vengeance at the lead singer, wanting his autograph or something self-validating like that, but Security quickly whisks Sea Biscuit off to greener pastures.)

  Then the band finishes the song and heads off to an after-hours party as the insurance adjustors move in to evaluate the loss of the tiny dot on that otherwise wasted enormous canvas…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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