Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bon Jovi - “What Do You Got?”

We start out with a glamorous couple arriving at some big event, with limos, a red carpet, and paparazzi shoving cameras at women tightly strapped into the latest couture. We don’t know who they are, but it’s probably not important in the long run, we’re just here to see if Jon is still managing to not age at all while the rest of us wrinkle up and dry out.

Speaking of Jon, there he is, performing with the band on some stage where they didn’t spend a lot of money on the lighting. Yep, still looks like he just got out of college, so we have to hate him a little bit. All of the band members are wearing black, so they might be protesting something, but this isn’t made clear. But at least they seem to be happy right at the moment, and that’s the important thing, because if band members are unsatisfied, they cut the play list short and there’s no encore.

Back to the apparently-famous couple, as they climb into a limo and the doors are slammed, sealing them off from the dirty, clingy people who don’t have more important places to be. Hmm. They don’t seem to be very pleased, with neither of them speaking to each other. The woman (let’s call her Raychelle) even whips out a smart phone and begins texting someone rather than converse with her partner, being careful not to punch too hard on the keys or her couture will rip a seam.

The band plays some more, then the limo pulls up outside a fabulous house (naturally, do you really think they’d let the Beautiful People live in a trailer?). The non-speaking couple saunter into the dwelling, then take separate staircases to separate bedrooms. Clearly, there will be no consummation of their marriage this evening, which is sad, because now the household staff will have to make two beds in the morning instead of one.

The band plays some more, and at this point I think we can just assume that the band will play some more throughout the rest of the video. They really aren’t doing much on their side of the story line, with Jon just singing and remaining young, and the rest of the band playing their instruments and being professionally cool and hip, having been at this rodeo for quite some time. So we’ll focus on the fake couple, their marital issues, and their failure at being happy despite having oodles of money.

In the separate bedrooms, the man and woman both love watching them some Jon Bon on their fancy wide-screen TV’s (which, if you take this mutual Jon admiration far enough, could certainly explain why they aren’t sleeping together), with both of them wearing 3-D glasses to make sure their time with Jon is well-spent and satisfying. Nothing says quality like drum sticks, guitars and body parts being shoved at you in a realistic manner.

Next up we have a ritzy pool party out behind the manse, apparently a birthday thing for the couple’s wee ones, with lots of energetic but spoiled youngsters splashing about and never having to worry about money while their various parents stand around and compare stock portfolios. Interestingly enough, we see Raychelle ignoring all her rich acquaintances and their offspring (including the products off her own assembly line), choosing instead to read a celebrity magazine with her and estranged hubby on the cover.

Oh wait, she finally does pay attention to the festivities, once somebody pulls out a camcorder, at which point she runs over to pose with hubby (let’s call him Borneo, because cool people never have regular names) as the youngsters are handed gifts that they don’t care about and will immediately throw in the pool when no one is looking. As soon as the camcorder is lowered, Borneo quits smiling and starts texting, while Raychelle fiddles with party favors and makes sure her bathing-wear is camera-worthy.

Quick scene with several of the youngsters watching a TV monitor with a loop of the couple walking down that red carpet. Great. They’re training the kiddos to value star-worthiness over minor things like family relationships and actual happiness. No wonder the children of Hollywood royalty make poor decisions that lead to them experimenting with drugs, shaving their heads, and “accidentally” releasing porno tapes of themselves cavorting with multiple partners instead of going to high school.

Now Borneo and Raychelle are at the airport, boarding a private plane and waving at the paparazzi as they do so, because you can’t really leave home unless an entourage sees you do so. (And, of course, they are leaving their own children behind, because even private jets have baggage limits.) The couple eventually arrives at a swanky hotel where the staff apparently outnumbers the guests in a 5-to-1 ratio and everyone has perfected the art of smiling when they don’t really mean it.

The couple enters their separate but adjoining rooms, with each room containing an alarm clock that conveniently plays Bon Jovi videos. Raychelle immediately plops on her bed, because it’s very tiring being beautiful all the time, not saying a word. Borneo stares at her for a while through the open shared door, then he shuts the door, equally not saying a word. But at least they’ve both got Jon Bon to help them make it through the night.

Final bit is Raychelle and Borneo walking through the hotel lobby. (It’s unclear why they are doing actual physical labor when they could just pay someone to do it for them, but we’ll let it slide.) They happen to walk past a just-married couple, who are in the midst of dashing off to places that couples go before they have learned to hate each other and play little games of pain. Borneo and Raychelle look at one another for a bit, actually smiling, then they turn and keep walking.

Interpret that as you will. They might just have a spark left to their relationship. Or they might just be really giddy that they are currently wearing casual clothing for once. Perhaps that’s the answer to a good marriage. Don’t buy couture.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daughtry - “Over You”

We start out with a young woman, sitting in a crappy metal chair in what looks like a crappy office basement or some such. She’s wearing a wrinkled hoodie and her hair is messy, so she’s probably not having a very good day. The camera zooms in on her eyes so we can see that, yep, it’s a bad day. And possibly a bad life. Anyone who is forced to sit in a metal folding chair has done something wrong at some point.

Cut to Chris starting the song while standing in front of a boarded-up window that has been un-boarded, probably by someone who wanted to see what the sunlight would do when it hits Chris’ head. He doesn’t stand there long enough for us to find out, and instead stomps over to the rest of his band as they are playing in another section of an old abandoned house. Right as Chris is singing the words “old abandoned house”. It’s perfectly timed in an “I’ll completely forget about this in two minutes” sort of way.

Cut to the woman and what might be her boyfriend, at some party where she’s having a swell time sucking down adult beverages while he stands in the corner and glares at her. (So he’s one of those kind of boyfriends. Great.) Of course, Girlfriend appears to have had about 700 drinks, based on her inability to satisfactorily get number 701 anywhere near her mouth without spilling most of it. (So she’s one of those kind of girlfriends. Terrific.)

Brief interlude so the band can play the chorus, and we can reflect on both the tragic relationship arc that we’re watching and the amazing way that Chris’ mouth attacks that surely innocent microphone. For bonus viewing, the camera spins around quite a bit, letting us marvel in the amazing set detail, which includes stripped box springs, those dusty pictures of old folks that nobody remembers but people still keep, and what might be a pile of kumquats in the corner. Very nice.

Back to the soiree, where Girlfriend is getting that “what?” look that drunks get when they are vaguely aware that they’ve done something wrong but have no idea what that might be and just decide to be belligerent. Boyfriend remains very unimpressed, but at least he’s moved to a new glaring position, one that allows the light to better feature his hairdo. (Nice highlights, dude.)

Oh, here’s the requisite part where the band jams as Chris catches his breath and dries off the microphone. I’m not sure why they need so many guitar players, but they seem to be having a good time. Chris steps back up to the microphone, and it whimpers a little bit. Poor thing.

Now the unhealthy relationship duo has moved to a convertible tooling down the road, with Boyfriend driving (hallelujah) and Girlfriend sitting on top of her head rest and waving her arms in the air like she just don’t… remember the rest of the words to that song. He’s still glaring and pouting, natch, but he’s not exactly telling her to get her drunk ass back in the seat, so I’m giving this relationship roughly two more hours before he signs into an online dating service.

Time for the chorus again. Guitars, decrepit house and eyeliner. Wait. Maybe Chris isn’t wearing his trademark eyeliner. Has there been a budget shortage? It’s hard to confirm the eyeliner status, because Chris won’t stay still and the camera person went to the school of “just roll the damn thing all over the place”.

Back to the car, where Boyfriend has had enough of nearly-airborne Girlfriend, so he finally gets her uncoordinated self in a more traditional car-riding position. Sadly, Girlfriend starts grabbing at the gear shift (maybe she’s hungry and thought it was a hotdog?), causing Boyfriend to snap at her rudely and make dramatic hand gestures. Girlfriend slumps to the other side of the car, sad and confused.

Then, in that illogical vodka way of thinking, she decides it would be appropriate to turn into a she-beast and start slapping and scratching at him. This does nothing to help matters, of course, and their increasingly out-of-control tussle sends them swerving into the path of another car. Whoopsie.

Cut to the band, playing and drawing out the suspense. Did they crash? Did somebody get hurt? Did she ever get anything to eat?

We get back to the action, and find Girlfriend wearing a white dress in a white room, possibly a bathroom, crying and having an emotional breakdown or a really bad reaction to the shellfish. Then she’s on a bridge, wearing a black top, all crouched and furtive like a documentary on The Nature Channel. Back to white-dress Girlfriend, where she really, really hates the mirror above the sink for some reason. Then she decides she’s okay with it, and decides to wash her face and tidy up.

Now it’s time for a montage, with jump shots of White-Dress Girl huddled in the bathroom corner, Gazelle Girl running across the bridge like there’s a sale at The Gap, White-Hoodie Girl remaining uncomfortable in her chair, Gazelle Girl apparently taking a break to run hurdles at a local track meet, and Chris and The Daughtries jamming their way to the end of the song.

We close it out with Gazelle ending up at an intersection where she finds….well, nothing, which makes her even more distraught. (Was she looking for, I don’t know, the boyfriend that we haven’t seen since we got schnockered and accidentally played chicken? Oooh, girl, what you done did?) Then Hoodie gets up and walks to the front of the AA meeting. “Hi. My name is Sarah…”

Hmmm. Well, I feel really proud about the beer sitting next to me as I write this. You?

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Killers - “Somebody Told Me”

Okay, folks, this one is basically a straight-on shot of the band performing, with a few pretty lights thrown in, making it a little tough to bring the funny. So we’ll just make crap up…

We start out with a light board whizzing by, then we began to focus on the band, playing the song in front of a giant billboard of… them performing. Except that it’s nighttime with the live folks and daytime for the video people. Deep, huh? Another light board whizzes by as if to confirm that, yes, we spent a lot of time trying to be clever, thanks for noticing. Would you like some ginseng tea while you watch?

Here comes lead singer Brandon, snaking his microphone cord along and belting out the song, then up pop the rest of the members and we got it goin’ on. The drummer seems especially excited to be here, bouncing around on his little stool like he drank all of the sugar milk from his cereal bowl. I can’t really report on one of the guitar players because he insists on running around a lot, but he does have a healthy dose of hair, good for storing snacks and coupons.

And I do believe that other guitar player might have partly-inspired this song, because he sure looks like he could use a bathroom door with either symbol. Which is a good thing, really, because it means less wait-time and more clothing options. In fact, he might even be thinking of wardrobe expansion right now, because he doesn’t seem to be as invested in the acrobatics like the rest, just standing there in a Slash tribute.

Then Brandon runs over to start playing with one of the giant light boards, running his fingers along it in a manner that would raise eyebrows in church but is just fine out here in the dessert. Then he runs back to join the others as they do a bit where their silhouettes appear on the screen behind them, holding a pose that oddly makes me think of Depeche Mode. Not sure of the connection. Is anybody in this band on heroin?

There’s a brief moment when Brandon tries to squeeze his head for no apparent reason, so it’s probably something you have to see live onstage to really appreciate. But he segue-ways out of that questionable inspiration with a nice double-kick to the sand, flamenco style, accented by the nearby red guitar and what might be a rose flying across the screen. Or that might have been Kristin Chenoweth. I’ll check the credits.

It’s right about here that we first start seeing the James Bond go-go dancers in front of another light board that is spelling out the name of the band. (Just in case we didn’t know who they were, of course, not for any type of vanity thing.) We are only seeing little snippets of them for now, but I bring them up because they basically take over one whole segment later on and you need to be psychologically prepared for that.

And actually, at this point, you have basically been acquainted with all entertainment elements headed your way. The rest of the video is much of the same, with things randomized by the editing blender. Brandon loves him some light board, the gang boogies in the sand, and the giant video screen offers reverse images of the live action for those members of the viewing audience who took the red pill instead of the blue.

There’s some fun with editing and close-ups of Brandon’s face as he mugs it up, including a well-done sequence where he glances off to both sides repeatedly, indicating either discomfort with his current social situation or possibly a metabolic condition. (Or maybe he’s waiting for Kristin to swing back through.)

Fair to say that nothing prepared me for the image at 1:44. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Somebody decides we need a little more movement with the camera, so we do that for a while, with the lens whipping about and various instruments, body parts and cacti intruding on our peripheral vision. Then we get to the kind-of slow part of the song, so the frenetic pace slacks off and Brandon quits trying to electrocute himself on the light boards. Then we do the whump-whump thing and all hell breaks lose again.

We bring on the dancing girls, go-go that is, and they start gyrating in front of a light board with an intensity that you normally only associate with scientific experiments where atoms are split or new species are created by fevered renegades with amoral tendencies. But at least the girls seem to be having a good time, despite the tremendous amount of wattage behind them that is probably crisping the nethers.

And that’s how we wind things down. Everybody’s playing and dancing and creating moments that will soon be translated into blog posts. To bookend the artsy theme, the final shots have the live band performing in breaking daylight while the video shows the sun setting. Or something like that. I didn’t take either one of the pills, so I’m not really sure.

Wait. Where are the go-go girls? What’s happened to them? Did they spontaneously combust when Brandon hit that crazy-ass high note at the end? Poor things.

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lady Antebellum - “Just A Kiss”

We start off with a young woman finding a seat on what is probably a bus, but could be anything that has rows of seats and lots of windows, like the bedrooms of certain tramps I know. We get a brief glimpse of what might be Hillary sitting a few rows back, watching the woman, the possibility of a knowing smile on her lips. Oh? Is this going to be a stalker thing?

I guess we’ll learn more about that bit later. First, the young woman (let’s call her Katie, she looks like one) has to discover a device that is apparently not hers, tucked into her little backpack. She takes the object out of it’s case, and we realize it’s one of those iPad things. There’s a sticky note with a French phrase scribbled on it, which Katie doesn’t bother to translate for us (rude!) but it does make her smile, so hopefully it has something to do with cooking and not terrorist activities.

Another brief glimpse of Hillary, still staring. Does she need something? Medication?

Katie tears off the note, probably throwing it on the floor because she just has that carefree attitude about her. She activates a video queued up on the device, and we see a cute guy who just wants to show her a sign reading “ne moubliez pas”, which he translates for her, “don’t forget about me”. (Is Katie taking a very intimate online course to learn French? Do they both enjoy Simple Minds?) Then he calls her Julie (so we can drop the Katie angle for now) and the snippet ends.

Cut to what looks like a train-station platform. There’s Charles, sitting on a bench and doing his best to keep his seven-foot legs out of everybody’s way. Quick shot of Dave, sitting at the top of a flight of stairs and staring at his own legs, probably wishing his legs were a little longer or that he at least got to sing more on the newest album. And finally, there’s Hillary, starting off the lyrics of the song while soft lighting confirms that she has indeed changed her hair color once again.

Back to Julie staring at her large mobile device (I’m surprised they aren’t flashing monthly data rates and a phone number), watching images of she and… let’s call him Jean-Luc… cavorting about in some city that might be Paris. They’re smiling at us from a boat, and fiddling with giant menu boards outside restaurants, and Julie is making cute in front of merchandise stalls at open markets. All of the overly-fake things people do when somebody whips out a camera and nobody has to be at work any time soon.

The vocal baton is passed to Charles, all stretched out on that bench and singing in that way he has of looking at everything except us. Meanwhile, on the video, Julie and Jean-Luc are clearly falling in love, because he picks out a flower for her and she shoves her nose in it, inhaling deeply and sighing even though the flower in question doesn’t have a smell in real life.

Yep, they really must be in Paris, because now they’re on the banks of the Seine, gazing at one another deeply while the thousands of tourists that are normally there have been shunted off to alternate streets. Quick shot of the band members on a train or some such (why is it so hard to identify transportation in this video?), sharing vocals and harmonizing because they’re artists and have to sing songs about coffee and books right when the moment hits them.

Confusing shot of Julie being silly on what looks like Abbey Road, trying to recreate the famous Beatles scene all by herself and despite the probable fact that someone had to tell her what “Beatles” means. Back to the train, with Charles using his hands in a special form of sign language, then back to the lovers traversing about Paris and managing to look completely adorable in every scene.

Yet another shot of Hillary sitting a few seats behind Julie, keeping tabs. Far more tabs than a supposedly innocent stranger should keep.

Montage of the band singing and playing while Julie and Jean-Luc do all those Paris things you really wish you could do but things like money and responsibility keep getting in the way. (Well, I think I could pass on Julie screwing around with a giant soap bubble on that one street, but sign me up for the rest of it.) And, of course, the happy couple always manage to sit in the exact spot that allows famous landmarks to appear in the background while they make goo-goo eyes at one another. These things happen in Paris. It’s some sort of law.

I do have to say that I’m ready for one of those two to quit smiling so much. You can’t possibly be that happy all the time, even when the sex is really good and there’s a constant alcohol-flow.

Oh, wait, it looks like we might have some tragic sadness after all. It seems Julie has to leave town (is she running from the po-po?), so she and Jean-Luc share a really long goodbye hug at a train station, the kind where the hundreds of other people in the station magically avoid them so the camera can get a really good shot. In real life, J and J would be flattened by a thundering herd of croissant-waving Francophiles hell-bent on getting a good seat at their favorite bistro.

Shot of Julie now crying on the train, presumably sad about her departure, but maybe just really distraught that Jean-Luc has two first names and she doesn’t. Another montage of the band bursting into song in train depots and not getting arrested, then we suddenly see Julie sitting in a completely different train car, with a curious lack of nearby riders. (Has she been placed in time-out for the improper transport of bleu cheese?)

Guess it doesn’t matter why, because her isolation is interrupted by the appearance of Jean-Luc, trotting in and still being cute. They hug and fondle one another while the band continues to give the free concert at the Escargot Station. Hillary seems especially thrilled for the couple, so we can drop the creepy stalker angle that has been troubling us from the start of the video.

Cut to a final scene on the train, with Julie waking up from a dream. Oh? The Paris passion was all in her head? And there’s Jean-Luc, snagging the empty seat beside her and apologizing for waking her up. They’re apparently complete strangers, although Julie does seem to be blushing a bit. (She may not know the man, but she’s definitely slept with him, a sensation felt by anyone who has attended college frat parties.)

They make introductory small talk, then Jean-Luc pulls out an iPad, with the exact same cover that Julie found in her dream. She smiles and sits up straighter in her seat, knowing full well where this is going…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kristin Chenoweth - “I Want Somebody (Bitch About)”

We start out with Kristin, in a tight black getup and looking effortlessly cute, marching into what we’ll assume is a hair salon, since people are sitting around getting their hair done and all. She’s a bit noisy and rambunctious, but that’s fine, because we know she’s going to charm us, and the other ladies agree, smiling and waiting for the cuteness.

Kristin and her tiny self take a seat, then she begins to warble the song to her neighbor, a pleasant enough woman with pearl necklaces and a lapdog and the exact same brand of hair color as Kristin. I guess Kristin is offended by the matching, so she turns to her other neighbor, a brunette and therefore less capable of stealing the spotlight. Then Kristin just gives up and sings to everybody, because that’s all she was ever meant to do.

At this point, the back row of girls start doing choreography with their magazines and such, which is really fun, but they keep it low-key to avoid any animosity from their sisters. Turns out Kristin has her own choreography, where she gets to whip her legs around and we get flashes of the sexy red color on the bottom of her shoes.

As we break into the first sample of the chorus, the whole place is bopping and having the best time of their lives. The camera pulls back so we can see that the salon is even larger than we expected, with a whole cadre of women in the throes of a modified Lilith Fair Estrogen Fest. When the folks in that back row do a Busby Berkley bit of mess with their legs, the show instantly goes SRO for the rest of the run.

We finish up this set piece with Kristin petting the lapdog (always a good PR move, any competent actress knows this), Kristin waving those bottom-colored shoes again (when something’s a hit, use it again until they stop buying tickets), and Kristin waving her index finger to the beat (minimalist dancing is the new black, especially when you are already wearing black and you look flawless). End scene.

Next up is Kristin reclining on a couch in a fabulous, modified art-deco hotel lobby, where the other guests have been conveniently whisked away and it’s just she and her trio of devoted gay chorus boys. (Kristin loves her gay-gay’s, yes she does!) While she’s warbling, the boys pretend to want her and she pretends to not want them, and it’s all in good fun because we know the sexual mathematics are so not right in this room.

We have some more choreography, designed to highlight Kristin’s gorgeous gown, along with some polite nods to the peeping chest hair on one of the go-go boys. We get a little carried away with some risky business concerning the boys carrying Kristin along like a gold lamé cigar, but everyone quickly recovers by resorting to the standard “blonde bombshell knocks all the mens off their feet” routine.

With the next segment, we get another nod to Busby, with Kristin cavorting about in front of bodiless hands waving puffy pillows. There’s a quick shot of Kristin being uncertain if her breasts are her own, then we zip back to that faboo couch in the lobby, with Kristin milking it because you can never get enough of classically-sheathed women sprawling on complimentary furniture.

Back to Kristin in the center of all those dancers waving around silicon breast implants, only now the cast is much bigger and leg choreography has been added, creating the image of a morphing, intergalactic plant species. Hopefully somebody got paid some big bucks for this, because it looks mighty fine, in a “tribute to the fertilization of pistils and stamens” kind of way.

Cut to the final act, with Kristin in a modified gold jumper and the entire cast doing something with office chairs and top hats. We have wind fans going, which is always questionable, but Kristen pulls it off, because there’s nothing she can’t pull. (There’s an odd moment when an army of Robert Plant dancers invade, but Kristin calms our nerves by reenacting a Charlie’s Angels hair flip.)

We wind things down with the Robert Plants and Kristin doing a swell drill-team routine. (I’m personally going to take this as a nod to Kristin’s developing days at shared alma mater Broken Arrow High School and the Tigettes, although it’s most likely not. It‘s just important for the Little People to make a connection with their fave stars, even if that link is imaginary and possibly hallucinogenic.)

As the curtain lowers, we get another glimpse of Kristin and the boys polishing the floor of that hotel, check in on Kristin and her bestest buddies at the Hair Salon Where Nobody Frowns, and finally check out with Kristin doing something eyebrow-raising with a hair dryer.

Love. Her.

And killing Pushing Daisies was an absolute crime. Word.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

U2 - “Vertigo”

We start with the guys theoretically out in the desert somewhere. They’re standing in the middle of a giant, white, ringed target, like the symbol for the retail chain, only somebody spilled some bleach or racism on it. Bono does his little international countdown, and the song kicks off. The guys start banging on their instruments, and this instantly causes a wicked sandstorm. Next thing you know, the guys have massive jet trails of inky black shooting out of their backs.

It’s a very cool, powerful image. And I have no idea what it means. I have a hazy flashback about Laurie Anderson and chemical trails from years ago, but that’s it. So we’ll just keep watching, okay?

The multiple cameras whip around at different angles so we can confirm the coolness of the imagery, with Bono doing his trademark “I’m sure as hell king of something” stances and arm gestures, while The Edge and Adam do their trademark “stand in one place and look really pissed about something” poses. Oh, and Larry drums. You can’t really have a trademark pose if you can’t keep your arms still.

They redirect the evil jet stream after a bit, so that it heads a little further out and starts cutting huge rings in the sand, encircling the guys. This would be far too much distraction, personally, for me to continue performing a pop song, but these guys have played tons of venues, seen it all, so they’re not going to be bothered by an apparent freak of nature or possible dismemberment.

Whoops, the black is back, with the guys again emitting streamers that obviously aren’t going to pass any emissions testing. (Well, maybe in Texas.) Then that mess stops, mainly so we can get a clearer view of those rings the inky devil mass cut into the sand. They are now rising from the ground in stepped levels, creating a nice gladiator coliseum around the guys. Only we don’t have important things like exit doors, concession stands or a sense of not-dying very soon if the earth doesn’t chill out.

Then all the rings start doing the wave, in a rolling manner that speaks of probable drug usage on somebody’s part at some point. As expected, the band doesn’t flinch, having performed in Detroit and Manchester and having seen far worse. This goes on until you find yourself digging for that Dramamine from your ill-advised trip to the Canary Islands.

Even the center of the rings, where the guys are stomping around, starts wobbling, creating a thrill ride that only Marilyn Manson would stand in line for while everybody else volunteers for beer-run duty.

And that, folks, is basically it. The producers and editors have pulled out all their fancy tricks, so now it’s just a matter of repackaging the goods in different sequences and viewpoints. We do get a little variation at one point when the rings rise so high that it cuts off the daylight, recreating the murky atmosphere of an Irish after-hours pub (Was that Colin Farrell grabbing another pint? Dude!). Bono is singing really low at this point so as not to wake up the groupies, who need their rest for later.

As we roll to the end, the rings finally collapse and we’re left with just the personally-designed jet streams and Bono reaching an auditory climax, bellowing that “yeah!, yeah!” bit and dropping to his knees. Then somebody turns off the wind fans and everybody goes home. Except for the programmer who actually has to create all those images that didn’t really happen while the guys were just standing around in front of a blue screen. In a place called Not Really So.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bon Jovi - “It’s My Life”

We start out with some guy named “Tommy” just trying to type at his computer while his mother screams from downstairs that she wants him to take out the garbage. (We’ve all been, there, right?) Phone rings. It’s “Gina”, (played by Shiri Appleby from the excellent series “Roswell”, which vanished from the airwaves just like those UFO‘s), babbling that the band is about to start playing “in the tunnel” (what?) and he has five minutes to get there or else.

Gina’s kind of pushy, even if her hair does look cute.

Tommy slams down the phone and off we go. He races through the house, forced to accept the bag of garbage from his mother as he heads out the door of the apartment. (Moms never give up when they get fixated on something. Once you realize that, life gets much less complicated.) We start seeing snippets of the band playing the song as Tommy runs down some stairs in a manner that indicates he may never have seen such things before. (Dude, why are you walking on the railing?)

Apparently Tommy gets bored using the inside stairs, so he switches to the fire escape and works his way downward. (The editors try to make this sequence fancy by jacking with the video and replaying snippets, but it really only makes it look like a lost scene from “West Side Story”.) Tommy even drops off the end of the escape, using air instead of the sliding ladder, in one of those boldly stupid moves youngsters can get away with, plummeting two stories and not dying. (At my age, opening a stick of gum can lead to bone-breakage.)

Tommy conveniently lands on the ground just as a garbage truck drives by, so naturally Tommy hops on the back of it rather than screw with a taxi. While he settles in for his ride, we cut back to the band, and yep, they really are playing in a traffic tunnel, with fans screaming and Jon’s hair making me think of Carol Brady, which unnerves me a bit. No one else seems bothered by this, so I guess we’ll let it go unless Sam the Butcher shows up with a cleaver.

Checking back in with Tommy, he apparently gets tired of standing near the crushed pulp of things that other people don’t want anymore, so he leaps off the garbage truck (that boy sure likes to jump). Sadly, his timing is a bit off and he rolls into a pack of dogs being walked by Jane Hathaway from “Beverly Hillbillies”. Tommy hops up and runs, with the dogs deciding he’s much more fun than Jane, so they follow him.

We cut away from the Running of the Dogs for a bit, so we can marvel at the band playing and how they’ve managed to remain looking relatively youthful despite all those things that rock bands did in the 80’s. Then we’re back to Tommy and his canine companions, with Tommy making sure to leap over the camera in just the right way so that his crotch is favorably accented. Then he runs into a gaggle of Asian Elvis impersonators.

No idea.

Next up is Tommy and his four-footed gang thundering through a deserted warehouse, for no other reason that it allows Tommy to jump through the air again, making a perfect dismount that should get high scores from the judges but would have killed anybody else. The dogs, wisely, decide that potentially bashing their skulls in is really not that interesting, so they instead go off to watch a “Benji” sequel at the Bowjou Theatre.

Some more footage of the band playing, giving me time to realize that maybe Jon’s hair is more akin to Joni Mitchell, then we zip back to Tommy. Now he’s managed to alter his route so that he’s ended up in the middle of a marathon race. (That happens to me all the time.) Tommy snags one of the free water bottles from those people who stand there and cheer you on at checkpoints, takes only a tiny sip, then throws the bottle on the ground, so he clearly hasn’t learned about things like recycling, water conservation, and just taking the subway.

Then Tommy decides that it would be completely safe to just run down the middle of a very busy street. (Why the hell not? Jumping off the Empire State Building didn’t phase him either.) Quick shot of Gina-Shiri sending Tommy a text, all impatient and stuff because he’s not there to watch her have fun at the tunnel concert. (Girls who have starred in their own TV series can be very high-maintenance. Although you’d think she could afford a better mobile device than the crappy one we see her banging away on.)

No matter, Tommy keeps running, because that’s what he was hired to do. (And it allows the video editor that was hired to come up with artsy shots and images. Everybody wins.) Eventually, Tommy finds himself running on a bridge, and you know he’s going to jump off of it, because that’s just his thing. So he does, plunging downward in both slo-mo and quick-mo courtesy of that editor. (They even stop the song so we can fully appreciate his plunging.)

Big surprise, Tommy lands in a lower road directly in the path of a speeding semi, because Tommy can’t live unless he’s about to die. So we get to enjoy some nifty special effects where Tommy rolls just right so the Tires of Death don’t crush his low-body-fat physique. Then he innocently hops up and dashes away, leaving the truck driver to have a small mental breakdown and turn to a life of drugs and alcohol.

Another montage of the band playing, where everybody is really happy despite the camera whipping around so fast that you really can’t see anything, then we zip back to Tommy’s next stunt. This involves Tommy encountering gridlocked traffic, with none of the cars moving, so Tommy, quick but stupid thinker that he is, decides to just run across the tops of the cars. (That would be your first thought, right?)

This works out jazzily well at first (despite the fact that the apparently overpaid editor didn’t realize he was mixing scenes of both day and night, oopsie), until highly-caffeinated Tommy falls through the moon-roof of a car containing thuggish types that are not interested in skinny geek boys falling from the sky, even if they can run really fast and win medals.

Home boys quickly throw Tommy’s ass out da car so they can continue with their drug deals and denigrating of women, so he wisely decides to hoof it the rest of the way at ground level. This is a good idea, since he’s already in the traffic tunnel where Bon Jovi is inexplicably performing, making it easier for him to run past the security guards who have been specifically hired to stop sweaty boys who run past guards.

Tommy hooks up with Gina-Shiri, and they clutch each other in that limber way you can do things before old age and bill-paying make fervent clutching a risky endeavor. Of course, Gina-Shiri has to whine at him about where he’s been, but then they happily turn to the stage to watch Joni Mitchell Jovi finish up the set.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dave Matthews Band - “Crash Into Me”

We start out with what looks like some 18th century women on drugs, running through a park so that their billowy dresses twirl and flip. (To be fair, it’s hard to tell exactly what they’re doing, because some “artistic” person has decided to jack with the look and speed of the film, so things are a bit out of whack.) Cut to one of the band members sitting on a bass violin or some such as it floats in a pond, plucking maniacally at the strings.

Perhaps he doesn’t quite understand how that instrument works.

More images of the whacked out women, first staring at the camera with no emotion, and then they’re off again, waving their skirts in a frenzy, then forming a Maypole circle while Dave stands nearby and starts singing the song. Then we see a man wearing nothing but a skirt of violins and a cute little hairdo. He seems to be sad, so we go back to the crazy girls and Dave in that park. The sisters are now doing something absurd with trees, so I guess the drugs haven’t worn off yet.

But at least the image is clearer now, and we can see these women really enjoy the near-flashing of their private bits. For his part, Dave is standing there with an odd, slightly off-kilter expression that makes you wonder if there might be some wanted posters somewhere with his face on them.

Close-up of two of the dancing girls, who seem to be reenacting scenes from a tragic play where family members keep secrets until they all die. Then we get to see some of the other band members, but the Art Major is back to playing with the film stock, so you only see bits and pieces. A quick check of the man sitting on the wet instrument shows that he is reaching out to Jesus for some sort of sign. (I would imagine the sign would read “Get out of the damn water, you idiot.”)

The girls are still dancing, so I’m thinking there are some underlying issues that really need attention. But we really don’t have time to dwell on that, because next up we have people dressed as skeletons while wearing the skulls of horses. That’s nice. What Goth person got a hold of this part of the script? Oh, hey, there’s violin-skirt man, and he seems to be happier now, so let’s focus on him instead of the creepy horse-people.

And I’m happy to report that Jesus, or somebody, has delivered that one guy from the pond. He’s now on solid ground, at least from a physical standpoint. More artsy jacking with the video, showing images of plants and food, then another shot of the violin-skirt man, who is apparently getting arrested for something. This leads to another band member giving us the universal hand symbol for “stop in the name of love”, which doesn’t make sense, but one of the rings he’s wearing on that hand is really cool. (I wonder if there’ll be a “Where to Buy!” section at the end of the video?)

Whoa, now, those dancing girls are getting a little carried away, with one of them nearly knocking herself unconscious with some over-exuberance near a tree trunk. This is followed by more band members, again done by the Art Major so that you’re not really sure what you’re looking at. It could be a fireman playing a saxophone. It could be a baked potato. This confusion apparently causes that one guy to run float on his instrument in the pond again. Poor thing.

Oh, change of scenery, with the introduction of two Geisha ladies while Dave wears an Asian outfit while sitting on a wooden couch in a field. The Geisha girls are being dragged around this field as they ride odd carts with mannequin heads stuck on them. (One of the girls falls off her cart and rolls away. Not sure if this was planned, but I think it’s my favorite part. There’s something amusing about the sudden tumbling of people in kimonos.)

And they bring on the dancing girls once more, with them still doing somewhat neurotic waltzes whilst wearing far more eye-shadow than should be legally allowed. (Were they looking up exhaust pipes for some reason?) More artsy scenes, the main one having something to do with the girls performing a ceremony to bring Bambi’s mother back to life. Oh, and there’s tight shots of Geisha hair, in case you’re looking for something like that.

Right about 2:38 in, a snowstorm wipes out a section of the dancing girls. It’s sad, but we move on, with Violin-Skirt Man playing a tender parting melody for the petticoats that have been lost.

We have a new cast member in the form of a zombie-like woman wearing her backyard fence as couture. (Recycling is good!) She doesn’t do much except look angry, but the image sticks with you, and isn’t that whole point? A brief shot of the Geisha girls lets us know that they might be secret lovers, then Dave launches into the long “hike up your skirt a little more” bit, with images of the Geisha girls sitting on a bench and preparing to show their world to us. This is just a tad too much of a cultural exchange for me.

Luckily, we cut away to Dave riding a wooden horse while looking over his shoulder for tax auditors, the Geisha girls share some more tender moments, and the dancing girls are still at it, although one of them seems to have snagged her drawers on a pesky stump. We get an update on Pond Boy (he’s currently out of the water), Zombie Chick (still mad), Violin-Skirt Man (still can’t find any pants), and a tribute to the victims of the snowstorm (still dead, but they’re really pretty even if they are frozen).

And that’s basically how we wind things down. The dancing girls show no signs of wearing out, flitting about and humping random trees (with a cameo by Sarah Jessica Parker kneeling by one of said trees), additional close-ups of Dave, both riding his lifeless horse and making that creepy expression, and more messing around by the Art Major, with images of leaves and jockstraps.

One of the final shots is of a ball and chain rolling along a creek bed (did Dave just get out of a bad relationship?), and we end with the dancing girls continuing their rave while cute little forest creatures plot their annihilation if they don’t stop soon…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brad Paisley - “Water”

Okay, folks. This is another one of those videos with random clips slammed together, mostly of dumb-asses doing things in or near water, so we’ll have to do the time stamp thing…

0:03 Brad’s guitar floats by in a swimming pool. A script does not.

0:11 Brad swims by underwater, with the guitar now on his back. Did he rescue it? Will there be mouth-to-mouth?

0:14 Lusty people touching each other while water pours over them.

0:16 Brad appears out of a wall of water, wailing and strumming and proving that you can indeed look mighty fine when soaking wet.

0:21 Grainy footage of a man having sex with a giant donut. Fairly certain it’s not Brad, but we all have our secrets.

0:24 Is this how Menudo started?

0:27 First appearance of giant, barely-clad breasts. I’m assuming there will be multiple encores.

0:33 Brad and his entire band jump into a pool, all of them clutching their instruments and appearing to be very excited about doing so.

0:37 Mystifying crotch shot of the drummer playing his drums. Underwater. We’ll just assume that there are going to be rust issues.

0:44 Idiot #1 fails miserably at attempt to swing over water on a rope.

0:48 Idiot #2 learns about erosion and gravity.

0:54 Idiots 3 and 4 are either very clumsy or shot by out-of-season deer hunters with bad eyesight.

0:59 Idiot #5, his inbred cousin operating heavy machinery, and a little thing known as centrifugal force. Good time not had by anybody.

1:04 Overhead shot of three pairs of ginormous hooters. Those things are apparently multiplying. Must be something in the…

1:12 Improper use of a motor vehicle. And a floppy hat.

1:21 Black-and-white footage of women playing musical chairs but not understanding that you should actually HAVE chairs to make this work.

1:31 Alarming documentary footage that The Succubus Woman of Antwerp really exists.

1:38 Idiot #6 totally getting that baptism thing wrong.

1:58 Alarming documentary footage that Fruit-Salad-Head People walk the earth.

2:07 Secret male lovers perform erotic dance back in the day. Don’t ask, don’t shimmy.

2:12 Idiot #7 drives truck into swamp. In certain areas of Georgia, this is considered an official rite of manhood.

2:17 More knockers.

2:30 Horrifying footage of a man inadvertently exposing his special crack. The critical bit is blurred, but the pain is real.

2:37 Startling shot of Brad sporting a neon-orange codpiece.

2:46 More tragic examples of beer and motor vehicles not meshing well.

2:58 The real story of what happened on Gilligan’s Island.

3:02 Idiot #8 is introduced to the concept of looking before you leap.

3:18 Idiot #9 discovers why people wear helmets in the Tour de France. And that boat docks are not necessarily your friend.

3:34 That poor piece of plastic. It will be in therapy for years.

3:48 Codpiece again.

3:58 Dude, those macho boots SO don’t go with your lack of balance and blatant attempt to fall between your buddy’s legs. Points for trying, though.

4:05 Idiot #10 realizes that the “Road Ends” sign was not a vicious lie from the corrupt government.

4:11 Oddly-dressed people sail away in a boat, waving happily at us and not understanding that this will turn into much more than a three-hour tour. And the boat’s name is “Felice”. That’s not a name for a real boat. These people are doomed….

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Katy Perry - “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

Well, now. Katy and the gang have put together a little mini-movie for your viewing pleasure, packed with colorful characters, little plot and surprising guest stars. (It’s just like The Love Boat. Only totally not.) Here goes…

We start out with some paper boy doing his thing, on his bike and hurling his wares in a quaint little neighborhood that most of us can’t afford. We zoom in on one house, and travel to Katy’s bedroom, where she’s just waking up to find things are a bit amiss. The room is totally trashed, and rude people have passed out hither and yon. There's even an actual chicken who is really perturbed about something.

Katy, who has glammed up her name by adding an “H” and is now known as Kathy, is sporting one of those torture-chamber headgear devices that many of us survived in our teeth-straightening years, as well as an outfit that can only be described as “victim of home-schooling”. She proceeds to not-so-subtly freak out about the condition of her room and what might have led to live poultry and a possibly-naked stud sharing the bed with her.

The door flies open, and “Aaron” sticks his head in, played by one Darren Criss, who has apparently done quite well on a tiny little show called Glee. Anyway, Aaron overlooks Kathy’s freaking, just wanting to thank her for a party well done, then he splits. Typical party guest. They break things and then they leave.

While geeky Kathy ganders at the devastation about her, she decides to sing about her life at the moment, as we all do when confronting unusual circumstances. She warbles about some shindig gone bad, then checks her online account to see a posted video of her licking the stomach of some guy named Steve, proclaiming her a goddess for her tongue work. How nice of him.

Kathy begins to recall the hazy details, and it seems that it all started with her innocently sitting in her little-girl-geek room, minding her own business and being unattractive. Her self-loathing awkwardness is interrupted by the strains of a major blowout coming from next door, where obnoxious people are drinking and doing stupid things only because there’s an audience and party streamers. You know, like your entire college experience.

Socially-inept but defiant, Kathy stomps to the offending house, where the door is answered by “Rebecca Black”, played by, um, Rebecca Black, she of the infamous mother-financed “Friday” music video that went viral earlier this year and has apparently been seen by the entire world. Except me. I guess she and Katy/Kathy got tight somewhere along the line.

Rebecca graciously invites Kathy into her dwelling, where tons of people are having a blast, guzzling anything liquid, and doing gymnastics. While Kathy takes this all in, spazzing geekily but excitedly, she is spotted by a fellow geek cadet (“Everett”, played by Kevin McHale, also from Glee.) He and his braces swoon over Kathy, and he briefly imagines them as Knight and Fair Lady back in Medieval times, rubbing teeth metal and wearing ugly, heavy clothes while standing in front of a fake castle.

Up comes a typical high-school jock, all full of attitude and testosterone. (This would be Steve, he who eventually gets the lint removed from his belly button by Kathy. But that’s later.) He blows off our heroine Kathy and instead tries to cozy up to some slut in denim, showing off is washboard abs as a sign of introduction. Kathy is a little blue about not being immediately bedded by the jock, so her new bestie Rebecca drags her upstairs for a makeover, because that’s what good friends do, try to completely change one another as soon as they meet.

We now have a nice sequence of fashion sprucing, including the replacing of tragic clothing with racy little snippets of stretchy material, the execution of lip hair via wax-enhanced ripping, and some breast redesign accomplished with structural enhancements. Oh, and they lose the headgear, an operation which nearly decapitates Rebecca when the tension is released on the steel hardware.

Cut to Kathy tottering down the stairs in purposely mis-matched high heels, breasts that could easily be floating around Jupiter, and enough jacked-up hair to wipe out a small town. (She’s still got her braces, natch, because you can only do so much dental work in a typical teen bedroom.) Of course, this immediately gets the attention of Jock Steve, who instantly ditches Denim Tramp and races to bask in the light reflecting off Kathy’s teeth.

So now the party has really started, and we get shots of Kathy and her hair having the time of their lives, playing video party games, drinking, and imagining that grown-up life is going to be just like this. There’s an extended dance-off sequence, where people are doing the robot, and even the geeks get to join in, letting us know that these folks are really inclusive and not Republican at all. (Well, maybe those shifty people in the corner might be, lying into their cell phones about where they really are, but we’ll ignore them for now.)

We also have a bit where Kathy and her jupiters leading the crowd as they chant the “T.G.I.F” bit of the song, with her being the center of attention because you can’t wear an outfit like that and not be the center of something. We transition to the backyard for the first of two startling surprises. First, it appears that Hanson is the band performing at the festivities. (Mmmm-what?) And then they are joined by Kenny G, blasting out a solo on his instrument.

Kenny G, people. (I know. It scared me, too.)

Everybody jams for a while, probably because with all of Kathy and Kenny’s hair blocking the exits, ain’t nobody going nowhere just yet. Then Kathy picks out her bestest new friends and leads them over to her house, where they can party in her room and admire her science fair ribbons. (There’s a brief shot of Kenny being crowd-surfed to somewhere else, but no explanation is given. It’s probably best that we don’t know.)

Eventually, as always happens with any good party, things start to go awry. Poor Kathy, not accustomed to alcohol and tight clothing, throws up in one of her pretty little roller skates. Then Jock Steve decides to grab him some Kathy butt, which offends Geeky Everett, who is still pining for Kathy. So Everett, fueled by another Medieval vision wherein he slays evil Stevie while a volcano erupts in the background, punches Steve, who promptly passes out on Kathy’s bed.

Kathy, maturing socially rather quickly, realizes it’s important to catch on to the latest trends as soon as possible, and she promptly passes out beside Steve. (Smart girl.) Everett, tenderly removing the glasses of his slumbering beloved, has another King Arthur vision wherein he and Kath and their amazing teeth-hydraulics live happily ever after.

Cut back to the present, where morning-after Kathy is still reeling from the shambles of her room and the snoring of her apparently new roommates. The door opens again (anybody in this place knock?) and this time it’s Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson playing Kathy’s parents. (They look just as surprised to be together as we are to see them.)

They want Little Missy to explain things, like why is Kenny G sleeping on the couch and who framed Roger Rabbit? Kathy has a total geek-plosion in trying to explain that she somehow magically became an alcoholic tramp overnight. This eventually leads to Corey and Debbie fessing up that they used to have their own Friday-night fun back in the day, an image that we instantly hope is not about to be shown to us.

Luckily, Kathy decides that the best thing to do is just go back to bed, and the parents decide to go downstairs where we can’t see them, Debbie’s hair has more room to get comfortable, and Corey can stop acting like he’s channeling Charlie Sheen. Kathy leans back, grinning to herself, and lays her hand on Jock Steve’s abdomen, breathing nerdily as her fingers inch their way toward the blanket adorning his waist.

Careful, girl. No telling who you might find down there. (We haven’t seen Rebecca, Everett OR the chicken in quite a while. Sayin.)

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Selena Gomez & The Scene - “Love You Like A Love Song”

We start out in an Asian karaoke bar, where some guy is finishing up a horrid performance that could make bunnies cry. The hostess comes out, waving around a microphone bigger than her head and shoving the loser off the stage, and then proceeds to announce that our next contestant will be Selena. Yay! I never would have guessed that she would sing in her own video.

Selena trots up on stage so we can get a better look at her, and I’m stunned by the amount of hair that poor thing has to deal with. (How does she even hold her head up? I guess kids really are stronger these days.) Anyway, Selena starts singing, pretending to look at the little karaoke teleprompter even though she surely knows the words to her own song by this point.

We zoom into the video that is accompanying the scrolling words, and it starts out cheesily enough, with some couple bathed in pink light whilst standing on a beach. (We get a quick shot of the audience in the bar, and it’s composed mostly of older men, which makes things a little creepy since Selena appears to be about 7 years old, but we’ll try to not worry about that right now.)

Back to the video, where we see that it’s apparently Selena and Jesus on that beach, with him playing a sitar and gazing mystically in the distance, while she sprawls on the purple sand and reaches toward the camera with 3-D hands that are kind of cool. (Wait, is she begging us to rescue her? Possibly. Sitar music can really get on your nerves.)

Oh good, Jesus ditches the instrument so he and Selena, in her harem outfit, can stroll along the beach and hold hands. They pause and face one another, with Selena singing to him beseechingly. Is she applying for an Apostle opening? Surely she’s read the brochure on what happened to some of the original cast.

Back to the karaoke bar, where Selena is singing and managing to not fall off of her super high-heel clogs, a talent that comes from many years of starring in Disney sitcoms. Then once more to the video, where Jesus has found his sitar again and Selena has managed to find a hula hoop, so everybody has a hobby and it’s all good.

Another visit to the karaoke bar, with shots of the old men in the audience and Selena making an expression to indicate she has just realized how old they are. The video changes to images of (we’ll assume) Selena doing a Max Headroom / Grace Jones impersonation, complete with sparkly glasses and silver lipstick. (There seems to be an issue with the technical side of the playback, but no one seems to care other than me, so once again we’ll just let questionable things go.)

We check in on Jesus and Selena, and since they seem to be doing fine (Selena can really twirl that hoop with style), it’s time to see what they did with the rest of the budget for this video. We cut to an Amadeus / Elton John bit of business, with some guy in fancy dress playing a triangular purple piano, upon which Selena is relaxing whilst wearing a ginormous powdered wig (girl really loves the big hair) and singing into a teensy-tiny microphone the size of a cotton swab.

This goes on for a while, with Selena warbling and the guy hired as the piano player getting a little too invested in his role. (Dude, just pretend to play the piano and wait for somebody to yell “cut”.) Selena doesn’t mind, letting her partner be flamboyant while the odd Grecian busts placed around the room stare at her and don’t say anything.

The video changes to Selena doing a Lisa Loeb tribute, with the cat-eye glasses and the smart but innocent prom outfit. She’s perched in a 50’s convertible while a greaser paramour is driving her around, obviously checking out her wares more than he’s checking out the road. Lisa pretends to not notice what he’s doing, especially when his glasses turn into double-images of Selena’s lips and the scrolling text turns into Japanese. (I have no idea. I haven’t seen the script.)

Back to Selena in the bar, with multiple monitors behind her showing the Grace Jones character. Then they start jacking around with these monitors, giving us little snippets of all the fun people we’ve met here on Sesame Roll Street. We also get shots of the audience, to remind us that everybody in this video is older than Selena.

Okay, we’re changing things up again. Now we’ve headed out to field somewhere, with purple waves of grain being caressed by the wind and a mariachi band standing under the lone tree on this plain. (Well, they’re dressed in the mariachi style, but they’re playing instruments that are clearly non-mariachi, so I’m not sure what the statement is here.)

Selena, as usual, doesn’t mind the visual discordance, and instead chooses to pick up a light saber that just happened to be lying nearby, and proceeds to swing it at a pinata (in the shape of a heart, awww) that just happens to be hanging from the only tree for miles around. After nearly decapitating several of the mariachi men, she manages to score a direct hit.

This act of violence (I have never understood the concept of teaching children to beat an animal with a stick in the hopes that they will be gifted with cheap candy) leads to an explosion of animated bits of something or other filling the air. Selena appears pleased with this development, and proceeds to do a dance of victory even though she is still wearing the requisite pinata blindfold and could easily trip over a cameraman and tumble down the hillside. She’s a risk taker, that girl.

Selena ditches the blindfold, and continues to cavort about among the mariachi men, sporting vibrantly-pink lipstick that can be seen from Utah. Then we start to wind things down, with a final run-through of all the various Selenas and her playmates. Everyone is still having a swell time, and the lecherous men in the audience are behaving themselves, so it’s all good. Karaoke Selena finishes up the song, then she and her hair take a bow. The annoying hostess runs up to snatch away the microphone before the next AARP bus pulls up outside…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

One Republic - “Good Life”

We start out with shots of some drab place out in the country, maybe an old farm, with rotting fences and a whole bunch of nothing. Quick glimpse of lead singer Ryan Tedder rudely looking away from us and playing an imaginary drum set while gazing at overgrown, abandoned fields where still nothing is going on, although at one time I’m sure these fields were witness to banjo-playing and hillbillies with little regard for the family tree of their sex partners.

Ryan discovers a section of fence and seems to find it fascinating. This is all innocent and fun at first, but as the video plays out, we keep seeing him near that fence, and we begin to question his motives.

The other band members start joining in, playing their instruments and such. Ryan says a short prayer, pats on his belly and chest a bit, because he’s got the music in him, and then he starts to whistle, his facial expression that of an angelic choirboy. This is a lie, of course, because you can’t be in a successful band in this country and still be capable of both purity and whistling.

Hold up, something’s going on. The camera pulls back a little bit, and we can see that someone is holding up a board with the video of the band playing on it. Oh, so we’re going with technical gimmickry here. That’s nice, because I was already a little tired of Ryan playing a Jewish Cowboy in Amish country. Then the person holding the board changes, to a woman with magenta hair who seems intent on chewing the upper right corner of the board. She’s probably evil. Or at least hungry.

And that’s our theme for a while, with a variety of people and backgrounds holding up this board so we can watch the band jam over yonder in the leftover set from Places in the Heart. Then the camera zooms back in so the band scenes fill the screen again, and we watch while Ryan poses near fences and tree stumps while wailing the song, never once losing his odd hat or the firm belief that we actually want to look at that hat.

And here come the hands once more, with the Holding People changing at a quicker pace. This, of course, causes us to pay more attention to the outer rim and the flashing colors than the actual band, so I’m not sure this was a well-thought-out artistic decision. (I do catch enough of the main action to realize that Ryan has a fondness for standing on the edge of a broken bridge that leads nowhere. I’m sure he can get a song out of the experience.)

Full-screen jam scenes again, with the band now camped-out in the middle of a dirt road. They seem to be having a good time and feel safe, but I’m here to tell ya, having been raised in the country, some 15-year-old hopped up on homemade hooch is going to come barreling along that dirt road sooner or later, swerving recklessly in a windowless pickup, and will not see your asses until it’s too late. Word.

And we’re back to people holding the board, only now they are passing it around to one another in a twisted version of Hot Potato. Just when I’m thinking we really need to move on from that concept, they switch to three separate people holding three separate boards at the same time. This totally changes everything and I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what they do next.

But then they go back to just one holder at a time, and I am emotionally devastated. They start letting us see more of the Holding People, zooming in and out, with some of the actors taking desperate measures to appear totally charming and possibly land a TV series. (Hey, it takes less effort than that to get on some shows, like Dancing with the Stars and Fox News.)

We go back to full-screen and now the band is walking single-file through the fields, with most of them looking off to the right, possibly in fear. (See? I told you that pickup would show up sooner or later, with them getting forced off the road in a dusty whirl of rusted metal and manure fertilizer, having to leave their instruments behind for the locals to pick up and use in some ongoing feud about bovine ownership and grazing rights.)

And here we go again with the Holding People, and they’ve added some shots where four holders appear at the same time, but the luster on this technical extravaganza is quickly fading. It would be fine if Ryan and the gang were actually doing something inspiring in those fields, but how many times can Ryan walk by that same stretch of broke-down fence and that one guy who looks like he stole Bob Dylan’s hair?

I pick up the phone, intent on calling the video producers and suggesting an alternate take (Godzilla suddenly shows up in the field, or maybe one of the Holders takes the board hostage and refuses to give it back unless cherry limeades arrive as ransom, something like that), but they refuse to immediately take my call and I am placed on hold.

Meanwhile, the video plays on, with more of the same. They do seem to be spending a little more time on giving the Holders some character (hey, is that Joan Jett lying on that green lawn, and Hugo from Lost posing as a homeless biker?), which gives us a little variety, but they’re all just holding this damn board. I never thought I would say this, but I’m actually ready for a totally unnecessary line dance.

Wait, the band is back on that dirt road, so I guess they didn’t learn anything from the backwoods hit-and-run. Ryan is holding a tambourine during this part, and making odd hand gestures that possibly indicate he has lost a contact lens. This is interrupted by a Holder with such vibrantly-orange nail polish that I actually feel my corneas melting.

And basically, that’s how the rest of the video goes. People hold things, Ryan keeps showing up on that bridge to nowhere, and shots of the instrument-less band doing the single-file marching thing like The Brady Bunch headed toward that cave with the idol and the annoying revelation that Bobby and Cindy live to be in the next episode.

We go to full-screen for the final image, with Ryan whistling and then wandering along next to his new love, the voiceless but apparently highly-alluring stretch of rotting fence. It’s nice that he’s found someone, but does he really understand the splinter angle?

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.


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