Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Foster The People - “Pumped Up Kicks”

  Note: Another mix of concert footage and random scenes of people and food, so we’ll do the timestamp thing…

0:03  Man falls out of sky and crashes into lake. This is probably symbolic of Rick Perry’s chances of becoming President.

0:08  One of the band members is being attacked by a laser-wielding robot in the distance.

0:17  Enthusiastic fan is missing part of her top, doesn’t care.

0:19  Nearby restaurant is totally empty. Making mental note to avoid.

0:24  Startling appearance of Capri pants.

0:27  Robot still pissed.

0:31  Cubbie drives getaway car after incident at convenience store.

0:36  Band members not sure if this is the right bus stop.

0:44  Cubbie very pleased with his choice of black shirt.

0:45  Something about a snapping turtle.

0:50  Capri redux.

0:56  Mark violates sea creature, feels no remorse.

0:58  Tennis shoe given walk-on part, ends up in credits.

1:06  Cubbie performs magic trick with vague purpose.

1:12  Confusion over where the camera might actually be.

1:16  Abandoned latte weeps pitifully.

1:28  Overdue for potty break.

1:34  Still looking for that camera.

1:38  Gratuitous shot of water.

1:44  Crowd scene involving darkness and possible sweating.

1:47  Possible blurry image of Elvis, fueling rumors once again.

1:52  Lone member of audience is still very dedicated.

2:01  Possible fornication with keyboard. Discuss.

2:09  Overuse of moisturizer.

2:19  New dance craze sweeps nation, dubbed “Bow-legged Bebop”.

2:22  Nun escapes from monastery, becomes street walker.

2:29  Robot is still way back there, proof of issue with motor skills. Danger element diminishes.

2:36  Cool shades accent cultivation of mustache.

2:39  Lost episode of… Lost.

2:40  Desperate resistance fighters attack enemy with flattened bombs.

2:48  Band member locates missing jockstrap from eighth grade, celebrates.

2:53  Another politician stumbles during Republican debate.

3:03  Whistling makes your head heavy.

3:07  Dreams of becoming a star on Broadway briefly resurface, alcohol most likely the culprit.

3:09  Recovered jockstrap proves to be a bit binding.

3:18  Creative attempt to put on shoes receives low performance numbers from judges.

3:22  Tree.

3:28  Over-exuberant smile hides dark secret about stolen French fries.

3:31  For medicinal purposes, of course.

3:37  It is apparently very important that somebody get something done right now.

3:45  Crowd mistakenly thinks they are in Pamplona, waits for signal to start running.

3:51  Signal is given.

4:01  This is why you don’t ride around in open convertibles, people. Bugs.

4:10  Whoops, guess that robot finally made it here. Pain ensues.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thompson Square - “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”

  We start out with Keifer and Shawna strolling around some Charleston-like city, when they suddenly decide it would be a lot of fun to stand in front of somebody’s house, blocking the garden gate while they start warbling the song. This little bit of civil disobedience is intercut with shots of another shiny, happy couple doing summer things like stare at the ocean while slowly getting hot for one another.

  Keifer and Shawna finally walk away from the stranger’s house (possibly due to a court order, but this is not explained), and they now proceed to wander neighborhoods and admire the lovely old homes. (But really, the main attraction here is Shawna’s multi-colored hair, piled on her head in a modified bouffant that could provide shelter for a family of four.) We also get more shots of the increasingly-lusty other couple, but we’re already starting to not care about them since they aren’t really doing anything interesting.

  Next up, we’re in one of those old houses. Or maybe it’s a church, who knows, some place that I sure couldn’t afford on my salary. Keifer is busy making sure that we can see his cute little hat, while Shawna is alternately snooping around in the garden and standing on this balcony thing so the sunlight can come in the window just right and make her hair sparkle even more. (She could probably even help planes land by this point.)

  I guess they get kicked out of that place as well, because we’re suddenly at a merry-go-round somewhere at night. (Nothing says “relationship” like riding fake horses in an endless circle, right?) There’s yet another couple falling in love, canoodling over the horses’ heads, but we don’t really know them and basically don’t care.

  Brief shot of a pretty lighthouse, and then we’re at the beach at sunset, with Shawna totally not looking out of place in her frilly goth-girl outfit. (Keifer still loves his little hat, in case you were keeping track.) They sing for a while, which apparently terrifies some of the other beach-goers because we get shots of random people running away on the sand. (Or maybe running is now a sign of appreciation at impromptu concerts these days, haven’t been to one in a while.)

  Then we have a nice montage, showing all the beautiful people and places that we’ve already seen, followed by Shawna and Keifer at the top of the lighthouse. (Maybe the light burned out and somebody asked Shawna to use her hair to signal ships at sea?) Another montage kicks off, this one involving more beach scenes, with more people that we don’t know splashing in the water and obviously not having to work for a living like the rest of us.

  We start to close things out with Shawna and Keifer on the beach at night, still singing the song so I’m sure they’re really tired by now. We quickly run through all the couples we’ve met, all of them smooching away, so we now have an official answer to the question in the song title. Final scene is of Shawna and Kiefer back on top of the lighthouse, lips locked while the cameraman does some fancy work with his lens.

  Far out at sea, a ship blows its horn, thanking Shawna for lighting the way home….

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

JoJo - “Disaster”

  We start out with JoJo leaning against a nondescript wall, with an expression that either indicates quiet reflection or the possibility that she might be about to do something really rude and most likely criminal. Then we cut to her with the band, and JoJo is doing something with her hair that apparently makes her sing better, and she approaches the microphone.

  Then we start to jump around, with JoJo and a possible boyfriend having a very good time on a couch, probably because her fingernails have been painted a rather exciting shade of green. Next we hop over to a motorcycle shop, where JoJo and friend show us that there are indeed many different ways to ride a bike. Throughout it all we keep going back to JoJo leaning against that wall, so she must really like that wall a lot.

  Uh oh, we’re back in the motorcycle place, and apparently boyfriend has just done or said something unsatisfactory, because JoJo is marching away from him with a look that he probably won’t be getting a Christmas card this year. In typical male fashion, the guy and his buddies jump on their bikes and ride away instead of staying put and trying to figure out how they might be able to mature a little bit.

  But I guess the relationship isn’t completely over, because now we have JoJo and GuyGuy in an apartment, with J doing something with a guitar while G seems to be yelling about something else. JoJo decides to just put on her headphones, so maybe nobody is willing to make this thing work out, which of course irritates GuyGuy and he decides to destroy some glassware. I’m thinking if it’s this bad when you’re young and pretty, what are you going to do when you both get old and wrinkly?

  GuyGuy stomps off, leaving JoJo to take off her headphones and look really disappointed about life, but at least she’s getting some great material for her next album. But I guess this isn’t enough compensation, since JoJo decides to follow GuyGuy out of their building and continue the heated discussion in public. GuyGuy does not seem to be pleased about having an entourage right at this moment.

  Cut to JoJo and that wall, where she’s become really invested in the song, using aggressive hand gestures and making faces that you normally see during childbirth. Then we zip back to the bickering couple, with GuyGuy stomping off again and JoJo clutching at her face and looking distraught, despite the really cute Daisy Duke outfit that she is wearing.

  More shots of JoJo and her impressive hair singing with the band. She sure seems to be smiling a lot even though she’s supposedly emotionally wrecked, so I guess singing really does make you feel a little better about bad choices in your life. She bellows some really strong notes for a while, then we start getting glimpses of her somewhere else, walking around with what might be a jean jacket.

  She eventually walks up to GuyGuy and hands him the jacket. As he takes it, we notice that his arm is bandaged, but nobody explains to us if JoJo managed to beat the hell out of him at some point or if he just misunderstood how hot an exhaust pipe can really get. Then she either whispers in or tongues his ear, then she turns and walks away. Judging by the expression on GuyGuy’s face, he doesn’t seem to know what she did, either.

  More of JoJo and her beloved wall.

  We wind it up with JoJo continuing to walk away, so it really must be a long way to the door out of this place, more of JoJo and the band helping make music heal a world troubled by breakups and long lines at Starbucks, and flashbacks to all the domestic violence scenes that would normally lead to police intervention, but in the magical world of music videos, you just pick up a microphone and everything is instantly better…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adele - “Someone Like You”

  We start out with the camera rolling backwards on a sidewalk in what is most likely Paris, with the lovely River Seine on the right. It’s all black-and-white and artsy, as the intro piano-work is playing, so you know we aren’t going to have any line dances in this one. Eventually we catch up with Adele, her long hair blowing in the sad breeze, her eyes cast downward because people have made her unhappy once again and she needs to sing about it.

  So she does, breaking into the haunting vocals as she strolls along. (Vocals which, funning aside for the moment, get me every time.) Adele keeps glancing off to the side, and it’s not clear if she’s looking at the director or if she’s just trying to keep from falling in the river. The camera pulls back some more, so we can see that someone has picked out a very interesting outfit for Adele, brooding but smart. There are zippers in odd places, and I find this very fetching.

  Adele and her outfit walk for a very long time, with the river quietly accompanying her and absolutely no other people in sight, so there must have been a wine and cheese festival in Bordeaux this same weekend. Then again, Adele is notoriously afraid of performing live, so she may have asked the mayor to lock everyone in their houses until she got to the end of the song. There are amazing things you can arrange when you have money.

  The camera zooms back in when Adele is belting the chorus, so we can see in her eyes that she’s still not happy with whoever done her wrong, despite warbling lyrics about how she’s moved on and we’re all good friends now. I’m thinking you probably don’t want to get on Adele’s bad side, especially if she’s had a shot or two of tequila. Then the moment passes and the camera starts spinning around to show that Adele has managed to wander into a nice square where you can see lots of local landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and little bistros where people would be sipping cafĂ© au lait if anybody was actually in town.

  The camera finds Adele again as she’s marching away from us across a bridge that is probably older than most countries. She might be upset with us for getting all touristy and distracted, but she doesn’t explain anything and just makes us walk behind her for a while. (There aren’t any zippers on the back of her outfit, so I’m a little disappointed, but the angle does kind of remind me of Wynona Judd, only without the extra relative that doesn’t sing as well.)

  Adele pauses in the middle of the bridge to review some boats on the river, managing to continue singing without moving her lips, so she has even more talent than we suspected. She does this for a bit, then she and her lips start moving again along the bridge. The camera’s in front of her once more, and Adele gives us some more of those piercing glances to remind us that she hasn’t completely forgiven us for doing whatever we did to make her write a song about it and move to Paris.

  This is apparently a very long bridge, because girl trudges along for a couple of hours, all the time bellowing about heartbreak and redemption and not getting hit by the tiny little cars that would normally be zipping over this bridge if that cheese festival hadn’t been happening. At one point, the camera starts to drift away again, but Adele forces it back on her windswept tragedy and paleness.

  Then we switch to a close-up of Adele’s eyes, with this image overlaid on more scenes of the famous landmarks. (This is probably the part of the video intended to satisfy the European audiences, because Americans are uncomfortable with symbolism and the lack of explosions in their entertainment.) This is followed by Adele staring blankly in one direction while a man walks away behind her. Wait, who is he? Is he the one that made her cry?

  Guess we won’t find out. The camera does another arty 360-degree pan of our unclear and murky surroundings (Are we in a restaurant? Is that a wine bottle? Why would someone leave food in the window? How much are we supposed to tip?) until we get back to the mysterious walking-away man. Then we spin again, in case we missed something on the first tour.

  The camera finally comes to rest on Adele once more, with her still blankly staring and her departed lover still departing. Maybe it’s time for that shot of tequila…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mat Kearney - “Closer To Love”

  We start out with Mat sitting in what might be his house, watching a clock on the wall and wearing his trademark hat and tie that oddly remind me of that one guy in Flashdance who had to move away from Jennifer Beals and her warehouse apartment. Right at 3 o’clock, Mat picks up an outdated but trendy-again red phone, punches in a number, gets some woman’s answering machine, and then proceeds to leave this entire song as a message.

  I know, right? Way cool. My friends have never done that for me. They now officially suck.

  Anyway, Mat’s singing, and we start getting shots of this woman wearing a sweater and looking kind of blue about something as she wanders around somewhere. It might be the woman who really should answer her phone more often, but we don’t know. Then we get scenes of the other band members answering their own phones and starting to play their instruments. Again with the cool, and yet another confirmation that my own life is pretty drab and boring.

  We check in on Wandering Woman, and she’s now getting in an old-school car, where she proceeds to sit behind the wheel and cry. Did she forget how these things work? Poor thing. Maybe she’s just not good with technology. Oh wait, she finally gets the car going and drives down the road, still crying, so perhaps she should speak with a pharmacist about a nice regimen of pills.

  Now we have a montage of the Tear-Drenched Woman tooling around in her boat car, mixed with scenes of the band doing their nifty musical conference call and Mat warbling into the phone. (We’re already starting to run out of interesting angles to show Mat doing this, so hopefully they’ll jazz it up here in a bit.) Sad Woman just keeps driving, at one point apparently barreling over some train tracks without bothering to look, so she’s probably not going to win any safety awards.

  This montage goes on for a while, which is fine, because the song is quite lovely, with the vocals alone helping us get past things like the lack of special effects and an actual plotline. Eventually the Reckless Woman and her block-long car pull up at some house, and we’ll assume that it’s hers since she has keys that magically open the front door. Inside, it’s dark and gloomy, which is the first thing we need to fix if she’s ever going to be happy again and stop wearing oversized sweaters that are unattractive and fashion-repellant.

  Oh look, she just hit a button on her ancient answering machine, and she starts smiling, because at least she has musical friends even if they won’t come over and sing to her in person. She and her unavoidable sweater sit down and listen for a bit, which cues another montage of the band members doing the home-school jam session, then we cut to Mat jumping in his own car, which is also from back in the day, so either the people in this town love them some vintage or they are really, really poor.

  Mat and his hat drive for a while, passing some telephone poles that look suspiciously familiar, as Sweater Woman rests her head on the table while still listening to her message, so she might have some vitamin deficiencies that need attention. Mat pulls up outside a house and then just stares at the front door. It might be Anemic Woman’s dwelling, but nobody bothers to clarify anything, in that murky way that music videos have of skipping over things like continuity and plot resolution.

  Then everybody hangs up all their phones and the video ends. No word on the fate of the sweater.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lifehouse - “All In”

  Okay, folks, this is basically concert footage with no story, so we’ll have to do the time-stamp thing where I totally make things up. Here we go…

0:02  Apparently there’s a hyperactive but very rhythmic woodpecker loose in the building.

0:07  The drummer gets electrocuted. Guess they better hire that woodpecker.

0:10  Apparently there’s only one porta-potty for miles around.

0:20  Impromptu Beatles tribute.

0:29  Jesus descends from heaven to play guitar. That was sweet of Him.

0:39  Band member is very uncertain about things like video cameras and hairbrushes.

0:43  Lead singer Jason confuses headphones with binoculars.

0:48  Group hug to celebrate the arrival of clean underwear.

0:54  Handy list of code phrases for sexual acts, to be handed out to approved groupies.

1:02  Brief glimpse of Child of the Corn in audience. (Run!)

1:09  Jason doesn’t want us to say anything about the mishap with the vodka.

1:15  Jason tackles much larger band member. Assuming that somebody ate the last bit of something when it wasn’t theirs to eat.

1:22  Spotlights search for Waldo. Find marijuana smoke instead.

1:36  Jason risks life by touching people who may not be sanitary.

1:41  Super ugly couch scares all.

1:51  Teenyboppers fondle a passing Jason, reach pinnacle of their otherwise unimportant lives. Joblessness in future.

1:55  What’s up with the walking stick?

2:02  Jason forgets where the stage is. (Pssst. Head toward the light. No, really.)

2:18 Very odd dance routine that might be part of a tribal sacrifice.

2:23  Unidentified person with massive amounts of air is very proud of himself, wears t-shirt proclaiming own greatness.

2:42  Flannel never dies.

2:47  Jesus identifies gummy bear that has sinned greatly.

2:59  Jason struts down music-fashion runway in Milan.

3:08  Jesus turns water into guitar.

3:17  Jason kills creepy bug with karate move.

3:20  Something electrical explodes. No one cares.

3:29  Groupies audition large mouths.

3:31  Jason spies truth about band member’s manhood.

3:36  Another odd dance move, this one celebrating truckers and the rigs they drive.

3:40  17 roadies cannot figure out how to close purple curtain.

3:42  Band member points out Amelia Earhart in audience.

4:01  Entire audience loses natural skin tone after eating suspect nachos.

4:04  Band gets word that Barry Manilow is in da house, ends set and rushes backstage for festivities and more dancing.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

John Mayer - “Waiting On The World To Change”

  We start out with random shots of some city, possibly NYC, with images of buildings and skylines. There’s not a lot of people around, which means that Glenn Beck must be in town, but this is not confirmed. Cut to John walking along the river, heading toward what could be the Brooklyn Bridge or possibly Aretha Franklin’s next hairdo. He doesn’t look very happy, but then this song isn’t exactly about brown paper packages tied up in string.

  We begin seeing some folks messing around in what might be an artist’s studio, sketching out draft versions of something and flipping through picture books for inspiration. Some of these books look very, very angry. I’m going to assume that there won’t be any rainbows and unicorns in the final art project. Just a guess.

  John keeps walking, because that’s just something you do in New York. (That, and pay too much for everything.) Cut back to the artist colony or whatever, and some of the folks seem to be prepping gas masks for use, which seems a little odd, even for people with the variety of tattoos that some of them have. But most of them seem content with just the sketching and the wearing of unique, confrontational clothing. (What is that one man wearing on his head? I guess we don’t have stores like that where I live.)

  Things become a little clearer when the guys start gathering up spray paint cans. Ah, so we’re about to do some serious tagging, are we? I thought people did that out of boredom and/or drunkenness. I didn’t realize you had to make plans and study books and type up an itinerary. And have John Mayer narrate your story while wearing a hoodie and walking glumly next to a dirty river. Seems like a lot of work to me.

  The guys finally head outside and split into a few groups, carrying their gas masks and paint cans, an image that will make innocent bystanders feel completely comfortable, right? Some of the guys are climbing over walls and such, but I don’t know if they are actually sneaking around the city or just goofing off in somebody’s backyard.

  It takes a while for everyone to get to their destinations, since they first have to do important things like stop for coffee and pose with tourists while wearing the gas masks. (The tourists, like most tourists, are really happy to be having their picture taken even though they have no idea what’s going on. This is how the “American Idol” auditions were born.) Eventually, everyone gets to their locales and out come the spray cans.

  It’s actually quite interesting to see how the images take shape, in an “oh, so that’s how they make the overcrowded graffiti I can see while riding the subway” kind of way. Of course, it helps that these guys are obviously actual artists, and not just degenerates unprofessionally spraying lame sentiments such as “Thump Daddy” or “Azz Master” or “U A Bitch!”.

  John’s still walking along that damn river, probably wisely avoiding any legal issues that might arise from questionably-attired men spraying things like guns and exploding worlds on the side of a delicatessen. Good move, John, it’s hard to accept a Grammy from your prison cell.

  So far, they’ve only let us see bits and pieces of the whole images, mixed in with odd-angle shots of cans shaking, arms spraying and defiant clothing, so there’s a bit of excitement about what the final products will look like. At the same time, this is the part of the song where John tells us about 147 times that he’s waiting on that world change mess. Got it, John, me too. Now, can we look at the pictures?

  Nope, not yet, we’ve got to review some scenes of people sitting around all disaffected but hopeful, gazing at the camera with wistful longing for a better place and time. These people must work at the same place that I do.

  And, finally, there we go with the big reveal. The artwork really pops, and although there may have been a bit of camera trickery, the placement of the pieces is really impressive. I’m not a fan of defacing public property, but these things look pretty cool, even more so considering they had to sneak around while they were doing this. Then the song ends and we get a disclaimer that “All murals were produced on private property by commissioned artists.”

  Well, hell, that sort of sucked the fun out of it. John, dude, a bit on the wimp-out side, eh? Where’s your rebel spirit? Then again, you’ve dated Jennifer Love Hewitt, so that pretty much trumps anything I might have to say. Rock on with your law-abiding self.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.


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