Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gavin DeGraw - “Not Over You”

  We start off with some shots of busy downtown streets, where we have lots of people scurrying about, with some retail signage letting us know that we appear to be in some sort of Chinatown section. We get a quick shot of Gavin, with him and his shades strutting down a sidewalk, then we are treated to a young girl wearing a thong while watering the plants in her apartment. She appears to be about twelve years old, so Gavin had better be over her or the po-po gonna knock on his door.

  Then we start doing this split-screen thing, with Gavin and his hat in one story, and the possible Jail Bait in the other. He doesn’t seem to be doing much, just wandering around and trying to be street cool, but the girl (let’s call her Chrissy) is much more active, running around in various locations and trying her best to wear as little clothing as possible. One of her favorite activities involves lying naked on a bed and hanging her head over the side of the mattress. I guess it doesn’t take much to entertain her.

  Eventually we get to the chorus, which allows the video to transition to some place where Gavin and his band are jamming. Meanwhile, Chrissy keeps herself busy as well, standing on pretty bridges, looking sad, and changing outfits, looking bereft. Oh, and she stops off to at some deli so she can chow down on a hot dog, just in case we weren’t getting the more subtle symbolism that these two are lovers. Or used to be. They might be taking a break right now so Chrissy can study for her driver’s license test.

  And this is how it goes for a while, with the split-screens showing Gavin playing with his band, sitting on windowsills of very old buildings and gazing at things we can’t see, and intensely singing the song on street corners while pedestrians completely ignore him. Chrissy keeps wearing short-shorts on bridges, being lethargic on that bed, and showing us that you can indeed wear an Ace bandage as a tube top, as long as you don’t have to raise your arms for any reason.

  Oh, and Chrissy spends a lot of time at the ocean, wearing tiny outfits and gazing out to sea. Honey, are you waiting for Gavin to return from some type of pirate adventure? He’s not out there. He’s in his studio in Chinatown, trying to get over you but not understanding that if you keep singing about a person then the forgetting part is not going to happen. Maybe you should go find him and explain this bit to him. Or at least ask for some lunch money.

  Both of them also enjoy lying around on their respective floors, looking tragic and pale and thinking about that time they spent together at band camp. Or cheerleading camp. Wherever it was that they used to be in love before fate and/or Child Protective Services busted up the slumber party. Gavin appears to be the most distraught, with his depression forcing him to wear unattractive headgear and rub his hands in his face a lot.

  Finally, Chrissy has had enough and actually puts some real pants on so she can go find her man. Gavin apparently didn’t get the memo, because he leaves his studio apartment just seconds before Chrissy runs up and tries to remember how to knock on a door. She gets sad when he doesn’t answer, then slumps against his door, probably because she’s not used to wearing this much clothing and is worn out. Then she gets a second wind and goes running around town in search of Gavin.

  And, because this is a make-believe video where things always work out in the end and everyone is always beautiful, Chrissy and Gavin meet up on a trashy-chic street, where they proceed to make out and rekindle their relationship. Then Chrissy hops in her baby buggy and Gavin wheels her back to his place…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

India.Arie, Gramps Morgan - “Therapy”

  We start out with a guy jumping off a small cliff into some sparkly water, with us unaware at this point that such a thing will become a major theme in the video. Cut to India in the jungle somewhere, sporting a very colorful outfit and carrying a guitar that appears to be made out of cracked mirrors. She’s very pleased to be singing for us, raising one of her arms in a triumphant move full of success and independence, thus establishing the second theme of the video: vibrant flowing garments that match your eye-shadow can make a person very, very happy.

   We get a few shots of some guy climbing a really high rock tower, but before we can ask him why he might be doing that we cut to India in another outfit, standing near a beautiful bay in a fetching orange outfit, strumming her guitar and releasing the music within her. Somebody should probably tell her that it kind of hurts our eyes when the sun hits her mirrored guitar, but that’s really a minor quibble when everything else around her is so pretty.

  We check on Climber Guy, and yep, he’s almost at the top of that tower thing, high above the water, then we have more images of the Indias dancing in the woods and strumming by the sea. Then we get introduced to another flavor of India, this one driving a car that has been painted with pink-based camouflage while she wears a matching outfit. No indication of where she might be headed but, as we have come to expect by this point in the video, she’s very happy to be in control of a colorful vehicle.

  Next up is version 4.0 of India, this one in a comparatively subdued earth-tone ensemble as she plucks her strings in another part of the forest, followed by a long-shot of Climber Guy leaping from the top of the rock formation and plunging toward the dappling waters. (Let me make it very clear that I will never be doing something like that. Just in case you were wondering.)

  Now that we have introduced most of our major characters, we roll into an extended montage of the various Indias and a growing troop of muscular men who are very happy to leap from various outcroppings into the gentle waves of the ocean. It’s nice to see that chivalry is not completely dead, if men are willing to mix gravity and wetness to show their appreciation for womanhood and festive song.

  Speaking of expressing your love, we eventually get to a slightly-startling scene where Earth India has her hands stretched heavenward whilst a man stands behind her and uses his muscular arms to essentially align her planets. Before we can confirm that one of them remembered to bring along hanky-panky protection, we cut back to the montage of leaping men and shimmering Indies espousing musical poetry.

  And we stay in this mode for a while, with the flowing couture and the plunging males. Camouflage India seems to be the most emotionally-invested part of this stretch, as she powerfully communes with the steering wheel of her pink-splashed vehicle, but she’s followed closely by Orange India with that mirrored guitar that can burn your retinas out when the choreography is just right.

  Eventually we get around to visiting a local bar / art house / something, where a new India is performing in front of a microphone, this time accented by green eye-shadow and a glistening blouse. Oh, and there’s a man performing with her who is probably Gramps Morgan, but he’s not holding a sign or anything so it’s not really clear. In any case, they seem to be enjoying themselves, to the point of standing a bit more closely to one another than random duet partners really should, even some fondling, so there might be a juicy back-story here.

  The people up in this joint and very happy to be here, regardless of the relationship status of the singing duo, and there’s a festive air of stress-release, presumed alcohol consumption, and aggressively-supportive dancing. We briefly check back in with the other Indias and the acrobatic men in their lives, but it’s obvious that the real place to be is at the Love Shack, especially when one shirtless man begins executing some amazing gymnastics moves that could prove life-threatening if people don’t keep an eye on him.

  And that’s basically how we wrap things up. We have a final visit with all of the Indias and the thrill-seeking men, and everyone seems to be doing just fine. (There’s one glaring bit with an awkward pale-skinned man failing miserably at the sea-jumping thing, no idea what that was all about.) The final shot is of Camouflage India’s happy car pulling up outside the Shack of Love and Handsprings, which means that there are now theoretically two Indias in the same location, and the video has to end because trick photography can be really expensive, especially on a tropical island where the men folk never get dressed or dry off…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fun, Janelle Monae - “We Are Young”

  We start out with a close-up of lead singer Nate not looking all that impressed with life, as he and the band prepare for a gig in a vague nightclub. Perhaps his dissatisfaction has something to do with the fact that everybody up in this grill is moving in slow-motion for no apparent reason. Or maybe he doesn’t care for his choice of hair product this evening, because there’s something seriously jacked up with what’s happening on his head. Who knows. Musicians are moody people.

  We cut to the bar area (why is the bar so high that people have to reach over their heads to get a beer?) where more slow-ass people are milling about. We see one guy approaching a woman who appears to be texting (because some people these days can’t go on living unless they are texting or appearing in a reality-TV show). We get a close up of her phone (because we’re nosy) and we see that someone has asked her “when?” and she has responded “NOW”.

  Are they talking about when this video got confusing?

  Cut to another part of the bar with people that we don’t know, where it looks like one guy might be about to start a fight with another dude. (Or maybe the kids these days greet one another by walking up and shoving each other off balance, I’m out of the loop.) Cut back to Text Gurl who suddenly hauls off and throws her phone across the room. Clearly she has anger-management issues, probably inspired by her unflattering plaid dress.

  We watch the phone sail through the air (wait, she still has 3 unanswered texts, she’s so going to regret getting projectile with that thing), but before we can see what happens to the phone we see some guy pick up a bottle and break it on Text Gurl’s head. (Good. Don’t be throwing crap around in here, people just want to have a good time and possibly participate in sex that they will regret in the morning.) Text Gurl seems surprised  by this negative business with getting her head bashed, so she was probably raised in one of those trendy family relationships where parental figures never say “no” to the whims of their children.

  Then we up the crazy a notch or two. Suddenly, people are running all over the bar (well, running in slow-mo) and everybody seems to not care for anybody else, with more of the shoving and wearing of grunge clothing. Things that I can only describe as ice-water bombs start exploding all over the place, drenching the couture and expensive haircuts. But the band keeps playing, because they have bills to pay and stuff.

  The mayhem goes on for a while.

  For those who require gratuitous gore in their visual entertainment, we get a nice face-punching bit where someone’s tooth comes flying at the camera. We also have a catfight where a supermodel gets to flip her hair all over the screen while pretending to be violated. And some fool who obviously suffers from low self-esteem is thundering around the bar while wearing Christmas lights.

  The band continues to keep playing, despite things crashing to the stage around them, like toilet paper, disco balls, and a zucchini. (To be fair, there is one intriguing bit with two shirtless guys possibly doing some Greco-Roman wrestling, which is nice, but they disappear quickly and we leave the rest of that avenue unexplored.) And people all over the bar are completely losing their minds, clawing and pushing and hitting and definitely not giving peace a chance.

  Oh wait, there’s one gender-unclear couple who appear to be making out while covered in popcorn and strawberry cake, so not everyone is bitter. But most of the patrons are dissatisfied with life, and we progress to images of people throwing each other across the room, because simple vandalism is not enough for these people. This is what happens to society when you watch too many movies where people blow stuff up instead of having an actual script or plot development.

  Then Janelle Monae shows up, looking very Janet Jackson during the Rhythm Nation period, although I’m not sure that was the intention. Janelle starts belting her part of the song and somehow she and her hair manage to remain un-mussed despite the human projectiles, exploding bean-bag chairs and airborne corn plants. Meanwhile, the band members are still troopers, playing away despite the Jerry Springer antics.

  But eventually even sociopaths need some downtime, so after Janelle finishes her bit and goes off to decide which Jackson she would like to impersonate next, we start to wind things down, with lots of the folks apparently leaving for an after-hours party at the local roller derby. As Nate finishes up and the video ends, we get a glimpse of Phone-Throwing Gurl as she slips away, alone, into the night. I’m assuming she’s headed to T-Mobile to stock up for tomorrow night’s Fun…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.


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