Monday, September 24, 2012

Phillip Phillips – “Home”

  We start out staring through a rain-drenched bus window at a rain-drenched landscape, so right away we now that this song is either about emotional devastation or Seattle. Cut to Phillip, not rain-drenched at the moment, as he strums his guitar and launches into the song. He doesn’t seem to be very happy, refusing to look at the camera or brush his hair. Then again, I didn’t watch him on American Idol and maybe this is how he always looks. In any case, he’s not smiling, probably because everything around him is so wet.

  Oh look, now we’re somewhere else where it’s not raining, still traveling along in the tour bus and staring at a forest where we have really big trees and no visible signs of obnoxious people. (I make a mental note to move there as soon as this song is over.) Then we’re back with Phillip inside the bus, with him still strumming and not looking or brushing. There appear to be other people around him, discreetly doing things that do not involve a guitar or bothering Phillip in any way. This is a very quiet tour bus, not at all like I would have imagined, filled with noise and activity and hookers on flying trapezes. Perhaps I’ve been watching the wrong movies.

  Things pick up a bit as the peppier part of the song kicks in, with the camera starting to jump around. We get a nice tribute to that Talking Heads video with the dashed line in the middle of the road, then someone (possibly Phillip, not clear) shoves his hand out the window so he can mess with the wind and do that roller coaster thing you did as a kid until your parents yelled at you to shut the window before your arm snapped off and the guitar lessons suddenly proved pointless.

  This travelling on the bus thing goes on for a while, with lots of shots involving Phillip stroking his instrument, writing a song or possibly doing homework at some table, the bus driver chewing on a toothpick with a determination that is quite startling, rusty diner signs flashing by, more places where it rains, and a complete lack of the nearly-naked women that one typically finds in music videos. (Was there a recall of some kind? A health issue?)

  Then we apparently stop the bus somewhere, a place where they let Phillip out of his cage so he can stretch his legs and maybe sniff a fire hydrant or two. He wanders the sidewalks for a bit, possibly looking for that street with no name, then they make him get back on the bus because we have things to do and revenue to produce so we can make the payments on the tour bus.

  We eventually get to a concert venue of some kind, with Phillip and some official-looking woman wandering around backstage and then riding in an elevator. Phillip finally smiles, so I’m guessing he prefers being onstage rather than making art films about the loneliness and wetness of travel. The arena is packed with thousands of those people who whoop and holler because they aren’t let out of the house often enough. Which is fine by Phillip, as he launches into his set and tries not to look at the three judges with their Coke tumblers who will grade his performance when he’s done.

  Back to the bus so Phillip can nod his head as he sings the fun chorus of the song and do some more of his algebra homework. (He crosses out a lot of his answers, so math may not be his specialty.) Then we’ve got more scenery to watch outside the bus, like more trees and diners and this one odd man who glares back like we were the ones who caused him to mysteriously lose his shirt at some point during the day. We stop for coffee and eggs at one of those diners, which has apparently been cleared of the common people so Phillip can concentrate on looking moody for the camera.

  Then we’re off again, with more pretty images that would make a fine travel brochure, followed by additional concert footage where it’s refreshing to see that Phillip is still at that “I just want to sing songs for my fans” stage of his career and not the “my stage shows have to be so busy and explosive that we have to put a seizure warning on the tickets”. Oh, and we also stop at some guitar shop that gets Phillip so excited that he has to hoist things in the air and do what might be a jig of triumph on the sidewalk outside.

  And that’s about it, really. We spend the rest of our time alternating between the concert shots (fans going rabid with excitement and possible intimate satisfaction of some kind) and Phillip doing things he does when not in the same room with thousands of people who have paid good money to possibly touch his shoe during a brief security lapse. Interestingly enough, almost all of these scenes involve guitars in some way. Apparently Phillip really, really likes playing one. Which is also refreshing, in this modern music scene where most “singers” have never actually seen a musical instrument.

  Oh, and they also let Phillip run around in nature a couple more times, usually in very small towns where the few citizens have not quite figured out that newfangled “TV” thing and have no idea who Phillip is. (It’s so much easier to do crowd control when there’s no crowd to control.) But Phillip does manage to give a small concert anyway, in a tiny little place where two of the patrons have to leave just so Phillip can get his guitar in the door.

  The final stretch of the video, where Phillip and the backup singers are happily doing that “oh-oh-oh” chorus with the nice marching-band percussion, is just a series of rapid-fire images. The tour bus that apparently never stops moving, the concert snippets with frenzied fans contemplating the launching of panties, a late-night acoustic jam-fest that may have involved alcohol, more small towns where everyone knows exactly whom you’ve slept with, and the long and winding road.

  We fade out with Phillip gazing out the tour bus window as another rainstorm rumbles over the mountain tops. Poor Phillip. Maybe he should talk to his handlers about booking a tour that doesn’t involve constant wetness and things that drip…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

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