Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Wallflowers – “One Headlight”

  Note: There are times when you have a really great song that is paired with a video that is so bland and uninspiring that I can’t find anything to make the funny happen. This is one of those times, so I’m just going to make stuff up as I go along. And here we go…

  We get a brief shot of the band warming up on a stage somewhere, then we shift to what is possibly a giant star-spangled flag that is being dragged over the opening of a big-ass well. This makes me think of The Ring, that heart-warming movie where bad things happened in or around a well and people died. It also reminds me that people in that movie who happened to watch a certain video met untimely deaths in startling ways that were not covered by their insurance policies.

  So, of course, I begin wondering if watching this video is going to ignite a similar curse wherein I get killed by simply pushing an unknown satanic button on my DVD remote control. I really don’t want that to happen, as I haven’t made the proper arrangements for sudden death on my couch, and I haven’t finished the latest Stephen King novel. Then I realize that I have paused this video at the 8 second mark, and I probably should watch a bit more before I get too invested in my psychotic break.

  So I push play again, and hope that the offspring of Bob Dylan can help me get to a better place.

  Speaking of, there’s Jakob, now standing in front of that star-spangled flag. He’s wearing a hat that I don’t particularly care for, and he’s sporting a goatee that looks a bit wimpy. This does not bode well. But then we switch to more shots of the other band members doing things with their instruments, and they don’t seem to be concerned about cursed videos or falling into a well, so I’ll just keep watching.

  We eventually get to a section where Jakob appears in a tight close-up so that we can better inspect the controversial goatee (still not sure about that decision) and admire the more-favorable things that a stylist has done with his hair. I try not to notice the odd lights behind him that could easily represent evil spirits that are pissed off about something that happened 60 years ago. Probably near a well.

  More shots of the other band members strumming and drumming, with all of them wearing Johnny-Cash-black outfits and pretending no to notice the odd flashes of light behind them that might indicate someone is being electrocuted. We also seem to have some fog blowing across the stage. Perhaps this happens at some of your more progressive concerts, but I usually associate fog with the sudden arrival of headless horsemen or strange beasties strangling innocent maidens on the Scottish moors.

  Suddenly, we are transported to what might be the seedier regions of Moscow or Vienna, where we have a woman strutting about in a mysterious way that only lets us see her shadow on the walls of this questionable environment. But before we can ask why this bit is important, we jump back to Jakob and the band and their black outfits performing on the stage where people might be dying behind them.

  Quick revisit to the Moscow Woman, or at least her shadow, where it might just be the camera angle but Olga appears to be quite pregnant. Does Jakob need to adjust the number of dependents on his income tax returns?

  I guess we won’t find out any time soon, because we head back to the band performing, and no one seems to be waving about any paternity test results. Instead, they all seem to be cast members in a French film where everyone is dissatisfied with life and the brie has gone moldy. And we still have lots of unexplained power surges.

  Oh wait, now it looks like we have Jakob wandering around Moscow as well. He sings for a while, because that’s his basic job and we expect him to do that, but there’s also some mess about a mysterious car driving sneaking along the streets. (And more of those gold stars. Did somebody do really, really well on their spelling test?)

  Hold up, was that Stevie Ray Vaughn at about 2:34 into the video? Probably not.

  More shots of the band performing, and I’m starting to get a little bit irritated that none of them seem to be bothered with all that unexplained lightning and fog behind them. This is where people mess up in horror movies. If something is jacked-up with the weather patterns in your immediate area, you need to run like hell or find a weapon.

  The band continues to ignore the atmospheric disturbances for a very long time. And someone keeps waving that star-spangled flag. In the music video industry, this is known as “just throw in repetitions of the same shots until the video is as long as the song”. In the music video review industry, this is known as “who the hell was responsible for editing this video?”.

  Next up is an extended sequence of Jakob singing in front of the star flag, interspersed with more lightning and less plot. (His hair still looks good, props for that.) Then we have another close-up of the goatee, some more shadows in Moscow, and a non-explanation about who might be pregnant and why they find it necessary to wander the streets of an unnamed town when it’s very clear that they should get their ass back home until the baby is due.

  Sadly, none of our probing questions are answered, as the rest of the video makes it clear that the editor and/or director have run out of ideas. We have more of the band ignoring Mother Nature, more of the band wearing matching black outfits, more of the unresolved paternity suit, more of that damn star-flag that seems to serve no other purpose than match the cover art on the CD, and a shot of someone’s foot tapping to the beat.

  Then we have a final lightning burst behind the band and the video ends.

  I stare at my PC and the blinking option to replay the video. Dare I risk it? What would Naomi Watts do in The Ring? What would the Japanese woman in the original film do? Most importantly, what part of any of this is covered in my insurance policy?

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube…

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