Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Doubt – “Spiderwebs”

  We start out in a super-deluxe restaurant, with folks in high-end couture and 47 different forks in a place setting. There may have just been a wedding, because we have a couple dressed as bride and groom, but you never know what the club kids might be wearing for kicks these days. There are Japanese subtitles that might explain what is going on, but I grew up in Oklahoma and the only foreign language offered at my high school was Proper English.

  Then we suddenly have Gwen front and center, wearing another one of her mid-90’s ensembles that walked a very fine line between “that is SO cute” and “was there a loss of oxygen at a critical point in her childhood?”.  She kicks off some odd dance moves that involve squatting and waving her arms, a bit of choreography that seems vaguely Russian-inspired, but I doubt that was the particular theme that Gwen had in mind. After a quick montage of people that we don’t know, Gwen finally stands up and does some leg kicks to show off her interesting plaid pants and combat boots.

  Then I realize that the cinematographer is using a fish-eye lens that distorts things, with Gwen and company purposely doing quirky moves that might look fun on film when your vision is jacked. Okay, got it. Late to the party, didn’t take the right drugs, but I can drink vodka really fast and catch up. There’s another montage of the Japanese people, but we still don’t learn anything about what they might be doing or why that one bitter woman thought her hairstyle choice was appropriate.

  At 27 seconds in, Gwen thrusts her plaid crotch at the fish-eye, creating a distorted and startling image that is now on the hard drives of horny teenage males across the planet. (Crotch-thrusting crosses all cultural barriers, yes?) I’m not sure we can top this golden moment, but we’ll see.

  Gwen finally starts singing, probably because her legs are tired, and we get a long shot of the goings on so we can see that No Doubt is actually performing for this high-end crowd and not just uninvited guests looking for free alcohol. It’s still not clear why the people at this function would put the band on their evening’s agenda, but the audience/dinner guests aren’t calling security, so I guess it’s all good.

  We jump into the hyperactive chorus, and Gwen seems to be especially angry about something, but before we can ask her what’s up, we go back to the fish-eye lens thing so the guitarists can shove their distorted instruments at us. It’s not as much fun as the nether-shoving, but it’s passable entertainment until they serve the second course. There’s a brief shot of the bride and groom again, and they both look terrified. It’s not clear if one of them has a secret (like a surprise pregnancy or maybe some same-sex inclinations) or if they won’t be able to sleep after seeing Gwen’s Glen coming at them.

  Speaking of, Gwen does that move a couple more times, so we can understand that it was definitely on purpose and not something awkward that happened due to an aggressive gas bubble. Cut to the bride hurling her bouquet over her shoulder, way past her friends and relatives (is she a shot-putter for Team Japan?) and right into Gwen’s hands as she is straddling a stone statue. (No explanation for the straddling, she’s just doing it.) Gwen then cuts her finger on a rose thorn. Is this a tribute to Poison? Are they the second act, served along with the sorbets?

  Oh, I guess Gwen didn’t take kindly to the unrequested puncturing, because the video goes to black and white, and suddenly we have a wicked-ass wind blowing all over the place. Windows are breaking and toupees are flying. Then we see that telephones are flying around in the air. Lots of them. Say what?

  Back to the chorus, with Gwen and company ratcheting things up while the party patrons run for their lives from the offspring of Alexander Bell. It’s kind of like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, only not at all. To their credit, No Doubt keeps playing, despite the fact that their audience is now heading for the hills, or at least to the parking valet. More Japanese subtitles are popping up, probably saying things like “Emergency exits are located over the wing” and “Please remember to tip your server”. Or maybe not.

  Then we roll into a mess where the band members have apparently been sucked up into the windstorm. (This is what you get for not unplugging and running like hell when the mayhem started. Yes, you should be dedicated to your art. No, you shouldn’t be a dumbass when your art can get you killed.) They swirl through the air for a bit, then I realize that what I thought was an artsy symbol for a tornado is actually a big-ass phone cord. What is the obsession with these people about phones from the devil?

  Oh, wait. The song is about some guy calling Gwen all the time and tormenting her with poetry. Apparently I need to drink even more vodka to catch up. (Did I mention that I was from Oklahoma? I saw cows every day. Can you hear me now?)

  We get another montage of the band still playing and not being sucked into a vortex, so we have some timeline issues, then we get a shot of someone stomping on a piece of wedding cake as they haul ass down the ornate stairs outside the foo-foo restaurant. This is probably a critical piece of information that we will have to decipher later. Then we have more images of people running and screaming from the mobile phones and/or the possibility that Gwen will straddle something else.

  Okay, now there’s something about the band members being entangled in a spider web of phone cords, the first bit of symbolism that doesn’t have to be explained to me with hand puppets, and then we’re back to Gwen jacking around with the fish-eye lens. She does a bit with her arms that calls to mind Joan Crawford discovering satanic wire hangers where they shouldn’t be, and then we have a sequence with her stomping like the enchiladas are putting up a fight. Gwen sure has a lot of energy, yes she do.

  More scenes of the band members being violated by the phone cords. It’s time to go wireless, people.

  And more shots of the band playing, with an intense determination, still not aware (or at least ignoring) the fact that Mother Nature or AT&T or some other conglomerate is not happy with how things are going down in this restaurant and they have decided to smite the participants. (In defiance, Gwen thrusts her squeeze box a few more times so Daddy can never sleep at night.)

  Then Gwen decides to fight back, first executing a graceful karate move that sends some of the telephony instruments flying to Jesus, then she hops on a convenient stone column thingy that allows her to snarl and wave her hands menacingly. Somehow, through the magic of music videos that are slightly unclear but still mesmerizing, she and her band-mates and some guy with demonic hair (where did he come from?) manages to destroy the communications pestilence that has taken over the land, or at least a trendy bistro.

  The video ends with Gwen and the Doubts walking down an alleyway, still alive and fully capable of fulfilling their record contract, because that’s what you should always do after saving the world or performing at a venue with subtitles. ..

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

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