Letting the kids do all the work in this week's Small Screen Stories.
MGMT - The Youth
bumpercarmonday (1 day ago)
"genius. I love the red haired girl, her thrusts are the best."
Bumpercarmonday knows what's up. This video has had many of us here at the office in stitches as of late. It's like a short-form of all that is good about "Napoleon Dynamite" and being a child of the '90s. Spandex galore, sparkly headbands, ridiculous platform KEDS and bad choreography on a rotating compact disc. Despite their ridiculous get ups, these kids are the toughest on the block and I love their meanie stares. There's even a "Dirty Dancing" moment, when the blonde slaps the little sparkler for hogging the spotlight with his impromptu breakdance session. There was so much "message-heavy" stuff MGMT could have had done to interpret this song, but this is definitely the wisest choice for this song. The youth is starting to change, indeed.
Emmy the Great - We Almost Had a Baby
Emmy the Great from Brighton goes to almost feature film proportions to address the pressing issue of hipster parenting. Sure, it's important that the pants fit just right and the baseball hat is positioned at just the right angle...but what about the baby? Hipster dad wakes up from his slumber, realizes the stuffed animal he was cradling is not the baby, goes on to look for it under the couch and in the pizza carton...to no avail. While hipster dad is continuing to fail at life, going to look at some nudie mags and playing pick up ball, little baby is scooting through the apartment, all alone. Don't worry, there's a happy ending thanks to a little hand puppet, but if this isn't commentary or a jab at a former lover, I don't know what is.
This Long Blondes video is so simple, yet it incorporates many elements that I think make a good video. Kids walking while staring blank-faced, people falling over in slow motion and windmill toys. These little tykes seem to represent purity or some otherworldliness that makes all of us "normals" (dressed in black, for easy distinction), cower in fear and run the other way. Also, nice commentary on going against the grain, young vs. old and standing out from the greyness of everyday life. Seems like the director took his cue from the line "A new world war, nothing is sacred." But despite all it's blatant literalism, this video gets my little allegorical brain all riled up.
Wye Oak - Please Concrete
Speaking of sad kids in bleak surroundings being sad, Wye Oak picked up that concept as well. This little lady has a long way to go, but has to walk through town and not step on any cracks in the pavement while doing so. We tried to do this last night and completely failed, but she manages her obsessive compulsive tic quite well. Until all of a sudden she does mess up, the whole sidewalk cracks and all the faces and people are suddenly replaced by old school TV sets depicting better days. I really like the crescendo of an ending. This is like an Aphex Twin video except it's just really sad instead of inherently evil.
Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss A Beat
Do you think the Kaiser Chiefs' director came up with this idea after watching Justice's banlieu drama "Stress"? Here the kids are starting some trouble in the projects as well, except they're wearing animal masks and seem, well, likeable. Animal-head gang eventually meets up with paper-bag-head gang and pantomime gang. And bad-KISS-makeup gang. "Off with their heads!" their banner proclaims, and despite all implied aggression, these are the most artistic and choreographed revolutionaries you'll ever see. I really like the wide camera angles and the '70s flair. The ending is a big, Converse-clad, showdown in perfect "West Side Story" style. "The kids on the street, they never miss a beat!"
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
But undeniably the best video involving children ever, and I mean ever, is "Y-Control" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Any commentary by me would just ruin its sheer genius. Thank you Spike Jonze.