Throw caution to the wind and watch Amanda Palmer, SSION and Deichkind take it over the top on the small screen.
I have to defend Deichkind's newest video. Recently M. said that it was the epitome of low-blow fratboy humour. And well, it is. That's the Deichkind schtick. But they do it on purpose guys. It's a little bit like all good parody - you need to be far above that which you effectively make fun of. Otherwise it's just embarassing. I truly think "Arbeit nervt" is as much art as Erwin Wurm's attempt to stick objects up Flea's nose and make it look edgy. Deichkind create one-minute-sculptures all their own - out of beer cans. There is a fine line between making commentary on hedonism and actually being a dumbed-down perma-party-er. To me, this is a high form of low class art. It's primal, dirty, wrong, funny, gross, sweaty, nasty and features face paint. That is rock 'n' roll. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
So simple, yet so, so, so over the top I might have to go with my hero, Susan Sontag, and call it camp. How can a video that features nary but a handlebar mustachioned gentleman in front of a screen, minimally dancing, be lumped into the "over the top" category? Well, it's in his every move, every bat of his eyelash, every swish of his hips. It is absolutely amazing. Chest hair, gold chain, American Apparel poster boy. And well, interpreting the classic Young Marble Giants song this way, ultimately puts it above and beyond. Enjoy the most sexually liberating music video ever made in Kansas City, Missouri. As Susan would say: "The ultimate Camp statement: it's good because it's awful."
Just a month ago we looked at Beck's beautiful video for "Gamma Ray". While that time it was lumped into the more esoteric "White Magic" category, "Gamma Ray Redux" is like the big, technicolour sister. I guess there's some sort of magical mystery Beck documentary being made in cooperation with Myspace - and in making that, they redid the original video. Injecting it with colour and celebrity - that's a flower child Chloe Sevigny replacing the exquisite Mercedes Helnwein of the original. I don't know - the general consensus seems that the new one is "better" (bright colours, butterflies, sexy legs, whee!) but I think it's taking the visualisation of such a bleak song in a totally wrong direction. "Modern Guilt" is perhaps the most un-trippy of all the albums Beck ever made, so I think this sudden return to hallucinogenic imagery isn't quite appropriate. But whatever, man. Peace.
Ah, to love Amanda or to hate her. She is, after all, the woman who single handidly (no pun intended!) managed to sell a song about a vibrator to be used in a yogurt commercial. But then there's this over-the-top sarcastic side of her that kind of worries me. Sure, "Oasis" is a exaggerated little ditty and the video just tries to match the mania of the song. I love her friend "Melissa Mahoney" and the fact that almost every shot features people piled on top of each other making out. But did I really need to see a star-spangle-socked Amanda getting an abortion with a pink plastic coat hanger? Yes, funny, haha but not really. Then again, Amanda is so good at poking fun at herself, that I can't be mad at her. But why Oasis as the object of her affection? Maybe some '90s referencing I'm not getting. I remain: over the top and on the fence about this one.