Tuesday, 22 November 2011

-Music Videos on my Mind- Duck Sauce’s “Big Bad Wolf”

American-Canadian house group Duck Sauce is a strange breed indeed. The group consists of club legends Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, both big dance producers in their own right having remixed songs for artists as diverse as Tori Amos, Kanye West and Kid Cudi.

Duck Sauce's previous effort was the annoying dance tune Barbara Streisand, which was a monstrous success here in Europe (no accounting for taste in these parts), but its new single Big Bad Wolf has struggled to gain comparable traction.

Truth is, Duck Sauce seem nothing more than a novelty project that peddles out gimmicky house numbers appealing to kids who can't dance and, instead, prefer to drunkenly shout out cheap catchphrases when out clubbing. (You know who you are.)

In an effort to boost Big Bad Woolf's appeal, Duck Sauce has commissioned an absurdly surreal music video which Billboard describes as "the most disturbing [and] frightening video of 2011."

Directed by Keith Schofield, Big Bad Wolf gives a whole new meaning to the concept of being a 'dickhead'. (You know who you are.)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

-Music Videos on my Mind- The Vaccines’ “Wetsuit”

British white guys with guitars love playing at summer music festivals. British white youths love attending summer music festivals. British ethnic minority groups love making fun of white guys who play and frequent summer music festivals.

The Vaccines new music video for Wetsuit is a sun soaked paean to the very Caucasian and middle-class ritual of summer music festivalling.

It was put together by director Poppy de Villeneuve (shamefully middle-class name) who assembled lots of images of music loving kids, and people who are old enough to know better, attending various summer festivals at which The Vaccines were headlining.

Ever since Beyoncé headlined last summer's Glastonbury, minority kids have learnt that erecting tents is no longer the sole exclusivity of white guys. Nay, minority groups are more than capable of slumbering in sleeping bags, just as long as there's a reasonably priced motel within a 3 mile radius on standby in case it gets a bit too much for them.

Wetsuit is, if you like this kind of music, a nice song and video that feels akin to a much needed shot of vitamin D during these depressingly drawn-out winter nights.

The challenge I present is this: How many minority groups can you spy in this video?

(I count two: a fleeting shot of a black guy smiling and a disabled dude crowd surfing in his wheelchair. N.B. people covered in mud and babies don't count.)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

-Music Videos on my Mind- Jus†ice’s “Stress”

The Americans are in love with French dance music right now. David Guetta is so popular in the US that he could properly run for Republican Vice President, and Daft Punk can have a major American library named after them if they so wish.

It's a shame that type of veneration isn't extended to French electro-pop duo Jusice, a band that is pretty popular in these parts but neglected elsewhere.

Then again, who can blame the Americans for eschewing Jusice when they put out music videos like Stress, a 6-minute clip that got banned by nearly every broadcaster on account of its violence and poor taste. A God-fearing puritanical province like America probably would have quaked with fear if it ever got an eye-full and ear-load of Stress.

Set in Paris' socially deprived banlieues, Stress has been accused of everything from stereotypical racism to abject realism. It presents a group of delinquent youths―some black, others Muslims―who go around Paris groping women, smashing things in, beating people up, terrorising pensioners and wrecking cars.

Directed by Romain-Gavras, Stress is the type of clip that typifies a post-MTV music video industry. At a time when music video channels are sticking to reality television fare, Stress is the kind of work that transcends ordinary methods of broadcasting. It was, and remains, a viral sensation; a word-of-mouse classic that exists to get attention.

Monday, 7 November 2011

-Music Videos on my Mind- Toddla T’s ‘Take it Back’

This weekend Barnardo's children's' charity issued a worrying statistic claiming 38% of British adults don't believe that children who get into trouble need to be helped in any way.

The British have never been very comfortable with the idea of childhood. If you're rich enough then you can send your kids away to boarding school, and if you're too poor, then you let them roam the streets in gangs where they can get up to things like underage drinking, shagging and general misbehaviour. I guess you can say that Britain is not a very child-friendly culture. If you really want to be controversial, you can argue Britain does not like its children at all.

Sheffield DJ Toddla T released an album during the height of summer rioting called Watch me Dance. It featured a track titled Take it Back on which Shola Ama and J2K provided the vocals. The video to accompany the song brilliantly taps into the unique way British working-class kids have created their own community which, in the right circumstances, inspires and supports one another without the need of adult intervention. It's a world in which adults are superfluous. At best, grown-ups are nothing more than a pestering inconvenience that just pisses and moans. At worst, adults are a legitimate threat whom needs to be feared.

It's a fun video but there's more subtext to it than you might think. It is saying a lot more about British life than initially meets the eye.