Stylus Videodrome, Volume II
hose at the Pop Playground headquarters refuse to believe it, but image is actually just as important as the songwriting. Just ask Trevor Horn. In accordance, we take a quick look at some of the prominent music videos every now and then and report on them. We call it the Pop Playground Videodrome. Enjoy.
Dizzee Rascal – Dream
Even if you’ve cooled on Showtime and think the lesser of Dizzee’s two albums, you have to admit the videos are far and away better this time around. This one takes the cake, so far. It features a woman playing piano and a miniature Dizzee and assorted friends coming out of a box onto the piano top for the duration of the song. What sets Dizzee apart from all other rappers (UK and otherwise) is the way in which he will poke fun at himself, and the confidence with which he does so. I can’t imagine Eminem having the brains or the balls to come up with something like this.
Snoop Dogg – Drop It Like It’s Hot
The choice to film this one in black and white was an inspired one, throwing everything into stark relief. It’s when Snoop and others are wearing clothing that’s obviously colored that the video seems tired, and its in those moments the subject matter that already permeates every other hip-hop video (girls dancing fervently, rapper mugging, ice being displayed prominently) comes to the fore. Either way, it’s probably one of Snoop’s best videos since the G-Funk days, even if that is a backhanded compliment.
Nelly feat. Christina Aguilera – Tilt Ya Head Back
While Nelly seems to be auditioning for the inevitable acting career and Christina seems to be auditioning for the inevitable Playboy spread, this video actually works quite well for what it is: another confused homage to the 20s, replete with quirky continuity errors. Nelly plays a gangster and Christina is the vampy cabaret singer that puts on a show for Nelly and his crew. Before the song ends, the two drive off together into a dark alley to do absolutely nothing together. Brilliantly forgettable.
Sum 41 – We’re All To Blame
It’s interesting that for their most mature single to date, this group would choose to lampoon a show that nearly all of its fan base was not alive to experience. While it’s funny to see the mock seriousness of both dancers and musicians, it leads one to the question: who ends up looking sillier?
The Secret Machines – Nowhere Again
Listed in the top 5 of MTV.com’s hot videos, I can’t help but wonder what exactly these rankings are based on. “Nowhere Again” paints the band as a sorely-in-need-of-lighting rawk n’ roll band that probably prefers craft over image. That’s all well and good, but, you know, it’s a visual medium. Once you’ve solved the mystery of what they actually look like, though, you realize that it’s merely boring close-ups of a band playing their instruments. A lasting image, to be sure.
Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty
A rare instance where I was constantly in wonderment at what was happening on my screen. Only in the last few moments does the band play their instruments (all in various animal suits, mind), with the rest of the video being taken up by an elaborate story of a child and Isaac Brock as a giant bird that has died. The child ends up burying Isaac, but not before a beautiful dream sequence, and is rewarded by Modest Mouse sprouting up out of the ground to finish the song for him. A lasting image, to be sure.