Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Eye Sores #1: R. Kelly, Panda Bear, Kings of Leon

This counterpart to our Eye Candy series highlights new videos which are especially painful to watch...

R. Kelly feat. T.I. and T-Pain "I'm A Flirt (Remix)

dir. by Benny Boom

The funniest thing about this horrible new video from the king of R&B and horrible videos, Mr. R. Kells himself, is that there is actually very little flirting involved on the part of the three male leads. Kelly spends most of the video posing in these particularly gaudy glasses (which may or may not be a reference to Jeff Goldblum), while girls incessantly crawl up to him and place crowns on his head. T.I. does his usual suave ambivalence thing (but at least considers the enjoyment of his female partners) and T-Pain just looks plain ridiculous attempting to convince anybody that a stripper would ever actually love him back.

The frustrating part about it is that for such a silly (yet addictive) song, this video actually had some thematic potential. It might have been interesting to watch T.I. and T-Pain compare their "skills" or perhaps compete with Kelly for the attention of these "playerettes." At the very least it could have been a humorous and fun music video, which is how I originally imagined the track. This is one of those videos which actually makes the song less appealing, but I think it's safe to assume we'll still be dancing to it in the club anyway.

Panda Bear "Bros. (Edit)"

dir. by Frank Macias

Most of us don't realize how much goes into making just a decent music video. Apart from a great concept or a stunning visual conceit, a good video needs strong acting, pinpoint execution and methodical post-production work. But having an excellent song to work with can always go a long way towards fixing any minor problems you might have in those other categories. Sometimes it's just enough to sit back and let the melody do the work for you.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that this Panda Bear video is so bad. "Bros." is going to end up on quite a few year-end lists for best songs of 2007 (including our own), and is among the most accessible things anyone from Animal Collective has ever done. Yet it's also clear why this project doesn't work. It fails to deliver on any visual level while burying the beauty of the song in a series of boring (and repetitive) psychedelic melds between shots of a cat and a showering man. It was an interesting 6 minutes for a die-hard fan, but one questions whether anyone else will actually get through the entire thing. Which is a shame, because this is a song that deserves to be heard.

Kings of Leon "On Call"

dir. by Adria Petty

We saw Kings of Leon about 3 years ago at Bonnaroo, and they weren't this bad. They had an energy and an aura of nonchalance about them which was refreshing, and their sound was something which was, at the very least, unique. We haven't heard the new album so we can't comment on that, but needless to say this track isn't strong enough to save a video which does little to sell the band, has no compelling narrative, and is without a single memorable scene. It's essentially a waste of time. And VideoStatic was spot on with the Marty Feldman comparison.


"Muy Bueno" said...

ah, the unexploited bad broad brush stroke genre. some feel left out when they're not in on the d.i.y. literally no budget but get'er done artschool flunkie kitch joke. therein lies the real rubadub, bub. if anything our like-minded group effort piece of interpritation is contra-viral at best. as for aguilera?? thanks for the texts. must be a hoot as the anonymously opinionated name-namer at parties.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point about intentionally making something "contra-viral," perhaps as a statement against popular trends or as a joke. I hadn't considered the kitsch perspective either. If you'd like, I'd love to talk about this further with you here, or in an interview.

Depth of Focus Videographies: Radiohead / Bjork / Michael Jackson / Bowie