Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Spritz Nipper: Fountains of Wayne "Someone to Love"

Schlesinger and crew use comedy to paint a picture of frustrating isolation...

Fountains of Wayne "Someone To Love"

dir. by Adam Neustadter

As you prepare for the coming workday, you make sure and check two things before you head out the door in the morning. There are many things you should do, like brush your teeth or eat some cereal, but the essential facts for you as a modern worker are the traffic and weather reports on your local news. These morning broadcasts are aimed precisely at the 9 to 5 crowd, and it's no surprise that the repetitiveness of each day's show may serve to remind you of the banality of your own job. Yet the irony of both categories - traffic and weather - is that they are essentially unpredictable. You may always wake up to the weatherman spouting his opinions, but that's just what they are - his opinions. There may be an accident on the freeway or there may not; anything could happen today.

Fountains of Wayne, whose latest album is indeed titled Traffic and Weather, want to emphasize this idea to the two lonely protagonists of "Someone to Love." These characters live simple lives without complications or traumas, but they still wake up each morning tired and vacant. Their apartments are finely decorated and color coordinated, they maintain a strict routine to their day - but they still feel scattered and messy. Moments of self-expression are few and far between, and usually consist of singing in the shower or dancing alone. But these are still two interesting and somewhat similar folks who seem destined for one another, and if they just wait long enough something is bound to happen - they live in the same building for Pete's sake!

Yet life is unpredictable, and the video would have been too simple if it gave us just what we wanted. The truth is loneliness is not solely a product of one's environment or life experience - it's a self-inflicted state of mind as well. The big city may seem a cold and harsh place, but it's still up to you to find warmth in it. With each passing night these characters pity themselves more and more, until they have become entirely self-involved (the excessive apartment decoration can also be a symbol of that).

Thus when the opportunity for something new does present itself, they are too oblivious to recognize it. Each is more concerned with completing the motions of their meaningless work day - so that they might return home and have something to mope about in the evening - than actually pursuing love or happiness. When Chris Collingwood sings "you're not the only one lonely," he means to both inspire and criticize those that wallow in self-pity. Before you can have faith in the world around you, you must first believe in your own capability for change.

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