As conspiracy theories involving our President go, the latest one that he was an extra in the video for Tag Team’s immortal “Whoomp! (There It Is)” is at least the most entertaining and least paranoid one. After Gawker ran with the “story”, the thread became silly enough to be teased on Colbert (see below) and semi-serious enough to be debunked by Politifact, tracked by the Washington Post, and mentioned by pretty much all the network news outlets. Don’t know if this is completely hilarious or totally pathetic, but, according to Politico, the White House has issued an official denial that the then 31-year-old Barack Obama was in the video, which apparently was confirmed by Tag Team itself. Still, check it out for yourself, as the POTUS double appears around the 30-second mark on the Colbert clip, flashing a pretty Obama-like smile while talking on a giant cellphone. Now if it were only a BlackBerry prototype…
The nice thing about out-of-print recordings is that, if someone takes the initiative to post some MP3s online, they are normally not hassled to take them down. And when the music in question is avant-garde stuff that was never committed to CD in the first place, you can really go crazy, just like the Avant Garde Project did. Their enormous archive includes touchstones are disparate as Henry Kaiser, Iannis Xenakis, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Berg, Cage, and a great deal of electronic works. Beware, although these are free, they are FLAC files and will undoubtedly take a long time to download. If my dad were still alive, he would worry for my tastes.
The Modest Mouse song “Edit the Sad Parts” is one of their best rock anthems overall, but it’s also the one that most fans seem to miss. It can only be found on the EP Interstate 8, which was almost entirely transferred to the album Building Nothing Out of Something except for a few particular songs. The lyrics are about self-doubt, in this case the personal thoughts of something trying to charm someone they like. The chorus rings in, “We’re all so funny but he’s lost his joke now, A communication from the one lined joke, A stand up comic and a rock musician, Making so much noise you don’t know when to listen.” Yet, each verse finds a new thing to worry about, “Why are you judging people so damn hard, You’re taking your point of views a bit too far.” It’s the intense self-criticism that makes Modest Mouse such a bittersweet band to enjoy, a unique combination of narcissism and self-loathing that everyone feels on some level.
That sense of self-reflection is what makes a protracted video about the history of the Mario franchises commercials set to the song such a good idea. There’s something intrinsically engaging about the idea of Mario being insecure, the contrast becomes so stark when you compare it to his usual “Yahooo!!” self. Here he is selling himself to people in almost every conceivable way: clips from games, Mario jumping out of TVs, and even those old cartoons. The video starts with this rolling piece of paper and those cheesy “Who are you?” commercials that Nintendo used to run back in the Gamecube days. Then, the video plows through every childhood memory a kid with a TV and a Nintendo would have: NES, SNES, N64, and all the sequels in-between make an appearance. As the memories of being young and escaping to video games progress, it starts to nicely highlight the insecurities that the actual song is about as you remember them.
At the very end of the song there’s this uplifting moment where an amazing bass line starts up and you’re snapped out of the melancholy into a foot tapping surge. The lyrics intone, “Think it over, There’s the air of the height of the highrollers, Think it over, You ain’t got nothing until you know her.” The video phases out on this semi-positive note with another clip from the “Who are you?” commercials, ending with a sheepish and grown up Mario waking up hung-over.
Based on the novel by Nick McDonnell, Twelve introduces us to White Mike (played by Chase Crawford, perhaps conveniently busted for pot possession recently), a young drug dealer living the good life among Manhattan’s youngest and richest. Yes, White Mike seems to have it pretty set, with a business relationship with a Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson no less, but this all spirals out of control in the sexiest way possible. Customers start asking for the new “it” drug called Twelve; White Mike’s cousin shows up dead. In short, it basically looks like Schumacher’s sex and drug-filled tribute to Gossip Girl. Twelve also stars Emma Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Rory Culkin, and Zoë Kravitz.
The last music video She & Him made was for the pleasant “In the Sun”. Befitting of such a cutesy song, it revolved around hula hooping in a school gymnasium. So, when the twosome’s first video release for “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here“ appeared on my TV screen, I thought I was in for more of the same. After all, the clip starts innocently enough; with singer Zooey Deschanel surrounded by Disney-like cartoon birds while perched atop the gigantic letter W in the word “why”. Then, she falls off, with her body leaking cartoon blood. But that was just the beginning as her spirit crawls out of her and continues the performance, along with Pac-Man-style ghosts, grim-reaper nuns, and the guitar-playing ghost of bandmate M. Ward. And just as I think it’s going to give us a happy ending, Zooey’s body gets picked on by very cute vultures.
Being that “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here“ is the type of docile ditty that Annette Funicello would serenade Frankie Avalon with in a 1960’s surf movie, I’m a little surprised. I don’t remember any Beach Party movies that involved beheadings, but then again, I haven’t seen all of them.
If this music video were a video game, you would have to show some ID before you could buy it. Nonetheless, it’s quirky graphics certainly aren’t run-of-the-mill and it’s definitely not boring. I’m actually more shocked by the fact that it is nearly two years old and I’ve never seen or heard of it before. Still, I wouldn’t let any kids under the age of 10 watch it, for fear of them attempting to jump off of giant words or stomp on tiny ghosts.