[9 June 2010]
PopMatters Associate Multimedia Editor
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.