b-dolan-safety-theater-video

B. Dolan – “Safety Theater” (video)

The surface themes of false security and surveillance embed pretty quickly even without the adorable visuals that guide the song.

Timothy Gabriele: I’m glad the kids were having a great time making this video. It completely undercuts the serious tone they’re trying to strike, but when the children all pretend to be flipping out over the bomb and are actually just laughing and yelling it almost makes this overlong charade worth it. This moment, coincidentally, takes place at the moment where the music is supposed to intensify, but spectacularly fails to do so. A grand setup to the closest one might get to a drop in its ’90s industrial breakbeat rap corollary self-sabotaged and quickly faded.

Is B. Dolan supposed to be a parking attendant here? A sermonizing parking attendant? What are the circumstances that brought him here? The song seems to be about a very specific, very personal moment that’s only being vaguely alluded to. I’m guessing Dolan was grounded after the Malaysian Airliner disappeared and put through some extra scrutiny because of the way he looks? There’s also the weird reference to insurance no covering what you die from and the chorus stealing a phrase from 21st Century Auto (“We’re hear when you need us”). All of this makes the song sound more intriguing than it actually is though. The surface themes of false security and surveillance embed pretty quickly even without the adorable visuals that guide the song. Dolan’s voice is texturally close to El-P’s, but in terms of flow, lyrical inventiveness, and production flourishes, he lags way behind. The sentiment’s in the right place, but like many of his songs one wonders whether it would’ve just functioned better as a Knowmore article. [4/10]

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