Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Please don't make me face my generation alone!"

Is that a great line or does it just sound like its supposed to sound like one?  It works just fine in this song:

 Is this band (fun.) huge?  They seem like they should be.  Watching this video, I'm struck by the way that,for me (and I imagine other members of generation video ground zero), the pleasures of watching a music video include a nostalgia for the unsatisfying.  This video is filled with images--like the band performing (for who?)* in the warehouse or the chase through the streets--similar to ones which I remember thinking ranged from cheesy to almost working when I watched them in the afternoons after school in 1983, but which now, at least when well executed and combined with a song I like, elicit a thrill of recognition: "yes, that's how you do that."

*They're playing just for themselves, that's how you know they really mean it.  It's just what they'd be doing anyway, acting out exactly what you need to feel right now.  No, they don't even need a sound system.

Anyway, my rock and roll friends can laugh, but I think this band is kind of amazing.  Here's a few more cuts: first a live version of that song, "All the Pretty Girls."

One thing that's interesting, watching this performance after the studio video: Part of the reason that the band is playing in the warehouse, for themselves and for the viewer's pleasure, which become one and the same, is that its actually very hard to film and record a live musical performance of a pop or rock band in such a way that reminds people effectively of the live experience.  For a variety of reasons. The in-studio style performance, as in the radio station video, has its own aesthetic, and I can't comment on it effectively because I am so fond of it.  In such a situation, a well recorded sound will also sound a lot like what you would hear in the room; bands will be relaxed but still honestly in performance and doing so in a room that is supposed to contain recording equipment; you can hear what's going on in the songs, etc.

And then there's this song, "Be Calm."  The epic.  The studio version is here.  More than worth a listen.  Below is a live performance in front of an audience, filmed by an audience member.

The last one is interesting.  I think that its power depends on both the poor production values, and its attention to the performance itself, which puts the viewer in the position of enacting the filmmakers engagement with the performance, an engagement whose verisimilitude is underscored by the shaky camera, the tiny sound, and the clear focus on that singer.  There's a few videos I've found like this, and down the road I want to look at a few of them together.

Tonight we'll finish up with one more from fun., their Christmas song:

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