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Videowatch: October

31/10/2011

This month, we have future X-Men, elephants, road trips and staring at people.

COLDPLAY – PARADISE

One of my favourite songs on the new album actually, if not my favourite. Yes, it is insanely poppy – it bows down and worships every modern RnB pop convention there is and could just as easily have come from someone like Rihanna (a connection formed before we knew about her appearance on the new album). But for this band, it’s actually wonderfully refreshing and something completely new. Coldplay have always been a pop band but on Paradise they really embrace that side of theirs and it actually sounds really fresh and awesome. Sure, you could probably argue for ages about whether the para-para-paradise hook is inanely forced and if the subsequent WOOOOOHs are factory line crowd participation moments, but when it comes to actually sounding great they do the job. It’s a big pop moment and sometimes that sounds great.

Video of the month too, actually. The tale of an elephant traveling across the world and finding his friends is actually really fun to watch. It’s a big budget pop video which goes well with the song’s over-the-top pop leanings. I like my elaborate music videos, I admit that. I don’t expect every single band to be able to pull them off with their limited budgets, but when you come across one it’s always a great thing.

Minus -10 points for Chris Martin randomly taking off the head of his elephant costume for no reason and spoiling the magic (as we say), though. Sheesh, not doing that is like the first rule of costuming.

KEMOPETROL – CHANGING LANES

I’ve actually been rather positively surprised by the latest Kemopetrol album. It’s maybe not top 10 of year material but for the first time in ages they sound like they have a clear desire and passion to continue. They’re one of the few bands I know that genuinely fall into the clichéd group of bands who make a brilliant debut and end up coasting along less impressively with each release afterwards; to the point that I’ve had no real interest in them for ages. A Song and a Reason sounds like it has that drive again though. The band tackle on new sounds, have found a new direction to focus on that sounds perfect for them (sinking in thick, deep atmosphere) and for the first time in quite a while sound like they could be something more special. It’s not as great as a whole as some of its individual pieces suggest but they sound genuinely interesting once again.

The lead single Changing Lanes isn’t one of the album’s best cuts but it’s easy to see why it’s been chosen to lead the album, given as it’s one of the few obvious single moments the album has. It lacks the delicious moodiness and deep sounds of the rest of the album but it’s not without merit: the chorus that actually turns the energy down from the driven verses sounds positively subdued and rather excellent, with some nifty low-key vocal harmonies underlining the suddenly dreamier feel. The video is what you’d expect from a Finnish music video these days: ever since the country’s premier primetime music program was killed around a decade or so ago, the music video industry has mostly given up as there’s no significant outlet for music videos (bar one music channel where they fight a struggling fight against all the international things). Changing Lanes follows suite of the majority of Finnish videos today: take one low-budget idea and stretch it for a video. In this case, driving around with a car looking moody. It’s an alright video but hardly a stand out.

M83 – MIDNIGHT CITY

I already heaped a lot of praise over this song in my previous entry about the album it’s on, and nothing’s changed in the week or so since posting that. Still one of the songs of the year, in all its epic 80s-esque glory.

And it seems like I’m not the only one who could easily imagine it featuring in an 80s blockbuster film. The people responsible for the official video have given the song an appropriately cinematic visual accompaniment, following kids with super powers escaping from confinement and wrecking havoc with possibly cataclysmic results for their own pleasure. Okay, so it’s made so that you actually sympathise with the kids but the glowy eyes thing is still creepy as hell. Perhaps not as sunny and upbeat as I’ve imagined my personal video interpretation for the song to be but rather good work nonetheless.

R.E.M. – WE ALL GO BACK TO WHERE WE BELONG

Remember when R.E.M. made great videos? So many classic video moments accompanying classic songs, the sorts of videos you’d excitedly watch over and over again simply because of how well they worked.

Instead of doing that for the band’s very final ever single though, we’re getting more of Michael Stipe’s amazing directorial efforts. There’s actually two versions, one with Kirsten Dunst as embedded above and another with an old man. You’re missing out on even less with the latter.

The song itself is great, but I’ll leave any further thought about it until I get to hear the other new songs on the upcoming compilation. There’ll be a post about it.

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