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Videowatch 2013: December/January

27/01/2013

sonicxtv

Yes, it’s time for another year of arbitrary opinions on singles and music videos as spoken by a person with absolutely no internally consistent criteria on whether something’s good or not. For the first chapter of our 2013 adventures in the world of music videos, we’ll bring some over from last December to create a super-entry of sorts.

BAT FOR LASHES – A WALL

The most attention-grabbing thing about the A Wall video is single mix of the song itself – the original was probably the most ‘pop’ moment on the album, but it did in a rather blissfully floating way. The single mix gives it a little oomph. Both have their places, both are great. Regarding the vid itself, the best thing about it to me is that it harkens back to the lyrics of earlier single “Laura” and seems to describe the party mentioned in that song, and I’m always up for some conceptual self-referential stuff like that.

DAVID BOWIE – WHERE ARE WE NOW

I half-debated whether or not to include this here. One, it’s rather unclear where this stands in my self-imposed criteria of not including lyric videos here, being somewhat of a half-breed between one and a regular video. Two, I’m not sure where I stand on Bowie myself. I have immense respect and love for the man, but I’ve never been a huge fan of him as an artist. His discography is filled with great songs but it’s incredibly uneven and apart from the criminally underrated Reality, none of his albums have had any sort of quality consistency to them (this includes all the token classics: Ziggy, Low, Heroes, etc). My love for Bowie is very periodical and often limited to individual songs, the 2-CD best of compilation and Reality. But seeing as I’m probably going to check out the new surprise album anyway, I might as well acknowledge its prelude here as well.

It’s a good song. A very good song. Wistful, beautiful, inspired. Perfectly Bowie and reminiscent of so many of his past great moments without actually sounding like any of them. It has that Bowie type of grandeur and drama to it. I’m not sold on the video’s general premise – the puppets just look plain silly and ridiculous and make the song sound dafter than it is – but the real pay-off is near the end when you see a few shots of Bowie himself right as the song reaches its climax. The beautiful melancholy mixed with the sight of a visibly aged Bowie is quite the effective thing.

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS – WE NO WHO U R

I’m a recent convert to the wonderful world of Nick Cave and effectively spent the last few months of last year and a fair chunk of my January buying the man’s albums, absorbing the music within and doing the usual routine of absorbing all sorts of trivia/information about the band’s history via Wikipedia et al and spending time with the music video catalogue. From what I’ve seen so far, the Nick Cave videography is filled with good videos – not flashy, but highly entertaining and often at least interesting.

Which is why it’s rather disappointing that the marvellous (marvellous!) lead single from the first Bad Seeds album I’m going to experience at the same as the rest of the world gets a budget-Blair Witch Project video. Yes, dark forests can be moody and lovely and all. But I’d quite like it if something actually happened.

EELS – PEACH BLOSSOM

“Peach Blossom” is built on very few, simple things – hell, it even recycles verses (or is that the chorus? Can you even tell?). But god, does it sound fun and the catchy in the best possible way. It’s excellent Eels-swagger and such a great breath of fresh air after the generally good but rather underwhelming 2009-2010 Eels album trilogy. E’s back. He’s rocking out. Things are good. And then near the end the so very typically Eels-esque melody pops up and it sounds so lovely. And the video is rather good fun too to boot! Like all the best Eels videos it doesn’t take itself seriously, has a goofy charm to it and soundtracks the song perfectly.

EELS – NEW ALPHABET

And then we get a sequel video which concludes with E beating up a kid and stuffing his mouth with sea creatures (it all makes sense in context) to the tune of a beefy blues rocker. I am so happy to have an Eels release coming up again that doesn’t feel like Everett’s going through the motions (even tho I do like Hombre Lobo and Tomorrow Morning, they were hardly E at the top of his game).

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