The new LCD Soundsystem video for "Pow Pow" is out. I'm not too nuts about this song -- when I saw them play in NY supporting 'This is Happening' they opened with this. Then on Free Record Day the LCD record was a one-sided single 12" of also this. WTF? Why not release Dance Yrself Clean -- the best song on the album? GAH.
This video is shot/lit nicely, features Anna Shmendrick from that George Clooney airport movie, and is kind of dumb. Or maybe it's not? I don't know, I was watching it without the volume on. But it seems that the visuals have literally nothing to do with the song. Here then, is
The 21 Gun Salute's review of the new LCD Soundsystem video, as experienced by someone watching it for the first time on mute.
We begin with a shot of an open book, Disney-style, to the following completely nonsensical and and confusing line:
Yikes. Good thing there's stonemasonry imagery in here! Already I'm like 'This Is Happening'... more like WHAT is happening, you know what I'm sayin!
So. Anna Shmendricken's character peruses an artfully laid out grid of accessories. It's sort of Jason Bourne-y, I kind of like it when you get the "These Are The Tools of the Trade" shot. Nice iPhone and contact lens case! But why do you need a highlighter? I guess it will make sense later? (spoiler alert: it does not make sense later)
So Shmanna Hendrix lifts up her hand and, using After Effects' Lightning Arc preset, cuts a hole through the space/time continuum and walks out the door. This ain't no ordinary lady!
She gets into a vintage car (I'm SURE this was shot in LA) and has a bodyguard that is... who exactly?
Who art directed this? Why is that guy a hideous ex-marine mountain man? Is that the WWF's Hillbilly Jim?
Manya Henjmork wanders into a club looking demure. Now is as good a time as any to ask: if this video's "nowness" hinges on the fact that she's in it, do we agree she is an It girl? I'm not really sure? She's attractive and all but I'm not really convinced that making her the centerpiece of this video buys it anything:
For one thing, she seems kind of out of her league, even in a small label dance music video. Weird. It's kind of like when Christian Bale plays Batman -- he doesn't have his face to act with in costume, so he has to over-act with his mouth and voice. Same thing here -- Anna Hoonjforb can't use her voice in the video, so she relies on super obvious physical indexes for being hot and cute. For example, lower-lip biting.
So she sits down next to the most convincingly scary latino actor of all time (Noel Gugliemi). Or maybe it's DJ Muggs. I can't tell.
Point is, he's a masculine serious party guy who should be feared/respected, as evidenced by his idiotic LA hat and girl next to him in a posh bar. Anna's bald assistant Michael Stipe offers DJ Muggs a contract to sign, which he refuses. Anna casts some kind of Egyptian spell on him:
So many candles! What are we, in Stevie Nicks' trailer?
(in trailer VO voice) THE EGYPTIAN SYMBOL FOR SOMETHING!
Next we have bootleg Pharrell sitting at some other posh place. Here is a man to be taken TWICE as seriously, because he has TWICE the number of girls around him and TWICE the amount of candles!
Ancho Henchmobe wanders in with her dangling boobs and gang of bald henchmen like they own the place, and Michael Stipe tries to get Pharrell to sign some kind of document. Pharrell refuses.
His refusal makes Anna so angry that she bites her lower lip again. Yay! The camera adds 10 cuteness! Then she also does the "who, me?" and then casts her Fleetwood Mac spell.
ANOTHER EGYPTIAN SYMBOL FOR SOMETHING. A COMPASS, A "G" AND A RULER, I GUESS!
Cut to bootleg Michael Ironside, sitting in a car waiting angrily for something.
Anna Handjob's gang of idiots show up and negotiate some kind of contract, which is again refused.
Anna, meanwhile, lurks in the background biting her lip, waiting for her opportunity to After Effects this bald clown (so many bald people in this video).
YES! Finally! I had to wait SO LONG before I could stop biting my lower lip and hold my hand up!
THE SYMBOL FOR STONEMASONRY AND ALSO WHO CARES
OK so now it gets "arty." DJ Muggs, bootleg Pharrell, and bootleg Michael Ironside show up in some heavily lit parlor, where they are greeted by various powerful men. There are no candles and women around, so how do we know they are powerful? They are wearing uniforms and business suits, of course.
And also, one of them looks like the greatest fool to ever walk the face of the earth.
Anna, in a desperate attempt to check every item off the Things Girls Do When They Want To Flirt, also plays with her hair.
She wanders out, looking like Celine Dion.
Close up of Angra's face, looking mad? Seductive? Large front two teeth-having? I guess this is the "grown up sexy temptress" shot. She approaches the 3 dudes and there is a flash of white light. This is also where I think the video fails, bc using her as this centerpiece relies on her ability to pull this off, which I do not buy at all.
The next day, Michael Ironside wakes up, looking despondent.
As does Pharrell Williams.
As does the guy from that scary Latino gang scene in Training Day.
Presumably they're soul-less now!
And the last shot is Anyo Hagrid going over her grid of laid-out items, only this time we see brass knuckles? That she hovers over and then moves on from?
The end? WTF is going on? Oh, before I forget, THE END WAS ALSO THE BEGINNING BECAUSE LIFE IS CYCLICAL (see: Runaway). Also this makes no sense whatsoever. It has nothing to do with the song, lyrically. It has nothing to do with the Egyptian hieroglyphics, either. It has nothing to do with anything. It doesn't even make sense. If the guys refuse to sign the contract (presumably one that would sell their souls) why would they still have lost their souls at the end? Is it a commentary on them being soul-less the whole time? Is it a waste of time? The answers are: maybe, and yes.