Earlier this week when our esteemed Blargus editor, Gianna Palmer, posted Lady Gaga’s new video for “Bad Romance,” I was caught a little off guard. I was made aware of the clip midway through last week, and I had meant to comment on it, but Gianna got there first. I really wanted to get the first word on this sci-fi epic about pyrokinetic clone slaves and the shady golden-jawed crime lords who love them, and the borderline-unlistenable song that goes with it, and I failed. I was embarrassed to be scooped until today, when I found this, the latest video from grunge-pop survivors Puddle of Mudd, which I think manages to exceed “Bad Romance” in just about every way.
Now, if you’re literate, you’re probably not inclined to sit through a Puddle of Mudd song. But I will make you a few promises to encourage you. First, while Wes Scantlin’s vocals get a little gratingly whiney at times, this is a fairly catchy song. Second, the deeply misogynistic lyrics are ethnographically interesting. Third, if you watch this video to the end, you get to see the band fuck a nebula. I will repeat that. In this video, Puddle of Mudd has sexual intercourse with a nebula. (Thanks to Videogum for the hot tip, bee tee dubs)
Did you catch the part where they misspelled the name of our solar system’s nearest neighboring star? Or the part where they sing “A long time ago in a galaxy far a wasted?” Did you pick up on all the misogyny? How about the part where Puddle of Mudd fucked a nebula? I guess that’s how stars are conceived (high five, nerds!).
Anyway, to proceed beyond the sarcasm as ridiculous as this video is, I think it actually might actually represent a positive trend. This is the third ill-advised-by-all-reasonable-standards-but-still-sublime sci-fi-related music video I’ve seen in the last week, along with the aforementioned Gaga joint, and the video for Rihanna’s new single “Russian Roulette,” which seems to take place deep in the bowels of the Ministry of Love.
So that’s pretty weird. But we should be living in the golden age of the crazy music video. Back when MTV first started up, some people made a lot of noise about how influential the video was going to be. But I don’t think it ever worked out all that well. There were a few years of experimentation in the 80s that produced a few standouts (mostly involving Madonna or Oingo Boingo), but pretty soon videos basically degenerated into either bands playing in a room, or straightforward choreographed dances. I don’t think anyone really liked watching the videos of the late 90s and early Aughts, so when MTV stopped playing them, not many salty tears were shed. By about 2005 or so, I think very few people were aware of new music videos.
Oh man, good times. But anyway, as should be obvious from the way this post has been organized, something critical changed: there was such a thing as a Youtube. Suddenly, everyone with an onramp to the information superhighway had access to an unlimited supply of music videos, unmediated by the standards of a TV network. And for some reason, I assumed that major artists would start using their big fancy budgets to make weird, weird videos that would draw the jaded eyes of kids these days away from their Lolcats and their pornography. But it didn’t really happen. The main impact of Youtube on the world of music videos was that indie bands felt free to make weird little short films that had pretty much nothing to do with their songs. For instance, check out the clip for one of my favorite songs of the year, Baroness’s “A Horse Called Golgotha.”
Weird, right? But engaging, right? You wanted to see what happens to that muscular Christ-figure, didn’t you? That kind of approach works, and for years I was hoping people with access to real special effects would start playing around with crazy narratives. So this year, with the batshit scifi trilogy of “Bad Romance,” “Russian Roulette,” and “Spaceship,” my dreams are being realized. Hopefully in the near future we’ll get a video where Kanye hops on a Sandworm to save the Ringworld from the Second Foundation (double high five, nerds!).
Anyway, good luck to all of you, and enjoy your breaks. When we get back, I’m going to start my reflections on the decade in music. I’ll leave you with this to tide you over untile then: