Friday, October 15, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Daughtry - “September”

We start off with just Chris and his guitar on an empty stage, which is stark and moody. He’s strumming his instrument and staring at the floor like he’s really sad, or maybe he’s trying to remember if he put cashews on his grocery list. He finally starts singing to… no one. We see that the auditorium is completely empty, so either he’s rehearsing or somebody really jacked up the ticket sales.

As the camera moves around to show us that this is a really nice theater, with pretty wallpaper and stuff, the other band members start arriving and prepping their own instruments. (What’s up with that, not being here in time to play the song? Were they watching the end of “Dexter”? You’d think these people could afford Tivo.) Chris doesn’t bother to yell at them, continuing to sing and look pensive about things he probably shouldn’t have done.

Somebody turns on some home movies, which begin to play on a fancy screen at the back of the stage. (The first image is of a little boy running his ass off in a yard, and I think it’s a little Chris, because there’s an empty tube of eyeliner tossed on the ground.) The rest of the band finally starts playing, and I can’t help but wonder why they are all standing so far away from him. Is this one of his Chris’ rules, or are they just scared of him?

Next we have Chris sitting by himself in the audience, so I guess it was really bothering him that no one showed up at his concert and he took matters into his own hands. He starts watching the home movies and pictures playing on the screen, still looking sad and unsatisfied. (Does this man ever smile?) One of the snapshots is of a horrified youngster holding up a pair of underwear that he got for Christmas, probably from that one weird aunt we all had who smelled like old perfume and insisted on buying us crap like that instead of real toys.

As the song starts to pick up speed, we get even more videos and pictures on the giant screen, which makes things a little confusing. (Bell bottoms and bad perms are flying all over the place.) We also start seeing Chris singing in some other room with gray walls (because you can’t have perky colors in a Daughtry video) that I guess he picked out as a place to sing the really loud parts of the song, so the acoustics must be pretty good. (Hey, is that the girl from the “Thompson Twins” on the screen at 1:52?)

And we go on like this for a while, with Chris singing on stage, in the audience, and in the mysterious room where something is causing him to bend over a lot. The giant screen is still filled with embarrassing and awkward clips of days gone by, but Chris isn’t bothered by the pictures, because he now has enough money to buy new friends if anybody is stupid enough to poke fun.

Then the really fast part of the song kicks in, with folks pounding on their guitars like somebody spiked the fruit punch, and a curtain drops off the big screen, revealing an even bigger screen where fast things are happening. Cars are zipping down highways, bad 70’s clothing comes flying at us like we’re the Death Star under attack, and big-haired women are frantically hurling pea salad at long-ago Sunday picnics.

The band is really jamming now (even though they are still maintaining their possibly court-ordered distance from Chris), with flashing lights, jump cuts, and hundreds of yearbook photos proving that nobody had any sense in high school. (And to think that we all actually looked at ourselves in the mirror, approved of what we saw, and then we and our braces marched into Algebra class thinkin’ we all hot and stuff. God.)

Several shots of people fishing, so I guess that was important to Chris at some point. And, big surprise, there were birthday parties in his childhood, with munchkins mainlining sugar and then cheesing for the cameras. (Ah, those were the days, back when you ate whatever you wanted because the only people who knew anything about healthy food all lived on communes and gave birth to children named Bean Sprout and Roach Clip.)

The song finally starts winding down, the pace of the old-school videos tapers off, and Chris stops singing notes that require us to see his uvula. We wrap it up with just him and his guitar again, strumming quietly and reflecting. The stage lighting fades to just one spot on Chris in the middle of the stage. Very nice.

Then they slip in some brief video of… I’m not sure what that is. An ultrasound? Solar flares? Alien beings sending Sarah Palin her next instructions?

Fade to black.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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