Friday, October 8, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Neon Trees - “Animal”

Well, here’s another group that I’ve never heard of, which means that I’m really out of touch with modern music, or too many clueless teenagers have Internet access to websites where they can vote repeatedly like ants on crack.

Anyway, we start off with dual things going on. One involves a series of scenes where what I’m assuming are the members of Neon Trees trudging through a city where it’s snowing, headed toward something. This part is not very exciting. We also have snooty art people in a snooty art gallery, being very foo-foo about that weird art where somebody makes a single dot on a ginormous piece of canvas, and half the art world has an orgasm. Really don’t get that. And I don’t feel bad about it.

The lyrics start, and the lead singer has one of those modified mohawk haircuts, with the rest of his head shaved. This is another thing I don’t understand. The haircut is beyond stupid. Why would you do that to yourself? More importantly, why would anyone want to have sex with you? Did you think about that before you got crazy at Fantastic Sams?

Then the Neon Trees people think it would be really amusing to pump a red gas into the snooty art museum so that all the patrons get a whiff and then drop to the ground. (I had some wild days in college, but I never wanted to asphyxiate people.) The camera in the museum pans among the sleeping snooty art people. Interestingly enough, most of them have refused to loosen their grip on their cocktail glasses as they went into their comas. At least I understand THAT part. If I’m going down, I want an adult beverage nearby.

Once the hoity people are napping, the Neon Trees crash the party, breaking into the museum. (One of them is carrying a huge boom box from back in the day. Have these people not heard about the newer technologies?) The mohawked lead singer slaps a paintbrush on his hand, which means nothing to me, but apparently signals the other band members to race through the museum and begin performing outrageous and pointless acts.

Now we start getting shots of the band performing live mixed in with the museum carnage. This carnage includes Tree people racing up to art pieces and throwing buckets of paint on the mystifying imagery. That’s kind of silly. I don’t like the pieces either, but if drunk rich people want to waste their time getting aroused over that mess, let ‘em do it. I don’t care. Why waste your time with vandalism and destruction? Just make sure you vote on election day. THAT makes a difference. Sayin.

Speaking of the live band footage, take a gander at 1:01 in the video, when a red-haired woman in the band makes a facial expression that indicates she thought she was auditioning for “Debbie Does Dallas, The Remake”. A few seconds later, this same woman smears paint on Mohawk Man’s face, then wanders off. She’s very complicated, that girl.

Then the really cryptic part of the video kicks in, with the gassed patrons being transformed into actual animals. Okay, I went to college and all that, but I have no idea what this bit means. (And I’ve seen John Cage live in concert, so it’s not like I haven’t been outside the envelope.)

This goes on for a while, combining the live shots of the band performing with the morphing shots of unconscious people being transformed into cast members of “Noah’s Ark, The Musical”. Oh, and the Trees keep destroying art all over the museum. (Are they Republican?) Since this starts to get boring and repetitive, the producer decides to start splitting things into three screens. Like that helps in any way.

And, well, it keeps going. The Trees keep running around destroying artwork and liberating the contents of paint cans. The red-haired woman keeps making pornographic facial expressions. I keep waiting for something interesting to happen.

Suddenly, we get a brief shot of the lead singer’s feet, and he’s wearing red velvet boots. I believe our answer might be found in that choice of footwear, don’t you think?

Just as I’m about to hit the “please delete this video and never show it to me again” button, the snoozing transformed animal people start waking up. Well, we need to see where this goes. The Old McDonald’s gang decides to start dancing while the band continues to play. Like the enforced naps they had have completely changed their lives. And I suppose it has, because now they have to get a live animal permit in order to live in their own homes.

And once again, this goes on forever, with the producer resorting to the three-screen effect because he or she has got to do something to liven up this mess. Endless shots of Cow People dancing and the lead singer doing everything he can to show off his mohawk. (Red-haired girl is still acting like John Holmes is waiting in the wings, dead or not.)

Dear God, we still have 40 seconds left in this video. I don’t know if I have the strength.

I sit there, numb.

Finally, the song winds down, with our parting image being Elsie the Cow, Rudolph the Coke-Nosed Reindeer, and Mohawk Man boogying to the fading notes.


Back to that John Cage concert. Did I mention that I walked out half way through because different is interesting but pretentiousness is boring?



Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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