Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Sara Bareilles - “King of Anything”

We start off seeing a multi-screen image, with tributes to complacent 1950’s housewives on the bottom and disembodied hands playing a piano on the top. Oh wait, the editors helpfully show us that the “piano” is actually some carefully-arranged flatware. Perhaps this is a signal to the hands that they should eat more so that they can have an entire body.

Oh look, there’s Sara on one side, launching into the vocals of the song. She’s wearing a tie, which no woman in the 1950’s would dare do (well, there were a few women who did, usually the same women who had an inordinate fondness for gym class), proving to us that Sara is a progressive spirit who refuses to bake pie. Good for her.

We get a few more scenes, and we realize that Sara is sitting in some café, across the table from a man whose face we’re not allowed to see. Someone has drawn a crown over the faceless man’s head, letting us know that he’s apparently the “king” that Sara will soon be bellowing about. I like it when videos are instructive and educational. Much more refreshing than supermodels wearing eye-patches for bathing suits and constantly splashing water on themselves to cool off their steaming bodies.

While Sara continues to sing, Faceless Man refuses to just shut up and listen to the lyrics, continually babbling about something that we conveniently can’t hear. We’ve only known him 10 seconds, and I can fully understand why Sara would want to leave him. Let him have it, girl.

Now the bodiless hands are clapping to the beat, which is kind of festive and not quite as creepy, but is still a little disconcerting. Seriously, if you were alone in a darkened house and saw those hands coming at you, you certainly wouldn’t invite them to play a concerto or keep rhythm while you did aerobics. You’d run like hell.

The hands clap for a long time, sliding us dangerously toward boredom, so I hope we switch it up pretty soon. I guess Sara heard me, because she suddenly stomps away from the table where the worthless king is still talking about himself and not quite understanding that he now needs to update the contact list on his phone. For some unexplained reason, Sara is wearing an outfit that looks like something Julie Andrews would make out of upholstery in “The Sound of Music”. (Maybe Sara is headed to a yodeling contest.)

Sara trots out the door of the café, and hops on a passing city bus, which is completely empty with plenty of seats and no trash on the floor, so we know this is a dream sequence. As Sara sings some more, continuing to share the worthlessness of her just-ended relationship, we start seeing quickie snippets of marching band members playing instruments, with folks popping in and out of the bus. It seems that Sara really likes messing with things like time and space, qualities she probably picked up in her poor days in the Indie music scene.

The bus finally gets wherever, and now Sara is in.. a store?… where they sell really flat guitars. We still have the multi-screen thing going on, and in this case it makes Sara look like she has a really long neck. (My mind, for whatever reason, instantly flashes to ancient Egypt and Cleopatra abusing charcoal as makeup. Then I remember other things, like cheating lovers and death by snake venom, so maybe I wasn’t supposed to go there.)

Sara keeps singing, and now she’s got some cute little dance moves to go with her vocals, so everybody’s having a really good time. (The band members keep popping in and out of the frames, and I don’t really care for them, but at least they don’t stay around very long.) The whole time Sara is there, I don’t see a single customer buying the flat guitars, so I don’t think this shop is going to make it.

Here’s a slow bit of the song, with Sara looking really pretty amid a collection of Polaroid’s that have come to life. Pale green is definitely her color. And I’m so glad she ditched the Austrian Hooters outfit.

Next thing you know, Sara’s in some garden where the dress code includes lacey support garments and poofy ballet tutus. The creepy hands are back, but everything’s so pretty that you don’t really mind them as much. (Of course, this is exactly what the hands want. They wait until you’re distracted and complacent, then they will take your life quicker than a politician can change his story.)

Sara and her underwear sing and dance for a while, performing some intricate choreography that includes raising her hands over her head and wearing bright lipstick. (The flowers in the background keep changing, so you know they’ve got this poor girl running her butt off to get all these shots.) Quick glimpse of one of the horn players from the band, but it doesn’t really add anything to the emotion of the scene, so he probably could have just stayed on the bus.

We end the song with the multi-screen business really going crazy, and we get bits and pieces of flowers, keyboards, Sara, her ring in the shape of a crown, and those murderous hands just waiting for their moment of evil and destruction. The video ends with Sara gazing into the sky and considering her new life where she doesn’t have to accommodate useless monarchs with no actual land titles.

Wait, did I just hear something scratching in the hallway? Let me go check…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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