Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Backup Dancers From Hell: Plain White T’s - “Hey There Delilah”

Okay, folks, this one’s a toughie, because of the way the video was put together and the limited images that you can see. But hey, let’s give it a run and see what happens…

Right away they start off with this multi-screen effect, showing different things going on all at one time. This is fun to watch at first, because it’s busy and interesting, but you soon realize that there’s no actual story, just some themed imagery. There are basically just two things going on: Tom is sitting in an apartment playing his guitar, and Delilah is running around in another city in search of the rest of her skirt.

Since playing a guitar while sitting in a chair is all that Tom does, we can basically wrap up his story thread right here. He sits, plays, and sings. The end. Besides, although the song is pretty and everything, you can only get so much video footage out of somebody fingering their instrument. Things are a little slow, especially since the song is borderline emo and that’s a dangerous line to walk. You need some pep for a great video.

And that’s where Delilah comes in. This girl is busy, rarely staying still for longer than 1.3 seconds. She would never be happy in a quiet, acoustic apartment where not much is happening. This is probably why she chose to stay on the other side of the country until Tom gets it together. That “going to school” business is just a sham. Delilah’s a party girl. And this is her story.

Delilah starts off by wearing leg warmers with high heels, so you know she’s on the quirky side. She appears to be waiting for a subway, but she might just be there for the excellent selection in the vending machines. She also wears lipstick that accents the puffy trim on her hood, so she’s stylish as well.

Now she’s running up some stairs to another subway station. I don’t know if she realized she was at the wrong one, or if we were watching Tom’s fingers when she caught the first connection. Anyway, she steps out on this new platform, and this is where her skirt really makes its debut. Or perhaps I should say “lack of skirt”. I mean, it’s not super tawdry, like someone would barely wear in a Whitesnake video, but still, ain’t much there.

I guess the train is running late, because Delilah first appears restless, then starts walking around the platform, going faster and faster as if there are growing bladder issues or she’s fresh from a wax job. Next thing we know, she’s walking along a street, letting us see she owns one of those purses with the really short straps. (I’ve never understood those things, the way your purse is jammed into your armpit. Aside from potential moisture stains on expensive leather, how is that comfortable?) Delilah doesn’t care, and she and her restrictive purse continue waltzing up the street.

She crosses at an intersection, allowing her hood to flop down so we can get a gander at her ponytail, letting us know that she’s very sensible and doesn’t waste money and effort on hair products. Good for her. Then she gets to the other side of the street and pops the hood back on. She must be walking past the Vogue building and isn’t feeling quite as liberated about her coiffure.

Okay, Delilah has magically transitioned to some place where there’s lots of graffiti on the walls. There seems to be a mirror in all that mess, because Dee is staring into it and applying some cosmetics. This might be her own bathroom, and it looks this way because she ran out of Post-It notes, but I’m going to venture it’s a public restroom in one of those trendy places where you can substitute tofu for anything on the menu. Even the tofu.

It takes Delilah quite a while to apply, looking a little garish, so either she’s got an important meeting with a client who happens to be a pimp, or she’s a wee bit self-centered. After all, she’s supposed to be saving herself for the man across the country who is writing a hit song about her. She really shouldn’t be spending this much time dressing up the goods. But I’ve been out of the dating scene for a while. Maybe “relationship” these days means “I’ll sleep with you when you’re in town”.

Um, she’s still putting on that makeup. Geez.

Okay, now we’re back at the subway. Is this girl ever going to get where she needs to go? Poor thing. Oh look, she’s actually getting on one of the cars, so at least she’s made progress. Wait, now she’s back on the street, in a provocative pose concerning that questionable miniskirt. Then she’s back at a subway station with her leg warmers. Delilah, honey, stay in one place long enough for me to finish a paragraph.

Dee’s on the move again, back on a street, looking as if she’s contemplating taking a cab. I would strongly suggest that, Delilah. It’s becoming very clear that the workings of the subway system might be just a tad out of your grasp. Get into one of those nice, warm cars and let someone else figure out your destination. And remember to cross your legs.

Nope, she passes up the taxi and decides to run across some streets without looking either way. Then she’s walking on another street looking sad. This might be because the hot dog vendor behind her is out of sauerkraut. Then she’s walking by some benches, but doesn’t stop to rest, even though it’s obvious by now that she’s never going to get where she’s going.

Back at Tom’s, he finally ends the song and just stares at the floor, contemplating. Yeah, I hear ya, Tom. We just watched the video, too. Are you sure that Delilah’s really the one? Because there are lots of other girls out there with three syllables in their name, so it wouldn’t be too hard to re-record the song….


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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