It's been awhile since I, the last VJ, had anything of note music video-wise to share with you fine folks, but my inbox has been flooded lately with extremely quality work. Today we're getting the ball rolling again with The Babies out of New York City and their latest video, "Mess Me Around."
Director Scott Jacobson proves what you can do with a good idea, a low budget, and a few good friends to make the whole thing happen. The Babies find themselves needing a ride to their next gig, and are forced to hitchhike to get there. The ensuing parade of freaks and weirdoes makes for a fast-paced and groovy experience that definitely entertains.
"No, not you. You! Yes! Hello, and you with the baby face," says a strange suburban wife as she chooses members of the band to let in her car as if they were slaves at auction. This trip ends with them all sharing glasses of wine while they drive aimlessly around getting no closer to their destination.
"The hitchhiker idea came about because we were working with no budget -- which is not unusual when you're making music videos -- and the hitchhiking story offered a good structure for a fast-moving, episodic story with some variety in location, and none of it costs anything because you're working in the actors' cars and don't have to deal with location fees," says Jacobson via email. "So it was mostly a pragmatic choice, but I thought it also fit the song in a weird way."
The rest of the band fares little better in terms of with whom they get saddled. Cassie Ramone and Brian Scheyler end up falling into a new-age cult leaders' recruitment speech as they sit trapped in the back seat. Played by Conan writer Todd Levin, he preaches about Ramone's "almond colored aura" and invites everyone to "braid their feelings" in one of the strangest lines I have ever heard.
It's a simple concept that does keep the short video moving a long quite nicely. What really sells it is the playful and patient exasperation that the band displays for their chauffeurs/low-key kidnappers.
For a song that is wonderfully pissy and angsty, it ties in nicely with these strange and off-putting adults also looking for fun and meaning but going about it in an awkward, finding-myself-at-college way that the Babies meet with a weary chagrin.
"Life on the road isn't as crazy as this video!" said singer Kevin Morby. "Life on the road is mainly filled with drunk people after your shows, but that's about it. If we didn't drive ourselves, however, and relied on hitch hiking, I'm sure we'd have some better stories."
"Mess Me Around" is like a trick r' treat-sized version of Smashing Pumpkins "1979," though it's less aimless and delightfully dated. It shows off the simple human freakshow of every day life over a hell of a good little indie rock track. Check it out below.
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