The latest video on our exchange program with Mick Cullen at Subterranean Radio brings us a Danish band called WhoMadeWho. Hopefully the picture up there has already eliminated any AC/DC reference points your brain might have been attempting, because WhoMadeWho is so far on the other side of the spectrum from the Thunder from Down Under that we're not even sure if it's still in the range of visible light.
Which is fine with us. We've gotten to the point where we only listen to "Highway to Hell" to reminisce about the ECW-era Dudley Boys, not for any endearing love for AC/DC. Hate to be a hipster douchebag about it, but WhoMadeWho is more the kind of thing we're looking for these days.
Almost danceable melancholy: That's the phrase we feel most comfortable using for labeling purposes. If the Bee Gees had been emotionally wired like This Mortal Coil, then they might have been something like WhoMadeWho.
"Every Minute Alone" comes off this year's Kompakt Records release Knee Deep. Watching it calls to mind the deeply existential plight of the first act of Fight Club, as Edward Norton breaks down from the pressure of being expected to matter in a world that seems to value only anonymous consumption.
However, "Every Minute Alone" can be better by a parable we read once. Watch it first.
Two donkeys are tied to a post. One's a town donkey wearing nothing but a saddle. The other is a prospector's donkey loaded down with camping equipment, pickaxes, guns, ammo, and a couple of 50-pound bags of ore. The town donkey looks at the mining donkey and says, "That's quite a load you have there." Then the prospector donkey asks, "What load?" and drops dead of a heart attack.
Jeppe Kjelldberg's voice and the song's haunting synth lines sum up the slow-motion breakdown of the fragile middle-class psyche. It comes to the point where being disconnected becomes such an open wound that even the slightest mishap rubs it back to bleeding. These are lyrics you hear in your head as you stare back at the bathroom mirror, wondering just how many iPhone apps it takes to replace human feeling.
You guys, not us. We skip through life like it was a field of poppies with a song in our hearts. That song was Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive." Unfortunately, now it's "Every Minute Alone," and we don't so much skip as trudge grudgingly towards a fate tapping its watch and waiting to hand us paperwork.
Remember, friends and enemies. Good music is not happy music. By definition, it can't be, and so this we can honestly say that this is a very, very good video.
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Rocks Off quizzed Kjelldberg about the music video. Go to Page 2 for his answers.
Rocks Off: What inspired the video? Is everyday life so hard that even minor mishaps necessitate crying?
Jeppe Kjelldberg: The video is about modern man living in prosperity in a world of opportunities just before the economic meltdown. He is privileged and rich, but not really satisfied. Proportions have been distorted. You see him breaking down because of the smallest incidents. He makes fake up problems for himself. Glass is always half empty, he is unable to spill a glass of milk without crying, and so on.
All these minor mishaps in his life necessitate the opposite of crying. It's ironic. We need to grow up. There is a new economic agenda now. It is time to get some real problems.
RO: What is harder, learning to cry, or learning not to cry?
JK: In Scandinavia my generation has been raised by strong women. We are very familiar with our "female side." We can easily cry. For us, the challenge is to learn not to cry. To stop crying over other peoples succes, waiting in the slower line at the post-office and so on.
RO: Much of the video seems to borrow modern-man imagery from Fight Club. Is that intentional?
JK: Good boy! Creative had many inspirations for this video, Fight Club being one of them.
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RO: Was the video the kind of images you had in your head when you wrote the song?
JK: "Every Minute Alone" is a song based on a feeling. I am very happy about the vibe of the video. It captures the desperation and lonely feeling of the song in a good way.