by Robert Schober
The two Chrises (Chris Mills / Chris Grismer) at Spy Entertainment bring us a new video for what is sure to be one of the next big bands by the end of the year. It’s Motion City Soundtrack-another band that puts keyboards back into rock and gets the listener dancing again. Not so much in that Franz Ferdinand, Gang of Four way, but more like The Cars. The buzzy synth is very infectious and the influence of Ric Okasek can certainly be heard.
That’s probably why the video for “Everything Is Alright” works so well. It has the fun and whimsy of a Cars video from the 80s. With the handheld camera moves and the cartoon-like effects, it pulls you into the fun of a good pop song. The video starts with
waiting room patients and a nurse mouthing the lyrics to the song. While they all sing the same thing, each one puts it into a different context. The girl is singing along with a walkman,
a schizophrenic talks to himself, and the nurse asks lead singer Justin Pierre if “everything is alright.”
Obviously everything isn’t, despite his assurance. After going through the motions of lip-synching a pre-scripted response, he dizzily stumbles down a claustrophobic hall to a psychotherapist. It’s the good old-fashioned Freud-with-a couch kind of
psychotherapist too. In the true spirit of an 80’s pop video, the singer’s performance is staged as a confessional (think Tommy Tutones’s ‘867-5309′ video). The video gets Gondryesque when
the shelf behind him pulls away to reveal a small box of a set that is Justin’s brain. It’s a really great set; it’s neon pink with lights and flat paintings on the sides to represent the brain’s
interior. The band plays inside, like they are an internalized monologue bemoaning his crippling obsessive-compulsions. They are the voices in his head perhaps. The boxy stage integrates
perfectly with Mills’ signature flat-panel/3D animations.
Eventually, a nurse comes in and she and the doctor try to coerce Justin into some anger therapy. He seems to empathize with the catatonic dummy sitting next to him, and rather than pommel it with the Nerf bat, resigns himself to collapsing motionless beside it. Maybe he escapes into peace and quiet, but everyone who sees this video will have this catchy song and its Moog synth hooks in their head all day.
This collaboration between Mills (Modest Mouse) and Grismer (Stars) brings the best of what both can offer to the table. Seconds anyone?
Artist: Motion City Soundtrack
Title: Everything is Alright
Director: Chris Mills / Chris Grismer
Production Co.: Spy Entertainment