Tuesday, September 24, 2013

21st Century Kindertotenlieder - Y Control by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

So many adults long to be children again. They think of the carefree times prancing through a field, picking berries, and cruelly torturing insects by removing their limbs and then focusing the sun's rays through a magnifying glass onto their torsos. Just me?

Children, on the other hand, long to be adults. They imagine staying up all night eating ice cream while watching movies filled literally to the brim with swears. If they were adults they would do whatever they want whenever they want and no one would be able to tell them otherwise.

These are both fantasies, though. Being a kid and being an adult are nothing like that. Adults can't do whatever they want and kids have plenty of worries. What if they were able to live those fantasies out, though? It would look like this:

Remember when I mentioned how funny it is when kids swear? Well, that's what this whole music video is about and it is as cute as a button on a tiny kitty.

But we're not interested in the extremely cute. We are way too erudite to spend our time shouting, "Who's a cat? You are! You are!" at our pets and singing to babies. Let's get down to Analysis Town.

In this video we have two different groups. First we have the band (not The Band):

Here you can see a member of the band pretending to play a guitar.

Then, there are the kids (not Kidz Bop):

This little girl just loves giving the finger. Remember when you thought that was rebellious? You were probably just as tiny as she is.

We begin our story in media res with the children having lived as adults for quite some time. Having spent their time doing exactly what they want they are left as empty husks who find no pleasure in anything.

See how they can't even enjoy the band rocking out:

Those are some grim looking kids.

Eventually, they engage in self mutilation, just so they can feel something:

Non-scholarly note #1: This is the second cutest thing in the video. Those little blonde kids!

There's even more self mutilation. The music video really wanted to slam this one home:

I think cutting out your own guts should be the new universal symbol for ennui.

Side note: I love the special effects here! We all understand that the kid is not really cutting out his guts in real life (also, the Easter Bunny was made up by your parents to keep you in line!), so why not just show a hand pushing the guts out through the fake belly? I've never been particularly bothered by obviously fake special effects. Fake-looking effects prevent you from replacing storytelling with effects, which I have no problem with.

The band, meanwhile, is desperately trying to be carefree and fun. They are flailing around:

The lead singer keeps pulling her skirt up much like my two-year-old niece was wont to do:

And they engage in make believe:

Non-scholarly note #2: This is by far the cutest thing in the video. SO CUTE! My heart's exploding it's so cute.

Back to the analysis: It's sad how hard both of these groups are trying. Ultimately, though, it isn't working and they aren't happy with their new lifestyles.

The kids try to wring joy from a broken car...

...while the band pretends to enjoy Sesame Street.

This actually perfectly matches the tone of the song. Ideally the visuals of a music video will complement what you hear, but it is often hard to do. Here we have a song in a major key that is uptempo but there is a sadness to it. I always associate this song with "Passing Complexion" by Big Black which has the sadness down perfectly but "Y Control" adds a little bit of danciness. The almost forced revelry really sticks with you. Good job, little buddies. Good job.

I don't want to end on that weird, congratulatory note, so I'll just say this: Fun with a dog corpse.


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