I’ve reached this point where I’ve seen enough music videos from the French electro-rock band The Shoes that I want to take some time to showcase them, as well as talk about the videos a little bit. I’m not exceptionally interested in their actual music—I find their songs hit or miss, some pretty boring and unspectacular—but their music videos are almost always interesting. Not to totally bash their music, as they have some really great songs. Apparently they’ve been relatively popular in France for a while, and I’m probably late to the scene in talking about them (with my silly American ignorance), but here I am. They have this great chaotic sound at times while also being capable of this dreamy ethereal vibe. Maybe they’re trying to do too much, but their music does have some potential. I believe in the quality of their future albums.
But then when I see they have a new music video out—I’m far more interested. They always have some sick, bizarre narrative going on. This never seems to fail. So here are some of their music videos, with some commentary and background (you know, to entice you).
‘Time to Dance’
I’ve brought this music video up before on this blog, and I really don’t ever get sick of it. Or the song. The sound here is everything I wish The Shoes could consistently be. It’s catchy and gets your heart-racing, and goes incredibly well with the actual video. This video was directed by Daniel Wolfe, who also directed another one of their music videos, as well as some videos for Duffy and Paolo Nutini. The story here stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a role that might as well have been practice for the feverish madness displayed in Nightcrawler. We start with some young people dancing (and end with some young people dancing) and Jake coming out as a total killing machine. When I first saw this video I was shocked with the sudden violent twist. And the way Gyllenhaal looks, his eyes ringed with purple, the intense focused expression as he trains and goes about mundane activities in between the killings—it’s really disturbing, and just a great music video in general.
Another one of their better songs, with a lively beat and occasional spastic sound. This video is a mash-up, starting off with that amazing clip of James Van Der Beek crying about some Dawson’s Creek-related thing and then developing from there. The video clips go extremely well with the catchy sounds of the song, and in the end this music video is pretty funny to watch. The clips are a collection of internet memes and general pop culture fads (Chuck Norris, Nicholas Cage, Bill Nye) and there’s some amusing photoshopping involved as well. That clapping sound just goes so well with Van Der Beek’s face as it crumbles into tears. I love it. The video is directed by Dent de Cuir, who also directed a DyE music video (which is ALSO awesome, I love DyE), as well as videos for Darwin Deez and Modeselektor. Good stuff.
With a bluish, underwater tint and occasional black and white scenes, we start with a romantic tale that gets very symbolic and features some creepy imagery. I’m going to spoil the plot of this narrative, so if you don’t want that skip this, though to be honest it’s bizarre enough that knowing ahead of time instead of puzzling over it afterward might make the initial viewing better. We have a loving couple, but then of course things go wrong. The man, it seems, has discovered he has some terminal illness (or so I interpret from the bleeding nose), and when this information comes out everyone around him reacts (symbolically). His illness affects everyone around him. His lover is devastated and her body contorts in agony with the fact of his illness. The man faces his illness—literally—and seems to contemplate suicide before touching the illness and perhaps, maybe, coming to terms with it. The video is directed by Karim Huu Do, who has directed a few other music videos from bands I’ve never heard of. The song itself is okay—dreamy, full of ennui—I’d listen to it while laying in bed, I guess.
‘Stay the Same’
This is definitely not one of the better songs. I like the lyrics, but the sound is just so dull to me. The video involves a man marching very frantically, in total exasperation, through a city. He encounters a man in a subway at some point—I swear it’s the same guy from the end of the ‘Time to Dance’ music video. Lead character/marching guy yells at a chameleon at one point, and generally remains frustrated for the rest of the video, and his nervous breakdown eventually becomes a dance. Hey! I wish my nervous breakdowns evolved into dance sequences. I feel as if any of us could relate to the character in this video, though not much really happens and this isn’t one of their better ones. This video was also directed by Daniel Wolfe, whom I mentioned previously.
There you have it, a few The Shoes music videos to watch. I’ve pretty much ranked them in order of how much I like them, and I left off some all together because I didn’t like them. But I definitely like this collection, and I’ll be looking out for more music video releases from them in the future.