Sunday, May 4, 2008

Encounter #84: Stress / Burnin'
What Community? #32

This is rather unsettling. I don't know if Gaspard and Xavier really see themselves as banlieue bullies but this video certainly says their idea of "and justice pour tous" is anarchic (just like Metallica), their idea of faith is ironic (they believe in themselves, for sure) and their understanding of how to market themselves is pretty smart: only provide provocative art, and shift moods with each offering (see how different all their videos are), and never explain it -- just do it. (Oh snap!) Romain-Gavras directed this video, and a comment on his myspace page says he's the son of Costas-Gavras, which kind of makes sense, considering I've never seen a film by the elder Gavras, since I hear that Costa's style is a similar brand of immersive polemical. The scary thing is this clip's verité style looks so verité that I began to worry: how much are these boys acting? is the banlieue really this terrible? what are the moral implications of all this? how does this compare to Simon's B-more? how does it compare to West Oakland? East Oakland? Richmond? Hunter's Point? I really know nothing about the world. I live in such a safe bubble that my biggest worry right now is whether I'll ever get a job I like, not "Will I ever get a job?" So what's the value of this brand of art, really? Is it supposed to sell the song? It definitely performs an amplified stress with its parade of hate. Is it supposed to provoke me to take stock of ghetto life? I clearly have, at least superficially. Is it just an affective clip, plain and simple? I think it's a good selling technique to say you're not even a part of the world, that you're somehow above the law and that you're here to cause a little ruckus while you can. Sure. But that can be done with a little more joy, right? I'll grant that this could be read as an affirmation of the world in that there is pain in the world, but maybe I just want my music to be more fun. Clearly these boys like Daft Punk a lot, and they're modeling their career/s after the OG French robots, but what Daft Punk did with their robot rock was funnier and cooler and less pompous in a way. Their third single off Homework was "Burnin'." Here it is:

See, this one is definitely about being so cool you set the world ablaze, and want to see it, so long as it's a good time. The firefighter and the kid aren't who Daft Punk are aligned with: it's the Chicago house DJs making cameos next to those French robots at that table. Maybe I'm a wuss, but I appreciate the spirit of this video more. I just don't need to see kids beating strangers up any more. (I like the Burgess version of Clockwork better than the Kubrick version.) But if you do, here's a high quality Quicktime version of stress for you to download and get nervous with in the safety of your home. --RWK

1 comment:

  1. STFU, Knight: this is, to use some of your favorite words, straight up dope, scary, smart. Otherwise, yeah, I mean, cmon dude, who doesn't like Daft Punk better? "Sheeeeeeit." Wuss.

    What I want to know is whether anybody in the game in Bmore listens to all this French shit. I mean, probably. But I haven't seen anything about it. Is the closest thing we have DJ Sega? I know that's another town altogether but ... is it? Tell me sumpin.