what’s white and red and got a good beat? | music review

Admit­ted­ly, I’m not entire­ly sure of the pur­pose of this post. It’s not entire­ly a review, and it’s only half of a Top 10 list, and it’s a very obscure col­lec­tion. But it’s here, and it’s some­thing I like and want to share, and best of all, it’s creepy and a good way to send off Halloween.

How do I describe this list of music videos? Let’s see... My favourite types of music videos fall into two cat­e­gories: either they tell a sto­ry, or they’ve root­ed you in place with utter­ly mor­bid and macabre scenery. If I’m lucky, it does both. I’m a fan of stark con­trasts, blacks and whites with splash­es of colour. I like chaos, as the name of this blog, the tagline writ­ten all over it, and my sig­na­ture can attest to.

What I love, is watch­ing some­thing fall apart. Not so much in the way of a demo­li­tion, or destruc­tion, but... degen­er­a­tion (wow that’s a lot of words for the same thing that start with D). That visu­al reminder, that per­fec­tion is unat­tain­able, is com­fort­ing to some­one who strug­gles with try­ing to prove oth­er­wise on a dai­ly basis. I read sto­ries about char­ac­ters and worlds that crum­ble in one way or anoth­er. I watch movies that make my skin crawl with rooms that change around the char­ac­ter (a la the descent into the Oth­er World in Silent Hill (both movie and game) or the sev­er­al envi­ron­men­tal changes that room in the book/​movie 1408 goes through).

I search for music that can give me the same feel­ing. When it includes a music video that does the same? Bonus! Here’s my top 5 favourite music videos that have that things-are-not-per­fect-and-I-am-going-to-pieces vibe.

WARNING/​DISCLAIMER: Every one of the videos on this list uses effects to allude to massive quantities of blood. If you’re not a fan of horror/​gore, you definitely might not want to check these out, sorry. I’ll put a brief summary with each title so you can use your own discretion.

5. “All Around Me” by Flyleaf

(uses sev­er­al dif­fer­ent colours of what is clear­ly paint, but does use red heav­i­ly at the begin­ning and near the end)

Prob­a­bly one of their most pop­u­lar and well known songs besides “I’m So Sick”, I’ve always been a big fan of the Lacey Sturm-era Fly­leaf, and this song is one of my favourites. The video jumps right into it, and is one of the more colour­ful ones on the list, with sev­er­al dif­fer­ent colours of paint spilling down the walls around the band as they play. I love that it goes back and forth from an emp­ty and lone­ly, blank room, to one that’s begin­ning to grow claus­tro­pho­bic as the lay­ers build and the paint pools on the floor.

4. “Perfect” by Hedley

(uses what is clear­ly red paint at the very end of the video)


If you know me, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’ve known me for over a decade, you can attest to my ado­ra­tion for Hed­ley. I’ve been a fan of the band since before the lead singer, Jacob Hog­gard, appeared on the sec­ond sea­son of Cana­di­an Idol. I remem­ber send­ing an enve­lope with a 20$ bill to the tiny lit­tle town of Abbots­ford, and receiv­ing in the mail two weeks lat­er, a band t‑shirt that smelled like cologne, and a demo CD with fin­ger­prints on it. Some­thing about know­ing that the boys them­selves had pack­aged and sent this off to a young fan made my heart soar, and I’ve loved them all the more since then. “Per­fect” is my sec­ond favourite song off the album The Show Must Go, and I still choke up now and then when I lis­ten to it. In the same vein as “All Around Me” it goes back and forth between dif­fer­ent scenes. Of the five, it’s the one with the least amount of what brings this list togeth­er, but it does have the ele­ment of destruc­tion that I love. The room in flames, falling apart, things being thrown. It also has that con­trast of black and white with Jacob at the piano, and then again with red and white instead, tak­ing your hand and lead­ing you through the emo­tions of the song. Also, and final­ly, it has a ton of slow motion, which I’m a suck­er for. 

3. “Animals” by Maroon 5

(BIG WARNING: the theme of this video is a woman being stalked. the major­i­ty of the video is set inside a meat lock­er with hang­ing live­stock car­cass­es, there is a ton of blood used throughout)

Wow, so this next video got a lot of flack when it debuted. I don’t think any­one was expect­ing some­thing quite like this when they first heard the sin­gle by the band. I had already watched the lyrics video, which involved silk and snakes and had its own unset­tling aura, and so I had a feel­ing the music video would­n’t be too inno­cent, but even I was extreme­ly sur­prised with the lengths it went to. From start to fin­ish, the qual­i­ty of pro­duc­tion and the plot of the sto­ry told (rem­i­nis­cent to movies like Dis­tur­bia, Mr. Brooks, One Hour Pho­to, etc) is almost full-fea­ture film wor­thy, in my opin­ion. Adam Levine does make for an extreme­ly sexy psy­cho, admit­ted­ly. When I first watched the video, I could­n’t take my eyes off of it, or keep my mouth closed. In under 4 min­utes, the lyrics of the song went from broody and sex­u­al, to ter­ri­fy­ing­ly uncom­fort­able. Though there’s not much con­trast or tan­gi­ble chaos in the video, I could­n’t not include it in the list. It takes the theme of dete­ri­o­ra­tion and moves it from out­side, into the head, as Adam’s ‘char­ac­ter’ gets clos­er and clos­er to cross­ing that line between Peep­ing Tom and Amer­i­can Psy­cho. It does, inevitably, include a show­er of blood, but that small bit isn’t why I gave it a spot. It holds you to it with fas­ci­na­tion, piquing all those raw instincts that typ­i­cal­ly lay dor­mant. It is, with­out a doubt, a roman­ti­ciz­ing of fear, lust, and vio­lence, which is what makes it so taboo, and led to so many con­tro­ver­sial con­ver­sa­tions about its exis­tence. Should it be damned for that, though? No more than any oth­er movie, song, book, or game. At the end of the day, it does exact­ly what it’s meant to by giv­ing us those shame­less thrills and chills.  

2. “joyriding” by frnkiero andthe cellabration

(the band pro­gres­sive­ly gets cov­ered in blood, the singer’s mouth is full of blood) 

I cried when My Chem­i­cal Romance broke up. I cried long and hard and spent a week lis­ten­ing to all 4 albums on repeat. They were my first con­cert, when I saw them on tour for their Dan­ger Days: The True Lives of the Fab­u­lous Killjoys album. It hit hard for me, but I digress. The boys went on to do their own things, and I sup­port­ed them in that, and when Frank Iero announced his solo project, I was, well, over­joyed. “joyrid­ing” was their debut sin­gle, and absolute­ly blew me away. When the video start­ed and all I saw was a group of well-groomed boys dressed in white, in a white room, with white instru­ments, I knew exact­ly where it was going, and I sat wig­gling in antic­i­pa­tion. I was not let down. This video, and the one I chose for #1, are the rea­son I was inspired to cre­ate this list in the first place. This is the kind of music video I get hyped up to watch, the kind that holds my atten­tion and makes me keep com­ing back to it again and again to watch. I’m a fan of gore, okay? I have an utter fas­ci­na­tion with blood, and large amounts of it. This is what I think of, when I think of things falling apart. When I’m over­whelmed and ready to scream and tear things apart, this is where my mind goes: to a place where I could take some­thing seem­ing­ly pure and crisp, clean and sim­ple, and make it any­thing but. Jack­son Pol­lock and I would have been good friends, I’m sure. What I love most about the video for “joyrid­ing”, is how sub­tly the change begins. Every­thing is on course, and then sud­den­ly, you’re not too sure you saw that splat­ter or not. But you must have, because look, there’s anoth­er lit­tle drop, and anoth­er, and then whoa, hold up, how did all of that get there?! It goes from 0 to 100 in no time flat, and it is unre­lent­ing, and I love that. The kick­er that real­ly makes this video for me, is Frank him­self. It’s one of his first big spots up front, though his role in MCR was large. There’s a sense of awk­ward­ness that makes him feel imme­di­ate­ly relat­able, and hum­ble even. The song itself is a tes­ta­ment to that as well, and there’s that defin­ing line that brings me back to why I love these types of videos. “I hate my weak­ness­es, they made me who I am.” There it is, that need for want­i­ng per­fec­tion and only get­ting destruc­tion instead. Plus, face facts: His smile at the very end is fuck­ing adorable.  

1. “The Killing Type” by Amanda Palmer

(the band pro­gres­sive­ly gets cov­ered in blood, the singer holds a heart at the end, and is in bed with a bloody body; know­ing aman­da palmer i would not be sur­prised if it was real blood)

Final­ly, the one. Num­ber one goes to the only artist who could every tru­ly deserve the title. Aman­da Palmer is sheer fuck­ing tal­ent. I can’t say enough about her, her solo work, or the amaz­ing things she did with The Dres­den Dolls. I could write an entire­ly sep­a­rate post on her, but I’ll focus on this video. “The Killing Type” is from the album The­atre Is Evil, and ties with “The Bed Song” as my favourite from said album. The song is raw, harsh, and cause for heartache. We’ve all know this feel­ing. We’ve all said it about one thing or anoth­er. “I would kill for...” “I would kill to...” Of course, none of us with morals and a sense of right and wrong would ever actu­al­ly kill any­one for our own gain. But do we ever con­sid­er our­selves cow­ards for not fol­low­ing through with what is such a com­mon expres­sion? No. No, we don’t. We say it, and we move on with lit­tle grip­ing. But what if we real­ly want­ed to mean it? What if it ate you up inside that you could even think for a sec­ond of going through with it? What if, what if, what if... what if what you would kill for, is some­one? I love the song more than I love the video, and that’s real­ly say­ing some­thing. The path Aman­da took in bring­ing the song to life, visu­al­ly, is iron­i­cal­ly exact­ly what it isn’t: per­fec­tion. There’s no oth­er way I could have visu­al­ized this song. Aman­da has always been so intense­ly expres­sive in every man­ner, her words, her expres­sions, her every­thing. You can see, so strong­ly, the frus­tra­tion and the des­per­a­tion flood­ing through her with every line. The video is vio­lent, and ter­ri­fy­ing, and yet all you can do is be on her side as she screams and tears at her hair, beats on this absen­tee lover, war­ring with — and even scar­ing — her­self. The blood only serves to make this all the more apparent. 

And two hon­ourary men­tions go to The Red Strokes” by Garth Brooks, and I Don’t Love You” by My Chem­i­cal Romance.

Sad­ly, the video for “The Red Strokes” is not to be found on youtube in almost any way, shape, or form. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s such an old song that a copy of it has nev­er been dig­i­tized. I know it had some con­tro­ver­sy at the time it was being aired on coun­try music chan­nels, but there are much more ques­tion­able videos on youtube these days than a piano being splashed with paint...? If any of you have seen it, you know what I mean, and you know why it almost made the list. I remem­ber watch­ing that music video for the first time as a child, and feel­ing like it was some­thing absolute­ly beau­ti­ful and unset­tling, and this odd feel­ing that it was some­thing that maybe I was­n’t sup­posed to be watch­ing. The visu­als it left me with have been in my head all my life, and it’s one of my favourite Garth Brooks songs. If you do search it out, you don’t need much warn­ing. The video clear­ly uses paint in shades of blue, green, and red.

I Don’t Love You did­n’t make the list for the very sim­ply and triv­ial fact that it’s black and white, not white and red. It may have fit the list bet­ter than “Ani­mals” did, but it was real­ly a coin toss. The song has always been a favourite of mine from the band, hold­ing a spe­cial place in my and my best friend’s hearts because we relate it so heav­i­ly to some of the char­ac­ters in our writ­ing projects. The emo­tions that Ger­ard express­es in the close-ups in the video are haunt­ing. No blood in this video at all, noth­ing red. It’s entire­ly in black and white.

So that’s the list. If you stuck it out and listened/​watched all or a few of these, let me know which ones you liked best, if there’s maybe a video you think I missed, and/​or what your favourite types of music videos are! I hope you had a Hap­py Halloween!

keep rioting, xo. shilo christina

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