Rising like a middle-of-the-road phoenix from the ashes of my now (hopefully) finished university career, No Ouais is ready to stop being dead! Hooray, right? Right. I return to you with an all new (“all new” unless you know me and my love for FourFour and ImageReady) weekly feature called TGIF. It is a thing where I talk about a music video or something with the help of gifs (TGIF, see), which happens on Fridays. Thank Gifs/God It’s Friday. See? Look, I’ll admit that it’s kind of a lackluster name but just wait for the gifs. The internet loves gifs!
This week I thought that it would only be right for our inaugural Friday gif-fest to focus on kooky chanteuse (I think I’ve got that tired descriptor out of my system now) Regina Spektor and her new single Laughing With. Because it’s about God, and thank God it’s Friday, and “oh God this is getting old already Andrew shut up.”
There’s a good chance that this song was originally called Laughing With Shonda Rhimes, but perhaps that was seen as being a bit too obvious. It’s unmistakable though – Laughing With sounds custom-built for an appearance on a certain Seattle-based medical drama, with its solemn talk of death and relationship woes offset by Spektor’s trademark cutesy vocals and zany music video antics.
Let’s look at some gifs.
We start out harmlessly enough. Things are looking quite pleasant for Sara Bareilles as she visits the optometrist during her new obnoxiously precious music video shoot!
It’s that Regina Spektor bird. Let’s stop her before she can start singing, because once she starts singing it’s going to get…bad. “No one’s laughing at God in a hospital” she muses halfheartedly. And, I mean, I know, right? Hospitals are like fun vacuums. So much serious business! And there’s more serious business where that came from, and in case you needed evidence of how serious and thought-provoking this song is, Regina’s going to mope about with a disingenuous look on her face, occasionally breaking eye contact with the camera because oh god it’s so sad I’m going to cry awkward glance to the floor exit stage right.
But if hospitals are humorless joke vacuums, Regina is the kooky Patch Adams of pop. She’s here to amuse you with her artsy lolz and her twee japes. Welcome to her ward, where she treats people for diseases like seriousness type II and that icky feeling you get when you see someone you like holding hands with somebody else. Her ward looks kind of like Labyrinth on zoloft. (and, yes, other more artistic things, but shut up)
Which is basically what she’s prescribing for what ales ya, by the way. Musical zoloft, some actual zoloft, some corn nuts and some light humor to cheer you up. Because God can be fun-ee, you see. Like…ripping your own head off funny.
“Ooh, she’s got her head off”, etc. Ha ha! I’ll admit, there’s an admirable ballsiness to an artist who realizes so soon into a music video that it’s all a bit bland and that the audience would probably rather see your head on a stick. But then she puts it back on, so really it’s a bit of a decapitation prick tease.
And then she wanders around some more, and you start to get the feeling that she’s kind of lost. It’s okay though, I know the zoloft labyrinth like the back of my stop-motion hand. Optical Illusions 101 is down the never-ending spiral hallway, just up the invisible stairs.
Woeful, isn’t it? Still, it’s slightly more stimulating than the song itself, which is pleasant enough, but perhaps so damningly pleasant that it could send even Regina to sleep. While she’s playing it.
“No one’s bored with God when he’s something something and they something something zzz…but God can be booooriiiiing“, etc.
It’s not all bad news though. The infectious Dance Anthem of the ’80s will be making an appearance on new album Far as well, and its zany irreverence thankfully recalls Regina’s more vivacious work (i.e. it’s actually got some personality). It’s kooky! And Tori Amos thought she had a monopoly on that bullshit. More importantly, it’s kooky in a somewhat genuine and honest way. It’s cutesy and sweet, and it’s brilliantly poppy (which is a good thing – say what you want about Begin To Hope but its pop posturing was often effective), but it stops itself from being unbearably saccharine with some vaguely dark undertones – standing on sidewalks waiting for johns? Brothels down the street? You! Are! SO! SWEET!
And most importantly – AMAZING BRIDGE ALERT. See, Regina? You can make music that’s full of Feelings while also being incredibly fun and quite interesting! Do that more.
For now, I’d advise that you approach Far with caution and observe from a safe distance for a while. At this stage, what we’ve seen of it suggests that it will run the Regina gamut from po-faced MOR to ‘wacky’ off-kilter pop. Something for everyone then,* but perhaps at the expense of not appealing to anyone as a whole.
Nice dress though.
*unless you’ve always hated Regina, in which case it’ll all undoubtedly sound like a messy cacophony of tedious and pretentious wank to you – sorry. :(