Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Chipmunk ft. Chris Brown – Champion

Dir: Colin Tilley

Chris “Take You Down” Brown continues his campaign to prove that being charged for domestic violence is not in fact commercial suicide, though he’s not rising to the challenge solo.

He’s been called upon by Videosyncrasy favourite (favourite, having appeared in 100% of posts so far…) Chipmunk, who after spending the fledgling years of his career gallivanting on push bikes with Tim Westwood, has been seduced by the wide shots and abundant helicopters of the United States.

His latest effort “Champion” is an ode to smuggery, very much in the R. Kelly ca. 1995 mould, with a solemn piano loop, bombastic beats and a military shuffle, all with the insistent refrain: “I was born a champion”.

See how the opening shot is of scorched earth? This could only be a visual metaphor for the years upon years of arduous endeavour before finally making it in show business, not to mention atop a shipping container. It’s been a struggle, hasn’t it guys? And every sepia-tinted frame hints to your wisdom and worldliness.

Chipmunk (born 1990) showcases a way with words R. Kelly never had: “They wanna hold you back? Tell ‘em p’off’/Whenever they say you can’t, take the ‘t’ off”, while Brown (born 1989) laments his tarnished reputation from within a recess in the hillside: “I used to see my momma being beat down/Is that the real definition of me now?” ‘Fraid so, Chris. Even Charlie Sheen’s grace period is over.

But who are we to argue with them? Triumph is measured not in the fast cars, helicopters or shipping containers of music videos. Chris Brown somehow still does have a career and nobody even remembers that Tim Westwood video. That be triumph.

I really didn’t want to like this song. That precocious insistence should be more offputting, or irritating in the very least. But in these times of uncertainty, it sometimes feels like there’s nothing more reassuring than the unwavering ego of a young rap musician. In this overblown display of wealth and confidence we’re witnessing a rare glimmer of truth. If they really believe what they’re saying, why the hell shouldn’t we?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Hang the DJ

Hello and welcome to Videosyncrasy, a paean to the Music Video.

Oh, the music video, surely the greatest visual representation of our culture (popular culture at least) and of our cultural undertakings that exists. In nice four-minute packages. Though this is no anthropological investigation.

As well as a way of redeeming my hours spent/wasted watching TMF and 4Music (those music channels available on Freeview), when I could be partaking in more profitable things such as going outside or reading classic literature, I will in this journal journalise the fruits the medium has to offer. This may be by commending a video’s employment of cutting edge in cinematography, though it is more likely to be (and this is purely circumstantial) me poking fun at exercises in sheer humiliation for all parties concerned.

Speaking of sheer humiliation:

Ironik ft. Chipmunk and Elton John - Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)

I have always marvelled at the trend of “hip-hop” artists sampling Elton John, and wonder, how on Earth did this trend catch on? When was the great turning point whereby suddenly Elton = cool? Or gnarly, whatever. Elton and his piano tunage don't exactly scream gnarly. I think Eminem and that Grammys performance of Stan must have something to do with it.

I also wonder what Dame John will have to say about this meisterwerk. Ironik and pal Chipmunk have long missed the EJ sampling bandwagon, though I shall persevere. The video is a classy affair, all in black and white. The lift door slides away to reveal the artistes, all done up in their dinner jackets and sunglasses. I know what you’re thinking, sunglasses indoors? Renegades! How cool are they?

They make their way down the corridor of a hotel that’s well plush, with chandeliers and everything. You would definitely get Molton Brown shampoo at this hotel. They knock on one of the doors, greeted by a very pretty lady. What awaits them behind that door? Just you wait. Oh, they’ve made it as artistes. They’ve arrived.

A dozen or so ladies dressed in leather, chains, etc., and the odd French maid (employees of the hotel perhaps?) arrhythmically writhe to the beats I ‘n’ C have laid down, clearly having the time of their lives. The girls pull one another along on dog leads, enjoying the odd fumble and kiss. Remember, this is a classy affair.

However, it does look as though the boys are a little out of their depth in this orgette. Chipmunk, or ‘Munk to his bredren, must be ID’d on a regular basis. He takes charge of the second verse, boasting his “ladies adjacent”. Adjacent? Gee, that’s a big word. That will definitely come in handy when he sits his English GCSE exam next week.

I would have thought that Elton’s presence circa 1975 behind another set of doors in this very special hotel room, where artistes go when they’ve made it, would be a bit of a buzzkill but the ladies are loving it. They’re also loving it when I ‘n’ C whip them with riding crops and shove black grapes down their gobs. S&M has made its way into the realm of the music video. Obviously the bitches-by-da-pool/Jacuzzi routine was looking tired.

Oh, they have arrived.

I just hope those DJs are rented. You don’t want to count your chickens, right?