Saturday, August 9, 2008
M83's "Kim and Jessie" Video hates Rollerskating, Synchronization and Lesbians
Something about the new video for M83's "Kim and Jessie" bothers me. And while this may be petty to most people, I have found myself thinking about it for days. It's something I should like: A Video About Rollerskating.
But rollerskating is such a ripe music-video fruit that I will not settle merely for its presence in a mediocre video, and everyone else should demand more. And that's not the only problem.
1. You can tell the girls in the video don't really love to roller skate. Compare them to the hula-hooping girl in the Frankmusik Video for "In Step:"
That girl clearly loves what she is doing. In contrast to the M83 girls. Who are smiling but don't love roller-skating.
Here's where it gets deep: I'd bet the difference is that the Hula-Hooper is Italian, and the M83 girls are likely British or American. Anglo's aren't as good at feeling joy at the expense of their image, we're too self-consciously dorky to be dorky in a purely liberated manner.
2. Speaking of liberation: Why not just let them be lesbians? For the love of god, the video is clearly supposed to be about lesbians. There's no reason we have to keep fictional characters in the closet care of some douchey-looking roller-hippies.
3. I know this is supposed to be "synchronized" roller skating, but outside of about 30 seconds, it's not synchronized. At all. It's constantly annoyingly unsynchronized: "No one really gives a shit about roller skating anyway so let's just get it done in two takes, ladies!" People leave the frame at different points, are different distances from the camera when they shouldn't be, etc.
Look, I know this is petty stuff. The reason I care? Most of it comes down to the Anglo-cultural "Can't look like I give a damn" idea of "cool" and frustration with a culture that is terrified of looking dorky. Dorky here is a synonym for passionate, I suppose. It is more troubling to me when it reinforces this cool detachment with the "Nah, we're not REALLY lesbians!" finale. This seems to me like a video about restraining yourself from what you love, except that no one was aware of it.
M83 = fail. Lesbians who love rollerskating deserve to be recognized.