Perhaps because everyone loves a spectacle, it’s videos with dancing zombies, fancy treadmill choreography, and burning Catholic crosses that tend to get all the attention. And giving credit where tons of credit is due, admit it: “Thriller”, “Like a Prayer”, and OK GO’s “Here It Goes Again” all seem every bit as fresh today as the first time you saw them on MuchMusic.
Or, for those who don’t remember a time before flatscreen TVs, YouTube and Vimeo.
What often gets overlooked is the beautiful simplicity of a band that plugs in and plays while the camera rolls. Sometimes that means going hot and sweaty, like the Pretenders’ nothing-less-than-lethal “Tattooed Love Boys”.
Sometimes a stark white backdrop and an impeccably styled band does the trick, as in the case of the Specials’ “A Message to You Rudy”.
And, sometimes, you get a surprisingly intimate look at a group that’s normally only seen on football-stadium-sized stages, like the Rolling Stones' fabulously up-close-and-personal “Far Away Eyes”.
Vancouver’s Hyaenas go the simple route with the video for “For the Birds”, an early single from an as-yet-untitled EP scheduled for release later this year. Cue the mortuary-blue lights, bump up the colour saturation, and then remember that few things feel as great as hitting the practice space with friends.
Friends, in the case of the Hyaenas, who have long backgrounds in not just music, but film, photography, and, perhaps most briliantly of all, witchcraft.
Vancouverites know the "For the Birds" backdrop as Pandora’s Box, where millions—or at least hundreds—of local bands have been spawned. If there’s a lesson to be learned from both the video and the song (which comes across as indebted to mid-’90s college rock as it is to circa-now upstarts like Warpaint) it’s that you don’t need a “Cold November Rain” budget to make a video.
Consider yourself inspired.