The Morning Playlist is a new feature for Big Hollywood collecting new or notable music from around the web. Grab yourself some coffee, turn up your speakers, and start the day with a healthy assault on those ol' ear drums.
As the music world has few notable releases this post-holiday week, today's playlist includes songs from 2011 whose music videos either saved them from mediocrity or elevated them to even greater heights.
Toby Keith, "Red Solo Cup"
[youtube BKZqGJONH68 nolink]
This list isn't in any particular order, but I will unequivocally state that Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" is by far the greatest music video of the past year. For one, the song is fun and catchy and exactly what the country music scene needs right now--a step back from that self-serious, over-produced Nashville sound. And how audacious it is--how refreshingly politically incorrect! I can't help but guffaw to the line "You, sir, do not have a pair of testicles if you prefer drinking from glass." It's impossible to describe what makes comedy work, but the sheer goofiness of this video--the background visual gags, the progressively weirder celebrity cameos, the heartfelt bromantic interlude--is a home run for Keith. There's a purity in media like this--"Jackass" being the greatest example--in seeing guys goof off with each other with no pretense and no other purpose besides having a ton of fun.
Fleet Foxes, "The Shrine/An Argument"
[youtube 9yAxIdkF2Qo nolink]
This delightful, evocative, autumn-hued animation never would have seen the light of day if the only source for music videos was television. MTV and VH1 dropped the ball, and the industry suffered; fighting for approval from those monolithic gatekeepers led to a wave of cookie-cutter content. Youtube and Vimeo have empowered smaller artists to be truly creative, but because they have to compete in an open marketplace of videos, they can't fall into the rut of obnoxious experimentalism, either. Anyhow, back to the point at hand; "The Shrine/An Argument," directed by lead singer Robin Pecknold, is wonderfully ambitious and strikes the perfect tone for its source material.
Chromeo, "When the Night Falls"
[youtube kkyYxAv6kB4 nolink]
The concept is both brilliant and disturbing; italodisco revivalists Chromeo are so cool, their music instantly makes women nine months pregnant, which then becomes a strange homage to zombie films and, ultimately, a heartwarming message to hipster dads: don't worry, you can hold a baby and appear sincere while still pulling off that fashionable, detached look.
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After a total left turn at about 40 seconds in, this video becomes an inventive dreamscape, a kaleidoscope of male insecurities and wistful waywardness. At the heart of all the images--shrouded women dancing atop the pyramids, flying claymation whales, frozen prurient Internet videos--is a sense of displacement, feeling both too young and too old, powerless to do what you want and feeling like you've wasted the time you had. Fortunately, that sexy sax is there to soothe your restless soul.
Have any suggestions, past or present, for the Playlist? Send a link with an embeddable player to firstname.lastname@example.org.