The All-American Rejects just shot the video for “Gives You Hell,” the first single off their upcoming When the World Comes Down album, and here to provide you with a brief synopsis is frontman Tyson Ritter:
“It opens with me laying there looking like a bag of rock and roll hit me, and I get woken up by a light that comes through the window. … And there’s an alternate version of me, like this stiff J.Crew guy, and he’s out to get the alternate version of me and our band. It’s kind of like ‘Bill and Ted, Part 2,’ ” he explained. “The video basically pits one neighbor against another terrible neighbor, who lives on a completely opposite schedule. He’s not on the grid — he’s not on, like the song says, ‘a 9-to-5 pace.’ And this guy’s living the cookie-cutter life, with his white picket fence, and his wife who brings him lemonade when he’s washing the car. So it’s kind of like the clash of those worlds; only at the end, there’s kind of a twist, where the two worlds kind of flip-flop. Yeah.”
Sounds, uh, awesome? Luckily, MTV News was on set with AAR last week in Los Angeles, and we can attest to the fact that the “Hell” video is actually much better than Ritter’s explanation lets on. Directed by Marc Webb (who, in addition to his work with acts like My Chemical Romance, Fergie and Evanescence, helmed AAR’s video for “Move Along”), the clip features the Rejects gallivanting about — and summarily destroying — a house that’s littered with vintage amps and supermodels (it’s also painted with stripes for whatever reason).
Next door, the so-called “J.Crew” Rejects look on disgustedly and try to ruin the real Rejects’ good times, until — like Ritter said — the great conflict at clip’s end, when everything is solved thanks to the unifying power of rock. Or something like that. It’s all in keeping with the message of the song, which, once again, Ritter was kind enough to explain:
“It’s kind of this tongue-in-cheek way of looking at someone you hate, whether it’s your mom, for some reason, or it’s your teacher at school, or it’s your boss at work,” he said. “It’s just someone who makes you struggle, and it’s giving them the finger, you know what I mean?”
Totally. And though Ritter might take a less-than-serious approach to describing his song and his video, he said that When the World Comes Down (due December 16) is anything but.
“When the World Comes Down is … kind of about the times right now, about the struggle of, uh, everything. Whether it’s how crappy your school’s getting or, I don’t know, anything,” he said. “It’s, like, also about how tomorrow could be better. I don’t know, it could be apocalyptic. It’s like the apocalyptic, romantic view on the world. That sounds about right.”