You may have to take my word for it, but the 1990s were a totally insane decade. Especially when it came to music videos.
It was a time when basically every artist got to do whatever they wanted when it came to making videos, no matter the cost, which meant that, sure, we got lots of super-epic “November Rain” types of clips and the occasional iconic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” kind of thing, but mostly, we got lots and lots of introspective, not-entirely-in-focus mood-pieces.
Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have fond memories of watching hours and hours of angsty, obtuse videos featuring shadowy dudes peering ominously off into space, or brightly lit (yet totally blurry) actors doing things that were supposed to be “deep.” White flashes were frequently used between cuts. There was usually water involved. Or spooky trees. Billowing fabrics with images projected onto them. Grainy, purposely scratched film. Symbolism. Animals running in slow motion. It was all pretty amazing, in retrospect.
The reason I’m bringing all of this up isn’t to kick-start your week with a dose of nostalgia, but rather because the [artist id="1969383"]Silversun Pickups[/artist] — a band who are frequently compared to ’90s mainstays the Smashing Pumpkins — have just unveiled their brand-new video for the song “The Royal We,” and, wow, is this thing airlifted right out of the Clinton era.
Directed by famed photographer Matt Mahurin (who made a whole lot of these types of videos in the 1990s for acts like Metallica, Bush, Soundgarden and Blind Melon), “Royal We” is like a four-minute walk down memory lane. Angsty, out-of-focus close-ups of the band (or, alternately, angsty, in-focus-yet-shiftily-lit close-ups.) Blurry, brightly colored scenes of outstretched hands and skylines and dudes sprinting towards something. Bizarre, presumably symbolic shots of stuff like a torso with a crumbling tower for a head. Oh, and as an added bonus, Mahurin makes most of the footage skip and stretch, sort of like you’re watching the whole thing on a VCR (adjust the tracking, stat!). Seriously, this thing made me feel 13 again.
And that’s what I like best about it. I’m guessing that the guys — and gal — in SSPU are about the same age as I am, which means they undoubtedly grew up watching the exact same videos I did … which means that this is sort of a dream come true for them. It’s exactly the same kind of video I’d make, had I the budget or wherewithal. Perhaps it will inspire a ’90s revival, and I’ll get to enjoy even more really weird videos. My inner 13-year-old can still dream, can’t he?