If you're looking for cheery Christmastime viewing, perhaps it's best to avoid the [artist id="1233888"]Kings of Leon's[/artist] brand-new "Pyro" video, four-plus minutes of drunks and depression that, ultimately, gets (sorta) uplifting — but, wow, what a psychic slog it is to get to that point.
The clip takes place entirely in a seedy bar — kind of like the Kings said it would last month — one filled entirely with downtrodden dregs: stumbling drunkards, lecherous lotharios, broken-down bikers, each of them lost in their own boozy worlds, alone together in the room. Their stupors are momentarily broken by the arrival of a young man, who comes in out of the cold to get a drink and then heroically interjects himself in a fight between a burly man and his terrified girlfriend.
He is rewarded for his bravery by getting beaten up — first by the man in question, and then by his surly friends, who take turns pounding on him before tossing him through a mirror while a dead-eyed stripper slowly gyrates away (of course there's a dead-eyed stripper in this place). The sundry of drunks cheer this savagery on and even the bartender gets in on the act, tossing one of the men a baseball bat, presumably to finish off the job. Meanwhile, the band — played by the Kings themselves — plays on, watching the brutality unfold around them.
But then, something sorta miraculous happens. Our hero — flat on his back — slowly begins to rise. His wounds magically heal. He opens his eyes and ascends to the heavens. His assailants can't believe it, and they recoil in shock. Soon, everyone else in the bar begins levitating too — first the purer souls (a caretaker, a terrified young woman, the dead-eyed stripper) and then the rest of the room. The clip ends with everyone slowly floating off into the great beyond, perhaps freed from their personal prisons by this single act of heroism. Or maybe they're all just really wasted.
Either way, that mass ascension manages to put a slightly affirming — not to mention incredibly artistic — capper on the video. "Pyro" is a solemn, sometimes grotesque thing, but there's a strange beauty to it too. Like a diamond broche on a barroom floor, it sparkles despite all the grime it's coated in. It may not be the easiest thing to watch, but it's ultimately rewarding — chill-inducingly so. Drink up.
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