The Bestest: The Video for “Laid” Was Apparently Filmed Inside My Head

I’d never really picked-up on the band James, but I always knew their song “Laid” as that pop song I liked that was in the trailer for American Pie.  Then today I was perusing wikipedia to see what other bands Brian Eno has produced, and a Manchester band by the name of James was mentioned.  If U2 and Coldplay hold any sort of proof positive, it’s that Brian Eno is the Worcestershire sauce for UK rock: he makes them just taste better.  So imagine my surprise when I came upon this little candy-colored, acid-laced cupcake of nostalgic awesomeness:

I’m quite glad that I never saw this video before today because I’m pretty sure I would’ve just been confused, but now it’s just a checklist of things that I love, including but not limited to:

  • Jacques Demy-esque pastels
  • Fancifully energetic frontmen
  • Dolly zooms (aka the Vertigo zoom; see 0:26 and 1:14 in the video)
  • 50s kitsch set decoration, costuming, and general aesthetic ambience
  • Subtitles in a music video
  • Gender roles
  • Drag

Then there’s this shot, which might be the most formally brilliant shot.  Ever:


Any socks?  Any deodorant?  Oh.  Astounding.

That this director tells an entire sentence through in a way that requires you to read both word and image in  such a clever, playful way is just too much.  In it of itself, the shot’s not really a joke, rather an utterly brilliant visual entendre.  Never mind that “Laid” is a perfect pop, Eno-enhanced (dig those space organs!) song about a dysfunctional, occasionally gender-bent relationship between a nymphomaniac and a neurotic.  Forget the fact that the video itself is like some bizarro Jeanne Dielman…, replete with jabs at the socially constructed performativity of female gender (they’re all in the domestic sphere of the kitchen, doing things like laundry, while wearing masks and women’s clothes as costumes!).

Forget it all.

“Laid” gives us that glorious shot.  Everything else is just icing.  So much icing.

Oh, and that kitchen?  I want to go to there.

One Response

  1. […] ejaculates fire, a banana monster, the dazzling directorial debut of Showgirl’s Rena Riffel, a music video that was ostensibly filmed inside my head, my favorite Joan Crawford movie, the fact that she wears glasses in said movie, the increasingly […]


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