A video for Pigs’ “Give It” was released last week, and it’s a curiously bland video for a metal/noise rock song, consisting of random shots of driving around the city lensed through an Instagram-like filter interspersed (eventually) with similarly tinted shots of the band performing.
While the music is solid, the video is half-assed, and appears to have been conceived, shot and put together over the course of a long weekend. The “Instagram” look certainly doesn’t help – it’s not as though giving a video a discolored appearance instantly dooms it because the effect is so overused, but it really should only be used if you’re going for an effect of nostalgia. Or if the video had anything remotely compelling going on in it. Had the video consisted entirely of color-tinted shots of the band, it would have been much more successful, with the video working with the song to recreate the feeling of watching some friend’s band play in a grimy basement bar with the stench of stale Old Style and post-college misery filling the air.
Instead, we get shots of a city, shot through the nostalgia filter for no conceivable reason at all. It’s a lazy concept (one that even managed to create a visually boring video out of a Grace Jones song), executed in a lazy fashion. Pretty much begs the question… why bother? This isn’t going to increase your listenership and I doubt fans of the band itself are going to be particularly excited about it, either.
That said, the travelogue video can be done well, but it is best to actually have the band footage integrated with your tour of the city. The Cool Kids did this earlier this year in the video for “Rush Hour Traffic,” which combines a show of the sights around Chicago with clever animation and actual performance footage:
Granted, this obviously took more effort than running it through a video filter, but it makes a huge difference to the final product. You don’t really even need to go through all that effort, especially if you’re going for a quick-and-dirty, DIY look. Just make sure that it all feels like part of the same video. The Circle Jerks may have been past their prime in 1995 with the video for their cover of the Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You,” but it does the job just fine:
We’ll excuse the suits. It was the style at the time. And granted, Dokken had basically done the same thing a decade earlier with larger hair, fewer bunny suits, and way more fire.
Conceptually, pairing a band with cityscapes isn’t a terrible idea, but if you don’t have any conceivable reason for it and you’re not presenting it in a new way, the results just make for a bland, unremarkable video. For a metal band to produce something that not only isn’t interesting but doesn’t even make any conceptual sense is a bit of a disappointment.