The Freelance Mentalists.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
 
Anybody else think that 2004 was an exceptionally good year for tearjerking singles? Maybe it was just me, but I found myself masochistically enduring lots of sappy numbers despite the memories and emotions they drudged up. Sometimes the experience is worth the hangover (plus a flip o' the dial usually winds up on a pick-me-up song soon enough).

"My Immortal" was a real slow burner, with childish fears, wishes that you'd just leave, faces that haunt and things that time cannot erase building in weight until (after a false nu-climax) Amy Lee collapsed on the fourth-to-last word, with the last three reaffirming that she's still alive, still not necessarily free of anguish. The video was hindered by that guy who co-wrote the songs and made sure everybody knew he was important too. He's gone now. Good.

"Everytime" sounds like its trying to build to a similar climax, with realizations of need, delusion, failure and possible worthlessness peaking with a voice-cracking declaration of guilt and regret. Thing is, Britney's voice is nowhere as strong as Amy's, so the shudder lacks an 8th of the drama. The power here comes from the piano line that follows the vocal crescendo, which has the kind of sweet fragility that would inspire most video directors to cut to home movie footage of an 8-year-old girl doing ballet. David LaChapelle went for some bizarre mix of "Lightning Crashes" and A Star Is Born instead, reducing an unusual moment of mature vulnerability into diva drama.

Another video that deflates the emo is "Dry Your Eyes," where a cute dog keeps us from feeling Skinner's loss. Frankly I would have preferred footage of him and his ex at happier times. The goodbye-Anthony's-composure moment of the track is when he mentions "the softness she's blessed with." It's a total aside, but hints at the gradual realization that he's losing something he needs, and a video that juxtaposed the shock and grief with idealized companionship would sock the gut a lot harder. Plus, he's telling US the story in the video, reaffirming he's not alone. This might be a more rational, comforting way to promote the song, but I like my pain hardcore.

The only video I saw that added a wince to an already devasting track was "Burn." Dude's just driving (he has so many other things he's gotta do), letting it burn and suddenly he remembers what it was like to try to keep his eye on the road when she'd be there, staring at him with affection, distracting him, making him want to just pull the damn car over and shove his tongue down that throat ASAP. For a second its like she's there and SNAP! He hears her whisper his name and she's actually standing in front of the car. He slams on the brakes in disbelief. Then she's gone! He gets out of the ride, sees he's alone, spins around, wails and makes the trees explode. I would too.
 
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