Bears in Trees - Fresh Concrete
14 Jul 2022
Bears in Trees
A music video that uses a traditional format to poke fun at the nature of performance.
A plain white background and stage blocking have often been the norm for music videos over the years and decades. It’s cheap and straight-forward. Simply set it up, get playback and record the band’s performance. ‘Fresh Concrete’ even includes quick-fire introductions to the band members, an act which feels nostalgic and sincere. The upbeat, poppy tone of the song matches this aesthetic, promising something fun and playful.
The quick cuts are timed to the percussive rhythm, with snare rush cannons accompanying their profile images. Intercut with the main arrangement are inserts of each member looking into a mirror, their exaggerated clown-style makeup questioned by their timid and downcast faces. The lyric “what do you have to be sad about?” matches that juxtaposition, pointing towards some falsity of performance. The comical face put on is just a facade to hide something underneath.
Other inserts include a line-up style wide shot of the four of them dressed the same and singles of each of them screaming. These inclusions are more cliched and obvious tropes of the format, but keep the pace up to avoid the lag of a single-location performance. The wider juxtaposition of form and content, presenting an ironically bombastic image, is also somewhat obvious, but does at least gesture to some self-awareness.
The editing becomes more hectic as the video goes on, clashing images against each other and including more and more destabilised close-ups. A mirror is smashed on the ground, and makeup is smeared across the keyboard, possibly representing blood. The idea of encroaching violent elements to contrast the clowning is creative, but could also be seen as a self-indulgent idea of sacrificing something for art. With a more measured performance I could see that message coming across, but for a 2020s throwback-landfill-indie song, it’s hard to see any sacrifice, and thus any meaning.