Listen: Everyone should check out PSYCHO by Post Malone, which if you come at tabula rosa seems like a warning that we’ll need tanks and flamethrowers to survive the dystopian hell after the reign the last president of the United States, former NBA all-star Karl Malone.
Have a listen and a look:
There’s a weird thing about music videos of all genres, whether it’s country, rap, pop, rock or Pop Rocks, and that one weird thing is this: Just be different.
If you spend 2.1 bazillion dollars and hire a Hollywood director to make a high-production video that’s JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS, then congratulations, you’ve wasted 2.1 bazillion dollars.
Because nobody aside from your hardcore fans will love it, or even see the thing. Risk nothing, gain nothing.
You can see this mistake happen again and again by big-name stars who forget how they got there by being scrappy, edgy and different, with songs that actually tell stories and/or try to say something. They start making songs, music videos and entire albums about the most interesting subject in the world: themselves. (See West, Kanye and Swift, Taylor.)
Which brings us to Post Malone and PSYCHO, which isn’t perfect—but at least it’s different.
Though I’m a huge fan of Mad Max movies, zombie movies and dystopian fun in general, there’s no real connection between the lyrics of the song and this imagery. And those lyrics are fine. They’re not hard to decipher, or worth interpreting and dissecting like the only good song Vanilla Ice ever did (ICE, ICE, BABY) or the first music video I can remember, back when MTV actually played music videos (ELECTRIC AVENUE by Eddie Grant). This is simply a good song.
As for the video, I have no idea who the little girl is, why Post Malone is looking for her or why the animatronic wolves are just hanging around instead of munching on every human they see. Maybe they spent the budget renting tanks and didn’t have enough left to get the mutant wolves to move around.
Saying this video looks good but doesn’t make a lot of sense, sound on or off, is a valid critique.
HOWEVER: None of that matters.
Not one bit.
First, because the song is so freaking good. Seriously. Post Malone is always a good listen, on this track and his other work. Just solid.
Second, the fact that the imagery doesn’t fit the lyrics doesn’t affect your enjoyment. Sure, this thing isn’t It’s not meaningful, deep or transcendent. This video won’t become a cult classic. And you don’t care, because PSYCHO is interesting and well-shot. It’s the music video equivalent of a summer B movie: not gonna win any awards, but you’ve got a bag of $11 popcorn, the bass is loud and you’re gonna have a good time.
VERDICT: Post Malone is clearly talented, and he used a good director and film crew to make this. I’d love to see what he could do if he put all the pieces together and told a real story that matched his words.
If you like music — and who doesn’t? — you have to love music videos.
Last time, I took apart ELECTRIC AVENUE, one of the first music vids ever, and interesting stuff. Click here with your mousity mouse to read that post, watch the video and see the lyrics get all deconstructed.
You’d think there’d be a market for music videos, some kind of channel on the Glowing Tube where you played music vids — which the artists produce and hand to you, for free, just to get the publicity — while you charge GEICO and Miller Lite many, many dollars to run ads in between Lady Gaga freakouts and AC/DC classics.
I mean, the Glowing Tube only has 45,982 cable channels right now. There’s a market for this stuff, right? The last thing we need is more reality shows.
HOWEVER: let’s get on with dissecting ICE, ICE BABY by Vanilla Ice.
Here’s the video. Watch it.
He can dance, can’t he?
Now, let’s find our red pen and interpret the lyrics.
ICE, ICE BABY
Yo, VIP, let’s kick it!
(Hello, my listeners of high status. Should we start?)
Ice ice baby, ice ice baby
(The first part of my nickname is relevant, sweet-hearted stranger. My real name is not necessary information, although repetition may boost both my name recognition and my record sales.)
All right stop, collaborate and listen
(Halt whatever you’re doing and do your job, which is paying attention to me.)
Ice is back with my brand new invention
(I don’t want you to think that I’m a one-hit wonder. Think this song is good? I have many, many other creative rhymes and melodies that spring forth from my brain all the time.)
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
(When I get inspired by an idea, it consumes me.)
Then I flow that a harpoon daily and nightly
(After an idea for lyrics come to me, I practice 25 hours a day, just like Ahab and the whale or whatever.)
Will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know
(Will I ever cease to be a creative and successful rapper, with loads of cash and girlfriends, and instead retire from the spotlight to Florida, where I remodel McMansions in hopes of turning a quick profit? That hypothetical situation is too ridiculous to even consider.)
Turn off the lights and I’ll glow
(I’m such a star, I create my own light)
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
(My singing and rhymes are so out of the ordinary, you should compare me to the barbarians who sacked Rome)
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle
(I can bring excitement to a stage while beating up other men who don’t have my talents, although this may be a metaphor, or a simile, or some other literary term that I can’t be bothered to pinpoint)
Dance, bum rush the speaker that booms
(My fans should gyrate with excitement and gather around the large black boxes that amplify my rhymes and backup band)
I’m killin’ your brain like a poisonous mushroom
(Though my songs are not literally poisonous, they do possess powerful addictive and paralyzing properties)
Deadly, when I play a dope melody, anything less that the best is a felony
(Like I said, potentially fatal poisonous mushrooms that should send me to prison)
Love it or leave it, you better gain way
(It’s advisable to retreat from my path, because I am so talented, tough and unstoppable)
You better hit bull’s eye, the kid don’t play
(If you try to stop me, it should be a fatal blow or shot, because my tolerance for non-fatal blows and bullets is quite low)
If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it
(Nothing is beyond my grasp)
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it
(This is a recurrent portion of my song that I stole from rock stars in the 1970s, and I want you to pay attention to how I’ve incorporated it into my rhymes)