Saturday, August 20, 2005

Music Video Review: "My Doorbell" by The White Stripes

"My Doorbell," the brand new video from The White Stripes, premiered on Friday on The N, just before the channel's reality series Girls v. Boys: Puerto Rico. Directed by The Malloys, this video proves that The White Stripes are, indeed, for the children.

The 1930's style black-and-white clip begins with two children introducing The White Stripes. Then, as the song begins, hordes of children are seen running into a theatre. The curtain opens in the theatre and we see Jack on a piano and Meg on drums. They perform the song for the children who look amused and wide-eyed most of the time. As the song goes on, the kids start to really get into the performance. Two kids go onstage and start playing a bass. One boy even starts tap dancing near the stage. When the song ends, the kids applaud. Jack pulls Meg along as the two of them run out of the theatre (with kids running behind them) and climb into a waiting car. The kids are still trying to get to them when the video ends.

Out of all the ways "My Doorbell" could have been interpreted as a video, I certainly didn't expect this. On one hand, this video could be seen as a hilariously twisted take on children's artists such as The Wiggles. The White Stripes would definitely be on my list on the artists I'd least expect to perform for a crowd of children. Plus, "My Doorbell" is one of those songs that someone could view as innocuous or sinister. What exactly does Jack mean when he says "doorbell" anyway?

At the same time, there is an interesting, darker level to this video. Since this video takes place in the past, I'm reminded of how rock music (and other forms of popular music) was once considered to be subversive and downright harmful to children. Let's also remember that kids seem to always be drawn to stuff that isn't appropriate for them and especially stuff their parents don't approve of. Since there are no other adults apart from Jack and Meg, this could mean that those kids are seeing The White Stripes precisely because they aren't supposed to be seeing them. What's funny is that in this video, The White Stripes don't seem particularly fond of children. The look on Meg and Jack's faces seems to indicate that they are glad the performance is over. The very last image in the video is Jack actually rolling his car window up on the arm of a kid trying to get to him. I guess their situation is like that of Willy Wonka. Kids are drawn to them because of what they do and even though they can't stand the kiddies, they need them in order to make a living.

After all those "deep" thoughts about this video, I'm really just happy that one of my favorite songs from Get Behind Me Satan has a video. The video has a simple, interesting concept and one that is up for interpretation. It wasn't what I was expecting but in a way, it works. After all, when you listen to music as good as The White Stripes' is, don't you feel like a kid again?

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