Once again, Idolator intern Kate Richardson scours the video sites, looking for the best fan-made music videos. In this installment, she looks at videos that pair Dexter‘s titular serial killer with bright, sparkling pop.
Showtime’s Dexter is kind of like the anti-Lost. The cast is fairly modest, there are usually no more than about two and a half plot lines running at one time, and the entire reality of the story universe is rarely, if ever, brought into question. The writing is refined and relatively restrained, though not afraid to veer off into high drama when necessary. So I’m unsure of whether it should be surprising or entirely expected that it’s so wildly popular on YouTube. Lost is, of course, the reigning heavyweight champion of tributes, but Dexter‘s showing is not shabby in the least, especially for a show on a second-tier premium channel about a morally ambiguous serial killer played by Michael C. Hall–who is, I admit way hotter than he was on Six Feet Under, though still not exactly a Matthew Fox-league heartthrob. It’s damn peculiar, but as we should all know by now, the YouTube tribute community is a vast, gaping chasm of infinite, indecipherable perplexities, the least of which being these light-hearted Dexter videos set to monumentally innocuous pop rock.
Spoiler alert: Lots of spoiler clips, just in case anyone is currently watching the series on DVD or is planning to watch it in the future.
Song: “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects
Concept: Dexter as inspirational emo hero. Who kills people.
This one starts off strong with a really nice grasp on the sound/image relationship, but quickly devolves into the poorly edited clip reel it was destined to be. This video, like the vast majority of tributes on YouTube, largely fails to surrender itself to the song. There’s way too little thought about how the clips fit rhythmically and content-wise with the music, and it’s always a real shame to witness. The razzle-dazzle usually comes from the fact that you’re watching clips from something like Dexter–what with the duct tape, and the throat slitting–set to music from bands like The All-American Rejects–what with the silly teen melodrama aesthetic. And that’s all fine and good, but eventually either the combinations will have to get even weirder, or people will actually have to figure out a way to put something decent together using Windows Media Maker.
Best music-to-image sync-up moment: The first forty-five seconds. The surreal slow-motion sequence from last season’s finale, ripply underwater images, and credit clips work remarkably well with the hooky opening guitar/bass riff and drum-heavy first verse of the song. If only the rest of the video was as compelling.
Silliest music-to-image sync-up moment: “Silly” this week means inappropriate, and that would be 2:38, at which point a close-up of a person being bled dry from the throat is set to the lyric “Even when your hope is gone/Move along, move along just to make it through.” I don’t know if the apparent lack of conscious irony makes it better or worse.
Song: “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve
Concept: Dexter as made-for-music-video TV show.
There were many, many Dexter tributes to choose from, but I picked this one for two reasons: 1) It is the exact opposite of “Move Along” video, and 2) I find “Bittersweet Symphony” oddly similar to “Iris” in its unyielding ubiquity. But this video is probably the closest thing to an actual music video I’ve seen in all my months of writing this feature. While most tributes suffer from lackadaisical editing, this one is almost too eager in its pacing and rhythm, making it a little frenetic, but fun to watch, at least. The song is, again, irritatingly worn out, and yet entirely appropriate for Dexter, a very, yes, bittersweet character. Furthermore, the clips and images are sharp and visually congruous with the tone of the song. Come to think of it, perhaps too many things have gone right in this video to qualify it for Objects of Affection. Next week I’ll return to the 100% train wreck 100% of the time format.
Best music-to-image sync-up moment: It’s all pretty good, but I especially like everything between :40 and 1:04. Lots of clips with interesting camera work, and even a little bit of slow-mo.
Silliest music-to-image sync-up moment: None.
Verdict: With superior editing and a strong music video sensibility, the “Bittersweet Symphony” video slices through the competition to win this week’s match-up.
Bonus: A generous tipster sent several videos to me last week, one of which–a Fern Gully tribute, of all things–caught my attention with its use of Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance.”
You should absolutely watch this as soon as possible, if only so that you can say you ventured into the weirdest corner of YouTube and came out alive.
This in turn inspired me to search for McKennitt’s rendition of “The Highwayman”–a favorite around the Richardson household years ago. YouTube of course did not disappoint:
Gerard Butler. Juliette Binoche. Slide show.
I sent this video to my mom, and this is what she said: “I found it appealing in kind of a pathetic low tech way (a slide show???).”