Daily Archives: August 24, 2012

Thoughts on “Everybody Hurts” Song and Video

You know it’s funny, but since listening to David’s version of “Everybody Hurts,” I have had no desire to go back to the original R.E.M. version.

Nothing like a music video to make you check the original!

Sigh.  Unfortunately, I wish I could say the same about David’s video for the song.  As much as I appreciate the sentiment behind the new video, I can’t get past the sentimentality of it.

See, this is where I think we often get disconnected when hearing David the Ballad Boy and interpreting the “ballad boy.”

The original “Everybody Hurts” was a video created back in the heyday of music videos – when every video had a dramatic arc and strove to be unique and creative.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: David needs to get more creative when it comes to his videos!

Curiously, this was the week that some of us celebrated the anniversary of his first video for “Crush.” I love that video; it’s still my favorite of all David’s music videos.  It was a cute song with some gravity behind it, and the video fit like a glove in hand.

But what is it about the video behind “Everybody Hurts” that distracts me from contemplating the cry in David’s Voice? Could it be the very “Hallmark Card” gimmicky approach to the sentiment behind “Everybody Hurts?”

What starts with what seems to be a father grieving his little girl turns out to be a dad getting sentimental over his daughter on her wedding day.  How is that “hurt”? That’s just lump-in-your-throat stuff. Hardly the gravity of “loss” that I was anticipating.

The same with the young couple in the video: there is no “heartbreak,” just a couple getting ready to separate as one moves away (perhaps to college?).  The real “everybody hurts” will start when one of them calls off the relationship.

Of the different scenarios, the soldier mom had the most compelling story, but even then, she makes it back to her family. There is no momentary loss, as in being told she’s M.I.A.  only to later show up alive (that would have been a much better story IMO).

I mean, don’t get me wrong: I still like the video, and I’m hungry (yes, HUNGRY for more of the Voice and more of his image, which this video thankfully delivered).

But here’s the thing. I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when David sings, I don’t hear “Hallmark Card” sentimentality. Really, I don’t.

I hear a guy who’s at the precipice of despair who needs to be called back to the land of the living.

I hear loneliness, hurt, melancholy, all the things that were cleverly conveyed in the R.E.M. video: a collective wave of despondency in the most mundane of places: a traffic jam on a highway.

I guess that’s the kind of video I expect from a guy who can sing a verse like “when you think you’ve had toooooo muuuuuuuch of this l-i-i-i-i-i-fe” and make you bawl like a baby.

So, I excuse David and his team for not having enough time to get creative and original in the video concept, but I do hope he makes more of an effort when he returns.  A music video is designed to sell a song, and if the Voice does that much better than a video storyline, then maybe the video should just stick to the Voice (which is what I wanted more of in the video anyway) and call it a day.