“BLINDED BY THE LIGHTS”
November 24, 2004
A big hello to all of my music video programming pals. It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo with a true eye-opener of a video, coming to you via our friends at VICE Recordings. It’s been our great pleasure to have worked with The Streets on the video promotion campaigns for “Fit But You Know It” and “Dry Your Eyes”. We trust we’ve exposed Britain’s most remarkable and literate young writer to many American viewers. Today, we’re pleased to extend that effort by bringing you the clip for “Blinded By The Lights” – the third single from A Grand Don’t Come For Free, and an early, pivotal component of that album’s story.
If you haven’t heard it yet, Grand is one of the most structurally coherent albums in pop music history. It’s got a straightforward narrative thread, developed subplots, recurring characters, sophisticated themes, and a twist ending worthy of a Victorian ironist. Remarkably, though, it doesn’t play like a novel – or even a musical. There’s nothing schticky about Mike Skinner’s stories – they are straight-from-the-heart, frequently hilarious, and always moving first-person accounts of everyday life in working-class Britain.
“Blinded By The Lights” is the fourth track on A Grand Don’t Come For Free. By this point, we’ve already been introduced to some of the characters who stalk these scenarios: Mike, the everyman narrator, Simone, his volatile girlfriend, and Dan, her co-worker and his underhanded roommate. The action unfolds in a dance club, where Mike is awaiting the arrival of Simone and Dan; they are late getting there, and he is getting increasingly irritated. The lights flashing in his eyes and the swirl of music reinforce his feeling of being alone and abandoned in a crowd. Disoriented and frustrated, he turns to intoxicants. By the time his friend and girlfriend do show, he’s so drunk and high that when he “swears Simone is kissing Dan”, we don’t know whether to believe him or if his own paranoia is conjuring hallucinations. It’s a brilliant use of the “unreliable narrator” device that they teach young writers about in English class, and it foreshadows many of the events that unfold during the second half of the album.
The clip for “Blinded By The Lights” is not as ambiguous: it’s a boozed-out, intoxicant-fueled story of betrayal, backstabbing, and violence, and it makes no bones about Simone’s duplicity. The obvious choice would have been to film it in a trendy dance club – but thankfully, The Streets never make the obvious choice. Brilliantly, Skinner and director Adam Smith have shot this clip at a bright, fluorescently-lit working-class wedding hall. The decision allows the pair to draw connections between marriage rituals and club culture, and to turn the camera upon the anger, bitterness and frustration always lurking in the shadows of wedding receptions.
Skinner himself is terrific as always – whether he’s wandering around in a booze-addled blur, engaging in nefarious activity in a bathroom stall, or getting beaten to a pulp on the dance floor, he inhabits his character fully. He embodies his narrators so utterly that there is great transparency to his performances – they always feel like verité, and as if a bystander just happened to be filming Skinner as he travels about his sordid world. It’s a trick of formal realism, sure, but it’s one that’s very much in keeping with The Streets’ project. We’re just privileged to be along for the ride, and we can’t wait to see what Skinner does next.
In the meantime though, HIP and VICE are teaming up for the incredible “Blinded By The Lights” contest where you and your viewers can win Intium sunglasses! These ultra cool glasses are the choice of rock musicians and hipsters worldwide, and all you need to do is “dare to air” this brilliant clip. Every programmer that adds the “Blinded By The Lights” video in the month of November will enter a drawing to win a pair of thes ultra cool shades. We truly appreciate all your support so far in 2004 for The Streets, so if you need anything Streets related, we will be here for you. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at (732) 613-1779, or email [email protected] You can also visit , or The Streets’ official site to find out more about The Streets