Hayden “Hollywood Ending”

Yael Staav
Add Date:
June 3, 2004


Greetings! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from Hip Video Promo, dialing in to your programming world with another strange and fascinating clip from a criminally overlooked indie performer. Today’s video is from Hayden, and we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s at once visually arresting, immediate, familiar, and thought-provoking.

Canadian songsmith Hayden Desser has become rightly famous for his somber, moving, elliptical ballads. Skyscraper National Park(Badman), his 2001 endeavor, grew from a small circulation home-release to an international indie phenomenon by word of mouth and popular demand. Singing in a quavering voice reminiscent of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young, Hayden spun out quiet meditations on life and love; often glum, occasionally wry, invariably inspiring.

Elk-Lake Serenade finds Hayden in an improved temper – at times, these twisted and fragmentary campfire songs are almost pugnacious in their subtle humor. “Killbear”, for instance, puts a deep-woods gloss on the typical “your new boyfriend’s no good” scenario: here, an ex-girlfriend is mauled by a grizzly when her new love doesn’t know how to handle the situation. “My Wife” defends the choice of domesticity over a touring life by lampooning an old rival on an overnight stay. As always, Hayden sings these stories with great reflective nuance, weighing every word – his performances are steeped in the wisdom of lived experience and the expansive energy of an unimprisonable imagination.

Best of all is “Hollywood Ending”, the first single from Elk-Lake Serenade and a fevered hallucination: a brief but indelible conflation of celebrity, fantasy, voyeurism, guilt and violence. In the song’s narrative, a famous actress asks Hayden to kill her husband. We’re not told if he follows through on the murderous request, but we know he feels the press of his own culpability – when he sees police officers on his lawn, he rushes to confess. But the joke’s on him: the policemen there are part of a film set, there to protect the “Hollywood ending” of the title. Has Hayden been implicated in his own fantasy? Where is the line between imagined crime and actual evens drawn? How seductive is the pull of the Hollywood scenario — enough to tear through the fabric of ordinary life and cause an otherwise innocent man to crave guilt? The internal drama plays out over an infectious Tom Petty acoustic ‘n’ drum groove, joined halfway through the track by a riotous jazz trumpet ripped from a New Orleans funeral march.

The clip for “Hollywood Ending” perfectly complements the song’s blend of humor, morbidity, and menace. Hayden addresses the camera before panoramic hand-drawn backdrops: a campsite, a mountain, big city lights. The fourth wall breaks long enough for the singer to accept a latte from an unseen director; he drinks it with a kind of knowing, barely-concealed. Behind him, a bevy of bleached blondes with backpacks and bright red lipstick drift in and out of focus as they gyrate to the music. He doesn’t interact with them; they dance choreographed routines of playful but exaggerated sexuality, just beyond his reach. We’re invited to respond to the come-ons – it’s great eye candy! — yet we’re also encouraged to see them for what they are. Our access to the women is mediated by the screen and they become projections, fantasies, caricatures channeling real emotions into artificial settings.

Major thanks are due to Dylan Magierek and the whole wonderful crew at Badman Recording Co. for giving us the opportunity to share this memorable video with you. Hayden is going to be one very busy northern neighbor as he transverses the North American continent in support of Elk-Lake Serenade, but certainly not too busy to make himself available to you for video interviews and video IDs. He is coming to America later this year so get in touch if you want to get in on the Hayden experience. You can visit Hayden on the web by checking out San Francisco based Badman’s website atwww.badmanrecordingco.com. Here at HIP Video Promo, we’ll be ready to meet any Hayden or Badman needs that may arise. If you need more info call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779, or email info@HIPVideoPromo.com.

Visit Badman Recording Co.
Visit Badman Recording Co.


For info on Hayden’s previous video “Dynamite Walls” click HERE