THE VANITY PROJECT
July 26, 2005
A big hello to my music loving friends from coast to coast! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, here to bring you another terrific clip from an adventurous musical artist, The Vanity Project (featuring Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies). The Barenaked Ladies are a band that needs no introduction: their best-known and best-loved songs are as ubiquitous as they are joyous. “If I Had $1,000,000”, “One Week”, “Alternative Girlfriend” – these are songs that have added phrases to the international pop lexicon and set the world singing. Frontman Steven Page has demonstrated that he can write with great literary irony and sophistication without sacrificing whimsy or the common touch. Millions of fans around the world have been excited, amused, and touched by his wildly entertaining pop songs.
But there’s a darker side to Page – a bittersweet melancholia that is present in almost all of his writing, but which is often occluded by jokes and levity. Everything To Everyone, the most recent Barenaked Ladies album, found the Canadian quintet performing with a remarkable sobriety, and at times the expressive and optimistic singer-guitarist sounded downright troubled. Page has intermittently written with Stephen Duffy, and when he’s been paired with the oft-somber Lilac Time frontman, he’s usually chosen to foreground his more reflective side. The two have cheekily named their first full-length collaboration The Vanity Project, but this album is direct, heartfelt, pained, and defiantly sincere.
“Wilted Rose”, the lead single, is, like many of the songs on The Vanity Project, a rich and beautifully-rendered piece of pastoral folk-rock. As you’d expect from a craftsman of world-famous melodies, “Wilted Rose” is immediately recognizable, and is as indelible as the best work by Barenaked Ladies. No gags here, though: instead, Page sings from his deep disappointment with the direction of his nation. His full, mellifluous baritone is perfectly calibrated for melancholy country music: he articulates betrayal and dismay without a trace of bitterness or resignation. Ontario’s arch jester has convincingly become the voice of Canadian conscience.
Here at HIP Video Promo we are always thrilled to promote a new clip by Plates Animation (The Shins “So Says I”, The High Dials “Fields In Glass”) – their record for beautiful, thoughtful, imaginative clips is second to no other production company. Those who caught their magnificent animated video for “Neighborhood #3: Power Out” by Arcade Fire (more fellow Canadians) will likely never forget it – their vision of a spectral, threatening urban space powered by arcane forces was at once frightening and exhilarating.
The clip for “Wilted Rose” shares much of its disturbing imagery. Here, however, the protagonists are animals trapped on a factory farm. The skyscrapers of the metropolis loom over the barbed wire fences and conveyor belts, and the anthropomorphized chickens, pigs, and cows stare out between the chain links, dreaming of life in the country. Threatened with forced labor and mechanized death, the animals hatch an escape plan: assault and overcome the bullish supervisor of the farm, and march out into the world. Yet even after their objective is accomplished, there’s no relief for the characters – “freed” in an urban world that sees them only as dinner, they opt to retreat to the grim safety of their pens. Thus, the video is a perfect dramatization of the disappointment and bewilderment of “Wilted Rose” – an articulation of unrealized dreams of escape, and the futility of resistance. It’s dispiriting, to be sure: but we doubt you’ll see a more moving video this year.
It’s a great thrill to be working with the outstanding Flagship Recordings crew, and their captain, Marc Nathan, to bring you this superbly well crafted video. Steven Page will be supporting The Vanity Project with a brief tour of radio, and retail accounts in late July through early August. If they are coming to your market, we’ll be happy to hook you up with an interview or a video ID. We also have a supply of The Vanity Project CDs for on-air giveaways. If you need more info call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779, or email info@HIPVideoPromo.com. You can also visit www.flagshiprecordings.com to find out more about The Vanity Project.
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