Presenting: HIP’s Year In Review for 2010

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No one feels the need to question what was so special about 2010. In the same year when Taylor Swift won four Grammy awards and smartphone users became obsessed with the newly launched Instagram and Angry Birds apps, HIP Video Promo fought the good fight on behalf of these phenomenal artists’ music videos.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – “I Learned The Hard Way” – 577,446 views – “Experience is a hard teacher; she gives the test first, the lessons afterwards.” These words of Vernon Law apply in Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings’ retelling of her relationship that did not pan out, finding out that her ex-lover was deceiving her right before her eyes, but she wasn’t catching it. Once she puts the pieces together, she discovers how untrue their love was all along. The video opens with Jones being gaslit into thinking she’s crazy, trying to find her partner when she hears he won’t let her through the building’s threshold. The man guarding the door is hush-hush about why she can’t just go walking in – and isn’t the fact that he needs someone keeping watch already suspicious? The cheater is eventually caught flirting with someone else, and the band members perform “I Learned The Hard Way” in the same bar where he’s found guilty. From start to finish, their storytelling and performance go hand in hand. 

Goldfrapp – “Alive” – 29,052 views – Up on her pedestal, Goldfrapp is the main focus of the “Alive” music video as she sings the song. Beneath her on the ground level are mysterious men in black cloaks, soon accompanied by women with big hair and bright-colored spandex. A dance break ensues until closer to the end, when it’s revealed that all the ladies are vampires. They start biting the men, but instead of blood, glittery fluids drip from their mouths as their monstrous sides come out. Goldfrapp continues to sing about “coming alive again” while all this goes down, but it makes sense when it’s finally revealed that she’s the leader of the vampire tribe and is in control of the events that went down. Even her casket is outlined in pink neon lights, fitting with the ’80s vibes this song and visual protrude.

Spoon – “Written in Reverse” – 122,001 views – Testing. Testing. The first 45 seconds of the clip show the members of Spoon getting their musical equipment ready to go. Listeners and viewers see and hear them tuning the guitar, warming up with the “Written in Reverse” piano riff, banging the crash cymbal on the drum set, and attaching a pop screen to frontman Britt Daniel’s microphone. As the song begins, the dissonance in the piano chords and the deliberate clash between the piano and drums bring slight strangeness to “Written in Reverse.” Daniel’s rasp and passion in his lyrical delivery animate the track, and unlike “The Underdog” as covered in HIP Year in Review 2007, the focus is completely on Spoon. Beyond the band members playing are the reflections of themselves – or perhaps it’s the other way around, and we are just disoriented by their indie rock presentation on the studio stage and its mirror images. Black-and-white shots add to the appealing aesthetic, as their in-the-moment live recording is captured with strategic angles and filters for us to watch over and over as we please. 

RX Bandits – “Hope Is A Butterfly, No Net Its Captor” – 279,560 views – A wise and creative group of thieves dressed up with decorated paper bag masks and corporate suit and ties once said, “Do what you love ’cause in the end we only die, and though the body may be imprisoned, oh, I know nothing can stop the bird of hope from taking flight.” RX Bandits convey this meaningful, inspiring, and poetic message and go on quite the exhilarating adventure in “Hope Is A Butterfly, No Net Its Captor.” The complex instrumental fluctuates between groovy lines that make you rock back and forth to the hard-hitting, defined downbeats to racing drums and shredding guitar lines that make you want to dance aggressively to the tempo kicked into high gear. The video itself is just as exciting, and there are more thrills from where “Hope Is A Butterfly, No Net Its Captor” came from on its respective album, Mandala

Johnny Cash – “Ain’t No Grave” 9,851,491 views – Oh, Johnny Cash. There is no shortage of positive reminiscing about him. As credited in HIP Year in Review 2003, his decision to put his trust in HIP for “Hurt” was a pivotal moment in the early days of our company. Fast forward to 2010, the “Ain’t No Grave” music video was part of The Johnny Cash Project, paying homage to the late musician. The song was released as the title track of the final posthumous album from Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave. The video tributes him beautifully, with its collection of clips that exhibit his musical passions and the overall essence of who he was. As he sings, “There ain’t no grave can hold my body down,” audiences can also see the truth in his words as his legacy continues living on all the years after his death. The album made it into the top 10 in the U.S., peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums. Even today, the world has not finished saying goodbye to Cash and his everlasting music. 

Five Finger Death Punch – “Bad Company” – 158,722,167 views – Our partnership with Five Finger Death Punch dates back to “The Bleeding” in 2007. “Bad Company” was the fourth of the six Five Finger Death Punch music videos we had the pleasure of promoting, and this one is a cover of the self-titled song from Bad Company in 1974. Both have that bluesy, minor-key sound to them, but Five Finger Death Punch performs it in a new key and with a heavier metal sound than the original could have ever imagined. They add their own style and oomph to the track that takes over as soon as the first round of the chorus and onward. The visual is pulled straight from their Iraq tour in 2010 and shows the band performing for and hanging out with soldiers there. It also previews a little slice of life for what some of the troops’ days look like and the mindset they have to do it. Their powerful rendition is guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush through and through. 

Yeasayer – “Madder Red” – 71,409 views – The overarching theme displayed audibly and visually here is guilt. “Madder Red” encapsulates the internal feeling of someone knowing they are not standing by who they should be when that somebody truly needs them, but the person goes about life according to plan despite the tugging for them to stay regardless. It is a sad reality that often, with so many important things in the mix in our daily lives, we lose sight of the things that are of the utmost importance in the grand scheme of it. However, sometimes, it is also unavoidable, and life just needs to go on to the best ability possible because there is no pause in the world’s orbit for anyone or anything. This is the struggle faced by lead actress Kristen Bell in the Yeasayer music video for “Madder Red.” She spends the morning caring for her ill pet (a species still unidentified) but then goes off to an audition. Someone comes to stay with her pet and care for it in her absence, but when the animal takes a turn for the worse, it is at that point she drops everything to be there with it. Bell rushes to get medical help, but it is too late, and the feeling of not being there for her pet in its last suffering moments causes her great pain. It is a universal feeling for anyone who has watched a loved one deteriorate and grappled with a loss that never leaves your mind, heart, and soul. The story pulls at your heartstrings, so you might want to grab some tissues before pressing play. 

Good Old War – “That’s Some Dream” – 402,967 views – There is no shortage of creativity from Good Old War. The creative process for naming the band proves it enough. Each word is pulled from a section of the talented bandmates’ names: Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold, and Dan Schwartz. That knack for making greatness out of little details is what fans admire about Good Old War, and they do it again with “That’s Some Dream.” The whole single plays out like an encouraging and consoling chant about everything being okay – a reminder that there’s nothing for us to fear and worry about. The harmonies are enough to give you that comfort and reassurance, and the music video showcases this with the happy-go-lucky shots of Good Old War performing and going about their life of music, travel, and occasional free time. It is not until the final lyric that the band gets real to say that everything always being alright is only for our dreams. It is nice to think that way, but we all have moments where it simply is not ideal, yet even that sometimes is okay. They make you think by adding “That’s Some Dream” right to the end of the otherwise upbeat, joyful song.

Sarah Jaffe – “Clementine” – 64,022 views – Singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe’s career skyrocketed with the release of her debut album, Suburban Nature. Considering “Clementine” is such a fan-favorite from Suburban Nature, it is unbelievable to think that Jaffe almost cut it out of the set. In an interview with the St. Louis Magazine, she reveals that the song had no meaning to her when she wrote it, but her mom loved it so much that she opted to let it stay where it was. About a year later, she began making sense of what the lyrics meant. It was near instantaneous for listeners to feel the connection with her words and soulful acoustic guitar strumming. She sings about looking back on her youth and some of her mistakes, saying she is different now but still wishes certain things were different for her. Her timidness in the first run-through of the lyrics is turned into a more potent run-through the second go around. Her yellow outfit and the cinematic effects with light and shadows help to illustrate Jaffe’s back and forth with who she is, who she wants to be, and her state in the past and present. However, with the abstractness of the song and visual, like any wonderful work of art, it’s open to other interpretations and is situational to the person seeing and hearing it. 

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” – 323,767 views – Right from the beginning of “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass,” the music video addresses the band name. Regular !!! followers know that the band name is pronounced “Chk Chk Chk,” not “Exclamation Point, Exclamation Point, Exclamation Point,” yet they probably have had or heard the conversation much like the one included multiple instances before when discussing !!!’s intoxicatingly catchy indie productions too. Those staple musical characteristics radiate from this single as well. The only way to describe the instrumental is that it has an unrefined groove. The lyrics are loaded with sexual innuendos that are difficult to ignore, and they’re brought into the video with flower-related imagery. It seems !!! had a blast making the video, with all these nuances and transitions between the different scenes through the paper banners ran through to chase after Jamie. That’s about all that can be said without giving too much of a good thing away, but once you watch !!! ‘s “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” once, you never regret or forget it. 

of Montreal – “Coquet, Coquette” – 483,492 views –  If you’ve kept up with HIP Year in Review thus far, you might recall our first of Montreal promotion from 2005. Five years later, we were right alongside them for “Coquet, Coquette,” the eighth of 14 videos of Montreal delivered to HIP to date. The song covers frontman Kevin Barnes’ longing for a flirtatious woman, but he is spending the song pleading that her coquetry does not lead to her being with anyone other than him. The video could easily pass as a battle scene in a movie. On the beach, the people fight and fight, and some defined, occult characters in the mix come into play. Not many remain by the end. What is constantly sustained is of Montreal’s funky pop sound. This holds true in 2022, with of Montreal’s latest album, Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck

Brooke Fraser – “Something In The Water” – 5,300,413 views – Last but not least, Brooke Fraser’s “Something In The Water” is a hopelessly romantic single in which she gushes about being crazy in love with that special someone. The visual is simple but does exactly what it sets out to do. In the different clips, Fraser experiences a series of outfit and setting changes, singing and performing to the camera with her usual charm. It has an old-timey aesthetic that suits Fraser incredibly well. There’s also an animated cartoon showing a character traveling through the rain and across the sea, along with other subtle nods, like water-filled tea cups. In 2011, Fraser received the New Zealand Music Awards’ People’s Choice. That same year, “Something In The Water” won their Single of the Year, and its respective album, Flags, won an award for Best Pop Album. This just shows the impression that Fraser’s 2010 project had on audiences everywhere, as did many of the other works on this 2010 HIP Year in Review.

Written by HIP Marketing Coordinator Julia Block.