Moderately successful local indie-punk band releases topical song; gets some airplay. Moderately successful (Canberra) indie-punk band (containing a former reporter for Triple J’s current affairs program Hack, and a current ABC TV cameraman based at Parliament House) releases topical song (and then gets a bunch of Australia’s federal politicians and journalists to cameo in the video clip); viral sensation.
Canberra outfit Super Best Friends released their latest single ‘Round and Round’ yesterday, and I’m obsessed. The song is a catchy, Regurgitator-esque tune, short and brash and biting. The clip is built on a simple premise – a lib-dub version of the song, with footage of the Parliament House media scrum interspersed with politicians, journalists, and cameramen alike miming the lyrics of the track. But oh, it is so much more.
Nick Xenaphon opens the video. Standing on his desk, clutching a bass guitar, he looks like the reluctant participant in a Rose Tattoo tribute band, hastily formed by three guys from Accounting at the tail end of the office Xmas shindig. Anthony Albanese, clad in Rabbitohs scarf, zooms a QANTAS replica airplane around his head, giving the viewer an adorable vision of Albo the toddler. Embracing his inner thespian, Barnaby Joyce gives an exasperated reading of the song’s title lyrics, in a performance worthy of a HSC Drama presentation.
The two youngest politicians to appear in the clip – the Liberal Party’s Wyatt Roy, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young – are by far the most awkward participants of the clip. Hanson-Young defaults to the head-shaking, hair-flicking dance moves common amongst the Rhythmless White Female, while her baby-faced colleague Roy’s single contribution to the clip is spinning around (somewhat delightedly) in his fancy office swivel chair. As ever, he looks for all the world to be the school Prefect, trying in vain to convince his peers that adherence to the uniform policy is both ‘cool’ and ‘hip.’
Taking a perhaps too-literal interpretation of the lyrical content, Tony Abbott includes his beloved bicycle in his video spot. As the bike’s wheels spin, Abbott’s eyes convey a frightening vision of the existential terror that awaits us all should we dare venture into the political realm. Also, the existential angst that comes from being a giant twathead.
Of all the journalists present in the video, it is Chris Uhlmann who steals the show, giving a standout performance of “Frustrated Newsreader #3.” I only hope that Big Bear Mark Scott didn’t get too grumpy at the wanton throwing of papers in the studio. Kevin Rudd’s performance, meanwhile, was a particular low point. Filmed while was still a scheming, smug backbencher (as opposed to our scheming, smug PM), Rudd’s robotic hand-dancing provides an unconscious – and uncomfortable – reminder of his recent, unwieldy election debate exertions. As Rudd finished what can only be described as the Worst Dad Dancing Ever (Seated Edition), Clive Palmer appears and (fake) punches the camera. Cheers, you crazy bastard.
Speaking of crazy bastards, Bob Katter appears twice in the video: once to glower at down the lens at the watching ‘youth,’ and then to lasso an imaginary homosexual in his office while wearing – apropos of nothing (or, perhaps, of fading relevancy) – aviator shades and customary maniacal grin. He succeeds only in lassoing his own head. Mental health assessment to aisle four, please.
(Christine Milne appears between Katter’s two on-camera spots, smiling serenely and playing with a replica wind turbine. Her Mum and Albo’s Mum should really organise a play-date for those two.)
Rob Oakeshott is, as ever, an absolute delight, shown both ironing his underwear and aggressively shouting at a t-shirt. I’m gonna miss that guy. Also enchanting is Ed Husic, who contributes to the clip by spinning a basketball in his jersey-adorned office. (I genuinely want Husic to star in a 1990s teen culture film, in which he mentors a rough-and-tumble group of inner city youth to win the local basketball championship, and then goes on to be the benevolent mayor of the district. He’d face resistance, but Husic would clean up that city faster than the nuns in Sister Act. It’d be a heart-warming tale of friendship and redemption and electoral vote margins. Somebody get Spielberg on the phone, stat.)
Twenty-four hours after it was uploaded, the video for ‘Round and Round’ has garnered just under 80,000 hits on YouTube. It’s been played on the morning shows, written up on online music sites, and become – for a fleeting moment – ABC News24’s obsession. The band trended on Twitter, and the song got primetime airplay on Triple J. Reactions ranged from “fuckin’ awesome, only in Oz” (YouTube) to “get back to running the country” (news.com.au) to “I must watch this eighty-three thousand times and then blog about it” (me).
This is what we get this election – this video clip, a new season of Gruen, and the vague realisation that we’re all doomed. On the balance of things, I’m ok with all of that. (I grew up under Howard; the vague realisation that we’re all doomed is my default emotional response to life in general.)
*hits play button once more*
Super Best Friends, ‘Round and Round’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H7BTKTOwLE#at=120
Interview with Matthew Roberts (bass player, Super Best Friends) on ABC News Breakfast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0XpRMr2kes&feature=youtu.be
Interview with Roberts on The Vine: http://www.thevine.com.au/music/news/q-how-did-a-punk-band-get-kevin-rudd-and-tony-abbott-in-their-music-video-20130820-264488