To promote their new album Codes and Keys (out May 31), upcoming VH1 Storytellers performers Death Cab for Cutie digitally released “You Are a Tourist,” the record’s first single, last Tuesday, and they’re preparing to shoot a video tomorrow night at 7PM EDT that will also premiere tomorrow night at 7PM EDT. Confused? Listen to the song and its accompanying image will explain:
“You Are a Tourist” will be, this clip claims, “the first live, scripted, one-take music video shoot. Ever.” And VH1 will be carrying this event live –yes, as it’s happening!– in conjunction with our friends over at Ustream.
Though early music videos had tons of movement and cuts to keep viewers interested, once the idea of the music video as a form became accepted in the mid-1980s, the one-shot video has been a stylistic choice, from The Replacements‘ “anti-video” for “Bastards of Young” to the sutured romp of Janet Jackson‘s “When I Think of You” (actually a series of unbroken shots that cut back and forth as invisibly as possible between crane shots of the “outdoor” set and Steadicam shots “indoors”).
The particular benchmark Death Cab for Cutie is attempting to outdo is much more recent: OK Go‘s hugely ambitious “This Too Shall Pass” Rube Goldberg machine.
That video for the single, which actually already had a video (either because the contraption was taking too long or because the band wanted a back-up), was the result of innumerable attempts, with only three that were successfully filmed start to finish.
“You Are a Tourist” aspires to at least some level of intricacy along those lines, based on the YouTube promos the band has been releasing. For example, I’m not sure what’s going on with the sledgehammer here, and it’s not clear Death Cab for Cutie guitarist and producer Chris Walla does either, but hopefully he can figure it out before the shoot tomorrow:
And the kicker, of course, is that the “You Are A Tourist” video will be broadcast live on Ustream as it is being filmed, tomorrow night at 7PM EDT. And then that’s the video. If they pull it off, the bar will officially have been raised. And if they don’t pull it off, well, that might be just as entertaining.
Either way, they’ll probably have a story to tell, and hopefully they can sneak it into their highly anticipated VH1 Storytellers performance, coming sometime in the next few months. We will, of course, keep you posted!