I have watched more commercial music television over the last week than I have in the last two years. And let me tell you, the Generation Xs might lament the passing of the real music television era, when Yo! MTV Raps and TRL and scores of other shows that actually showcased music videos reigned supreme, but for the last week at least, music on TV has risen from the ashes. It must have something to do with the time of year. I’ve suffered no insufferable ‘VJs’, watched no unwatchable ‘marry my son et al!’ scripted reality programs, experience no inexplicable yabbering about what to do before you turn 30, what colour your jeans should be this month, how much 50 Cent paid for his bachelor pad. Instead, the TV has been awash with some of the most arresting imagery produced this year. Ironically, in an age when the biggest screen these mini-films are viewed on are 7 inches wide and broadcasting has no use for them anymore, the video clips of 2012 shone as the best of the year, in a thousand different iterations (NYE party trax/chart toppers 2012/new year’s day revivers), played out across all 42 inches of my ol plasma.
Swedish House Mafia, a group that has been written about countless times on this blog, are just right for my favourite visual medium. The four minute, densely packed piece of marketing peripheral suits the Stockholm trio to a tee. As DJs and producers now rise and fall on the strength or otherwise of single anthems, Swedish House Mafia, to disband after the final of their final farewell tours, have managed to carve out a superb niche for themselves and with each subsequent, powerful single, claim more and more of the mainstream. It was my house-crazed cousin K who first pointed out the aesthetic peculiarity that the group, stronger and stronger with news of their imminent dissolution, have recently adopted. Three rough, paint-splattered circles – representing Angello, Axwell, Ingrosso, household names in their own right – now dominate their twitter feed and helped announce their final return to Sydney in February.
But more than the three circle logo, the nation-borrowing moniker or their characteristic minimalist album art work, it is Swedish House Mafia’s latest video clip, for their final track that is the group’s audiovisual piece de resistance. ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ is the trio’s first number one charting single in Australia – the last of many countries to fall for its faux-nostalgia, bombastic charm – and is easily the most compelling thing about the song (with apologies to John Martin). Plenty of videos nowadays try desperately hard to recreate the club vibe with umpteen lasers, smoke machines and blinged out flesh-bots, but the reality of it is that these superglossy versions of nightlife are so far removed from our popular conception of clubbing that the videos end up looking more arrogant than aspirational. Filmed at the Milton Keynes Bowl, a massive outdoor venue north of London, Don’t You Worry Child’s live feel is far from the contrived spectacles of yore. Instead, in the sweat, the ecstasy, the crush and the burst of sound, colour, light, this might be one of the most faithful renditions of modern-day festival-going in years. The song itself – familiar, fairly predictable, somewhat lyrically estranging – becomes redundant as the fervor of seeing these three Swedes takes hold. Music television to make you wish music television was still around.
Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child