FROM JASON’S DRIVING PLAYLIST — Normally on Mondays I post two songs that show somewhat disparate styles. But while scrolling through my iTunes library late last night and trading links with Andrew, I ran across The Crystal Method and got into a groove. I decided it was time to bow at the altar of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland.
I love electronica — as long as it stays dynamic. When it starts looping endlessly or is too focused on the beat, I lose interest. That’s why I hate the idea of hearing The Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers, or The Prodigy in any kind of club. I’d much rather hear it in the context of a soundtrack where it’s used to move a plot.
That said, I don’t like the majority of The Crystal Method’s music. I like it when they keep songs short, intense, and multi-layered with five or six ideas, then wrap it up.
And that’s what makes these three such great songs, and why I get pumped listening to them in my car:
1. The Crystal Method — Born Too Slow
All the TCM videos I’ve seen are a weird fusion of comedy and symbolism. I watched this one about three times today trying to figure out what it’s saying. It’s directed by Gore Verbinski — director of The Ring and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies — and it’s laced with references to autonomy. In a lot of ways, the main character reminds me of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Not only is he blue, bald, and naked, but he’s examining his surroundings, moving unhaltingly through a foreign environment, trying to relate to others, and effortlessly reshaping the physical structures around him. But he is artificial and seems to be a projection of some sort (maybe a shadow of a man trying to understand man). Deep.
2. The Crystal Method — Name of the Game
The first time I watched this video, I thought the protagonist was just overcompensating for his huge, obvious facial flaw. I’m not so sure after thinking about it. I’ve seen enough episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to know that when someone is depicted with no eyes and no mouth, it means they feel powerless. That seems suited for a song that’s “callin’ all freaks.”
3. The Crystal Method — Murder
Another complicated story video: This time a man tries to romance a blow-up sex doll that has a decided The Scream expression on her face. Our main character carries a velvet-lined box that I couldn’t help thinking was an homage to Seven, and early in the video the doll (maybe fearing it will be decapitated?) magically flees the house — leaving behind an empty rocking chair facing a window (which seemed like a Psycho reference to me). Maybe I’m reading way too much into that. But by the end of the video we have the doll dropping a bowling ball on her pursuer’s head, and then she’s back in a shop window looking for another victim. Are they trying to say that fake people are the most dangerous sort? I think so.