Sunday, April 28, 2019

Weekend Diversion: ‘Mama’

The video above is the newest single from UK electronic music band Clean Bandit, “Mama”, from their second studio album, What Is Love? The first time I saw the video, I was surprised—not because of the song itself, but that the video hadn’t become the source of yet another of the USA’s frequent Rightwing meltdowns over something in pop culture. The reason it didn’t is probably that it and Clean Bandit aren’t well-known there. Maybe that’s a good thing?

The song itself features British singer Ellie Goulding. It’s about—and while this isn’t any sort of spoiler, this is a good point to watch the video before I talk about it—the song is about "a boy whose power was taken away from him as a child and he grew up determined to take that power back." It’s clear, however, what the video is about.

The video has been described as “mocking” the current occupant of the White House, but much of the imagery is drawn from what has been reported of his life and childhood to show would could happen to someone like him. There’s some imagination involved, but the video doesn’t seem mocking. Indeed, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the kid in the video dealing with a terrible jerk of a father and a cold mother, something that’s been reported as being true about the real guy’s real life. This is something they explain in the “Making of” video they also posted (which is at the bottom of this post).

In any case, the point of the video can be seen in the very last scene.

The song hasn’t charted in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, but reached Number 98 in the UK, and Number 19 on the USA’s Dance and Electronic Music chart. The album What Is Love? reached Number 48 in Australia, 50 in Canada, 33 in New Zealand, 9 in the UK, and 141 on the USA’s Billboard 200.

I last featured a Clean Bandit video, “Symphony”, two years ago this month, and, like this one, I shared it alone. In both cases, it was to showcase the video, but in this case, it has a political aspect that may make putting it alongside another one somewhat problematic, so the “making of” is a better option.

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