Friday, April 2, 2010

Daily Dose 4/2/10 (4/5/10)- "Two Way Monologue" Sondre Lerche

And away we go! Friday unfortunately gets a pass, but Monday is here, and with it a new video. Sondre Lerche is a Norwegian singer songwriter whose music sounds a bit like a European Brian Wilson. Without further ado (well, I'd recommend letting the video buffer a bit first, but...), the title track off his 2004 release "Two Way Monologue" (video copyright EMI and relevant parties of course):

This was the first video I ever saw that actually caused me to buy an album. The tone of the piece fits so perfectly with Lerche's lyrics and voice. It's a bubble gum portrait of the 50s/60s that comes over like some weird cross between "Cabaret" and the battle of the bands episode from Happy Days; a distinctly Euro-fictionalized version of our already fictionalized version of whatever cultural period "Grease" is set in.

Apropos to the seemingly contradictory title, the video follows Sondre Lerche (playing himself) competing in an open mic/battle of the bands competition with reigning champion Super Sonny (also played by a slightly spiffier-looking Lerche). There are lots of great style touches, like the outfits of the audience members, and the way the camera zooms around and into the faces of the female audience members when Super Sonny is singing, aping similar Beatles footage from the 60s. The video is beautifully shot, with the pastel palette standing in stark contrast to the muted colors of our previous entry.

The lyrics to "Two Way Monologue" are fairly inscrutable, and this piece isn't really intended to relate as heavily to the lyrics as our previous entry did, but I really enjoy the way the video is executed to illustrate the title of the song. Lerche is literally having a contest/conversation against/with himself, and when the reveal at the end of the video uncovers the secret to Super Sonny's success (Lerche in a third role sings behind a curtain while "Sonny" lipsyncs in front of the audience), it adds a further layer that I really enjoy.

It's worth noting, of course, that since most music videos aren't live performances, the vast majority of them involve the artists lipsyncing anyway, so there's a certain nod-and-wink to the viewer in the nature of the story's resolution.

While it doesn't have the same deep resonance as "I Will Follow You into The Dark", "Two Way Monologue" is a fun and enjoyable video that at once eschews any need to attempt to interpret the lyrics of the subject song, but at the same time is a clever, and almost literal, illustration of the title.


  1. Another song and video that I've never had the pleasure of experiencing until today. Beyond the camera work that makes the viewer feel like they're really at the event, and the fun pastel colors and bouncy energy of the video, I was most impressed by the singer's ability to convincingly take on two (well, really three) distinct personalities throughout the video. Being able to effectively capture the dueling characters, including differing facial expressions and body language, is the sign of a true performer. I enjoyed it.

  2. This experience has been an education for me. I love these introductions to music I missed as well as lively and astute observations about the way the visuals enhance/enrich the lyrics. Thanks!