April 1, 2008

Seen: Wyclef Jean featuring Paul Simon - Fast Car

One of my favorite artists when he was a Fugee (when I was 15), Wyclef Jean has since strung together a frustratingly inconsistent discography, characterized by intermittent guitar playing, occasional repurposing of his own catalog (Wyclef Jean featuring Claudette Ortiz: Dance Like This became Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie) moral and/or religious grandstanding, general stonership, on-stage bonership (it came up as I was pulling the Shakira video... which also sounds like a pun), some bona fide hits, some bad covers, some even worse covers... Actually I'm not sure where I'm going with this. If I get the chance to work with him one day, will I go back and delete this post to cover my tracks?

Anyway, this is not one of those "Seen" posts where I share a video I like. Instead, I believe Wyclef's latest video, "Fast Car," may in fact be a bona fide New Low in product placement, and thus worth sharing at this particular post-millennial corporate synergasm in time. And while I didn't expect it to be the greatest music video ever made (after all, the video wasn't directed by "the best who ever did it"), I at least expected to understand what the hell was going on during the next four minutes. Instead, the corporate agenda on display obliterates all pretense of a sensical narrative, and after watching it a few times I still can't figure out if anyone had the balls to actually put forth a treatment, or if they just strung together a bunch of shots and called it a day.

Why is "nonsensical" a word, but not "sensical?"

Anyway, Wyclef is on Sony BMG. Paul Simon, featured on the song, is also on Sony. Burnout Paradise, the videogame featured throughout the music video, is currently available on the Sony Playstation 3. At the start of the video, Wyclef's previous single, the catchy "Sweetest Girl"--which features singing by Niia, another Sony artist--is playing on a Sony TV. A kid walks past a Sony-format tape deck (HDCAM?), with a Sony MP3 player around his neck and a Sony bluetooth headest in his ear, picks up his Sony Playstation controller (note the Playstation itself on the desk), and then e-mails Wyclef on his Sony Playstation Portable (the PSP can e-mail! take note!). Wyclef opens his trunk to grab a Sony controller from in front of another Sony flastcreen. Once inside the Burnout Paradise virtual world (which makes sense, because the song is titled "Fast Car," and the game has... cars), the white guy stand-in for Paul Simon checks his Sony PSP (while driving at top speed), and to conclude the video, the kid takes a picture of himself on a Sony webcam.

Here is a partial list of companies that did not pay for the video's production:

Microsoft
Nintendo
Cabot Cheese

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July 19, 2011 at 11:22AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

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