Semi Lemon Kola “Play Dumb”

1996-semi-lemon-kola-play-dumbSemi Lemon Kola always had a bit of a Red Hot Chili Peppers sound, and indeed it’s there even when they’re tackling a ballad. “Play Dumb” has that same serious Anthony Keidis ballad voice happening, complete with compressed vocals.

The video attempts a World War II theme, but it’s not quite an authentic period drama. In this World War II, glamorous women are also high-ranking military officials.

A non-military glamorous woman puts a record on the stereogram for a couple of officers, while up in the sky some aerial combat takes place. Any attempt at realism is dropped with the use of wobbly models for the aerial shots.

After a terrible crash, a soldier gets some badly applied bandages on his face, reminiscent of Metallica’s “One” video, only not as haunting.

But who is the enemy these brave soliders are fighting? Perhaps there is a clue in the lyrics – “I’m my own worst enemy. The only one I blame is myself.” Oh, it’s not Nazis they’re fighting; it’s the super-ego!

The video ends in more aerial combat, cuminating with a cheerful pilot who appears to drop a nuclear bomb on the Beehive. It’s not entirely clear why he does this, though it’s probably something to do with the government getting everyone down.

I dunno. New rule for music video production: stay away from the army surplus store.

Best bit: the glamourous lady plays the “Oceana Roll” record, a song that predates World War I. Get with it, grandma.

Director: Steve Morrison
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a giant jar of Vaseline and a view.

2 thoughts on “Semi Lemon Kola “Play Dumb””

  1. I wouldn’t be too harsh on the authenticity thing, since it looks like someone made an effort to get things looking at least vaguely plausible.
    The uniforms and kit are similar to what the US Navy and Marine pilots wore in the Pacific in WWII, the close up cockpit shot is an american plane of the same era, and even the wobbly models are of the right kind of planes, the good guys having US Navy ones, and the bad guys Japanese ones (yeah, I’m geek enough to know that).

    Also the woman at the HQ table isn’t supposed to be a high ranking officer. She is a plotter, moving unit markers around a map table to show the situation in real-time. These ones are British http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210280

    And who hasn’t wanted to nuke the Beehive at least once at some point? 🙂

    1. OMG, that is actually brilliant. Thank you for putting a military history perspective on it! I feel the problem videos like this run into is not knowing how much authenticity to put into the video. I think it works either going 100% authentic, or just using stylistic elements. But mixing the two is confusing.

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