“Phlex” is Blindspott’s highest charting single. It reached number three, only kept off the top spot by the double whammy of Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard’s American Idol singles (and then chased well away by the almighty “Ignition Remix” the next week).
The “Phlex” video is also significant because – so far in the 5000 Ways adventure – it has the first appearance of the graffiti-style NZ On Air logo, the first major reworking of the original late ’80s logo.
In contrast to the band’s angry dude music of previous singles, “Phlex” has a positive message and is a slower, more subdued song. The video sees the band hanging out at a dude flat, with camouflage duvets, gig poster decor and turntables in the kitchen. There’s even a guy shaving his hair, a full decade before Lorde’s friends did the same in “Royals”.
The camera slowly pans from left to right in every show, giving the feeling that we’re witnesses an ordinary slice of life in the Blindspott house. Lead singer Damien spends much of the video sitting against a wall with the silhouette of a laughing cartoon character right next to his head. It’s distracting, like the cartoon character is laughing at Blindspott for being so serious.
But the video is generally just the band sitting around in the dude flat, all with blank expressions on their faces. No one looks like they’re having a great time, but they don’t look all that miserable either.
The video ends with a graffiti artist painting a giant “Phlex” on the lounge room wall (he’s wearing a respirator, the others in the room aren’t; breathe deep, guys) and this seems symbolic of the way hip hop culture was becoming more mainstream. Here’s a rock ballad (with a bit of turntablism) and it seems like the most natural complement to have some graffiti in there too.
Best bit: the face freshening in the bathroom – most invigorating.
Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… send in the clones.