SJD “A Boy”

2001-sjd-a-boySJD’s second video starts with the song title scrawled across the screen in childish handwriting. Only it’s back to front, which automatically makes me think it’s a YouTube copyright takedown avoidance trick. Or maybe it’s just the writing of a kid who hasn’t learned to write left to right. I used to do that.

The handwriting turns into child-like drawings, stick figures with swords, giant rolling heads, morphing cats and other delights. Only the drawings are animated and have a sophisticated flow, suggesting it’s the work of someone who can draw properly.

Primitive stick figures joyfully run around, jumping through hoops. It’s weirdly alarming to see something as simple as a stick figure move so smoothly and naturally. It makes me feel quite inadequate about the quality of my attempts at stick figure.

Sometimes we see an eerie shadow looming over the screen. So who is behind this animation? It’s a boy, of course. We meet the (real, not animated) boy sitting at a desk in a strange CGI room. It seems all there is to do in the room is draw cartoons. And he’s not very happy. Well, with that experience he could always get a job at Weta Digital.

“A Boy” is a groovy number, but the video goes a bit darker (though the lyrics kind of match that tone). It doesn’t take the obvious video promo route, instead making something that is artistic in its own right. But that seems to be an SJD hallmark.

Best bit: the layers of dancing monsters.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Director: Kieran Donnelley, Dominic Taylor

Next… dem bones.

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