Elemeno P returned with a new album, Trouble in Paradise, and “11:57” was its first single. In keeping with the times, the band had taken a harder, rockier sound, moving away from their poppier roots. The trouble is, lead singer Dave’s speak-singing style can’t keep pace with the power of the music. He sounds like someone doing a half-arsed singalong, while bassist Lani outshines him with her rock solid backing vocals.
But let’s get to the video. The band are dressed all in black (so emo), with a few accents of colour, including lani’s red shoes. They seem to be performing on a roof top, with a large khaki and orange target shape on the ground. It’s night time – 11.57pm, of course.
The camera has a sense of excitement and urgency, rushing about the performance area. This is no passive bystander – the camera is like a gig-goer hopped up on Red Bull. And that’s where the emphasis is – Elemeno P, rocking out. It ends up putting the spotlight on the strong rock qualities of the song, which in turn shows up the contrast of the non-rock vocals. It’s tense.
“Claim to Fame” was the sixth and final video for a track off Elemeno P’s debut album “Love and Disrespect”. And the video sees the band in the midst of touring, a sign that they were perhaps too busy on the road to shoot a video.
The video opens with Dave getting the audience to put their hands in the hair while guitarist Justin takes a photo “for his kids when he’s an old man”. And as the song starts, we see a montage of many photos of Elemeno P fans posing for Justin with their hands in the air. These days, an artist taking photos and sharing them is pretty unremarkable, but 2005 predated social media so it still felt kind of special.
The sea of arms turns into photos from a big outdoor concert, then finally back to footage at the smaller venue from the beginning. The rest of the video is a mix of live footage and still shots, capturing the band at their peak. But this is where it loses its momentum.
But here’s the thing – the video is way more interesting than the song. The song is a sedate rant against name-droppers and slaves to fashion, and it doesn’t come across as something that would be awesome to experience live. It’s a toilet break song.
For live videos, whether it’s a big rock moment or an intimate performance, it has to be with a song that makes the viewer feel like they’re witnessing something special. The “Claim to Fame” video just demonstrates a band who are performing a random album track to a group of fans. A spirited song like “Verona” would have worked much better as the subject of a live video.
Best bit: the waving of hands in the hair, like everyone just doesn’t care.