Music Rubbish. Rubbish. Boring. Rubbish. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! Fellini! Amazing! Magic hour. End. Which is a needlessly critically mixed response to the Flatline video, especially since when these three were recording as the Sugababes, the promos were always simplistic. Overload saw the three of them singing into camera in a white void (insert Whole Again reference here). New Year was roughly the same but with pastel colours and bits of line drawing. Run for Cover was living rooms and couches and streets and alleyways just as this is beaches and deserts. Soul Sound was a plushly furnished flat in a state of recursive occlusion.
The problem, I suppose, is that which afflicts many amazing songs, that the video rarely lives up to them. The intention was perhaps that the whole thing look like it'd been shot on an iPhone with an Instagram filter switched on, in which case it succeeds at that, and there is a sense that anything "flashier" than this would be wrong too. Does it succeed in selling the song? Not as well as the lyric video but the song sells itself anyway pretty much. I expect there's more to it than what's actually on the surface in terms of creative choices. In this, the comments underneath the YouTube upload are instructive and surprisingly rational particularly this from MarkehJLL:
"Guys, they're three women in their late 20's who are trying to make a comeback under a completely different name from the one that they're famous for. I doubt their record label was willing to pay for a full-on expensive music video. I personally prefer this to some music video shot in a studio because it seems more authentic, just like their music."It's shot and directed by photographer KT Auleta which would to some extent explain the aesthetic too. Plus it's the exact opposite of this, and that has to be a good thing.
Updated Later. Here's something which might explain something about this video. There are surface similarities with the promo for the Sugababes's single About a Girl:
Apart from the leathery fashions, it looks like the desert scenes were shot in the same location and there's a car. But to an extent it's almost as though the director of the Flatline video set out to create almost anti-matter version of this, with deliberately verite shooting and editing, no obviously choreographed dance numbers, sort of thrown together rather than slickly directed and where the About a Girl has guns and violence, Flatline has a marching band. Just make things even more interesting, the wikipedia notices this:
""About a Girl" is the first single to feature vocals by band member Jade Ewen, following the departure of Keisha Buchanan in September 2009."In other words, is there some subliminal symbolism at work here. Is Flatline, the The Shining of pop videos?
Updated Even Later. PopJustice has posted their verdict:
"Mutya Keisha Siobhan’s ‘Flatline’ is a sad song about the end of a relationship wrapped up in a pretty melody. Siobhan’s first verse is about a drunken argument and the chorus is about a relationship dying, before Mutya sings about the fact that even crying through all the pain won’t make it right during the second verse.
"All this makes the sun-dappled, Instagram-filtered, beach-modelling, arm-waggling, high-fashion video – which ‘premiered’ at midnight last night/this morning/whatever – pretty baffling, the whole thing screaming ‘WE’RE NOT MOODY AND ALOOF ANYMORE YOU GUYS’ while losing a bit of what makes them special."