Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Seen Your Video: Daft Punk – “Da Funk”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on June 21, 2008

“Yo, that’s a good song…”

Just some thoughts:

  • That is a good song. Perhaps being reactionary or revisionist or some such but much as I love Discovery, it’s the singles from Homework that still kick my ass without fail whenever they come on. And “Da Funk” is just one of the grimiest, ruffest, baddest slices of squelchy 4/4 bliss I’ve ever heard. Say what you will about the big beat era, but this thing has gotten better and better every year since its release.
  • I didn’t even realize how many of Spike Jonze’s classic videos use their soundtracking song as diagetic sound–as a gymnast’s routine tape in the Chemical Brothers’ “Elektrobank,” as the Torrance Dance Community Troupe’s jam of choice in Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and as the song pumping on dogman Charles’ stereo in this one. I can’t think of another video director that pulled this off so successfully in one video, let alone in three.
  • Ever since I learned on the commentary of the Spike Jonze DVD (a must-have for any music video fan of any degree, of course) that they had to turn all the labels away from the camera in the grocery store scene (licensing issues of sorts I believe), that’s all I can focus on when I watch it. Check it, it’s almost a little creepy.
  • Is it weird how much I can still relate to the Dogman in this? I know the feeling of being paranoid about getting mocked by snotty kids on the street. I know what it’s like to so want to seem useful to someone that I’d be disappointed when the random survey lady on the street no longer wanted to avail herself of my services. And I definitely still wouldn’t have gotten on the bus with my childhood neighbor for dinner if I had to give up my radio.
  • How disturbing is that shot in the Grocery Store when Dogman Charles makes a corny joke to still-confused neighbor Beatrice and tilts back his head to laugh, and you see all his weird teeth and shit? Up until that point he’s just a loveable sadsack, then you realize, “Wait a minute, this creature is an abomination of nature!” I mean, if you saw the Mushroom dude from Star Wars in your local bodega, you probably wouldn’t stop to consider how lonely and homesick the guy was before you broke out the tranquilizer gun, would you?.
  • I wonder why no one ever talks about the Dogman-makes-good sequel video to “Da Funk,” “Fresh.” In this one, our hero finds himself a success as an actor on the West Coast, still has trouble finding real connection with people, but at least gets himself a happy ending of sorts. Not as poignant as “Da Funk” I suppose, but certainly better than all those boring anime vids they made for the Discovery singles.
  • Despite how great the song is, how great the video is, and how brilliantly they work together–how the hell did Jonze and the Dafters possibly decide that this was the path to go with this video? I mean, now the two aren’t even slightly disassociable, but who hears a fucking monster jam like “Da Funk” and thinks to themselves, “Hm, I see a fish-out-of-water wandering out a big city on his own. Possibly in the form of an anthropomorphized dog.” This song isn’t exactly “The Boxer,” you know.
  • Say a prayer for that dog. drummer Tony Maxwell, the man behind the dogman in “Da Funk” and “Fresh,” who will never be able to believably drop that line as a hook at parties and such. I mean, in terms of iconic video status, it’s not quite the jungle chick from “Hungry Like the Wolf,” but I’d certainly want to drop that shit all the time if I had a credit like that on my resume. And yet Tony Maxwell is still probably better known as being the drummer for that dog. than actually being That Dog. Sucks.

One Response to “Seen Your Video: Daft Punk – “Da Funk””

  1. Jason L said

    Hey man, I hope you appreciate the “Around The World” video as much as this one. My favorite Michel Gondry video, if not my favorite video ever.

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