One of my favorite music videos of 2014 featured California indie dream rocker Jenny Lewis singing her song “Just One of the Guys” backed by a celebrity-studded band, including Kristen Stewart and Anne Hathaway. Now, there’s new Sleater-Kinney video for the title track from their surprise album No Cities To Love (what do you call a surprise album when the surprise party’s over?), and the band has “asked some of their friends to film themselves singing the title track”:
For years I’ve thought Carrie Brownstein was the person in the world with the coolest BFFs—first Miranda July, then Fred Armisen! not to mention Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss! (all of whom are in the video, plus Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Natasha Lyonne, and more)—and this video proves that I am correct.
Besides the off-key singing and the interpretive dancing, my favorite part is when the song comes in full force and all the singers’ awkward, at-home, seemingly slight responses get jacked-up—we’re suddenly hearing what they’re listening to, and their worlds take on that movie-soundtrack feeling you get when you walk down the street with headphones on in a particularly surging mood. It’s just, you usually don’t get to project that experience onto someone else’s life, and it feels especially stars-they’re-just-like-us (yes, that is a feeling, and I experience it often) to get to project it onto celebrities’ lives.
The only misstep in the video is the part where it accidentally turns into an advertisement for the TV show Nashville, because Connie Britton’s standing in front of a wall with “Nashville” painted on it. I get it, I get it—there are no cities, no cities to love—but I love Britton and Nashville and Nashville and still thought it was distracting.
Otherwise, the video has much to love, including some cityscapes—like Corin Tucker near Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park—that seem to luxuriate in disproving the claim of the chorus. There are, in fact, cities to love—but “it’s complicated” with me and cities, and maybe with you and cities, too.