It’s crazy to me how the Red Hot Chili Peppers have managed to stay relevant for so many years, and are able to encompass this sense of youthfulness, as they grow older. Watching this video, one would not think that the overly energetic Anthony Kiedis is approaching his 54th birthday in a few days. It’s beyond me how they’re still doing this what they’re doing.
More so than any of their recent albums, the album “The Getaway” seems to display a new energy from the Chili Peppers and reminds me of their older sound. The song “Dark Necessities” perfectly highlights the sound of the album, and the video illustrates this energy and youthfulness in such a powerful way.
This is one of those music videos that actually made me enjoy the song more than I did before. When I first heard the single I thought, “Wow I like this – sounds like an old Chili Peppers song”. But seeing this video, actually brought this song to life and made my liking of the song to an obsession. A successful music video has the ability to bring new meaning to a song and bring it to life, and this one most definitely did.
The video is extremely powerful, and tells a story, though I can’t help but think that the purpose of this music video was to promote the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their new album, which is not a bad thing. The Chili Peppers have been relevant in the music scene for 30+ years, though I think that any Chili Peppers fan would agree that their last album “I’m With You” was rather mediocre. Okay, it sucked. It was their first album in five years, it was a follow-up to the successful “Stadium Arcadium”, and it was the first album with the new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. It, in my opinion, it did not live up to expectations. That being said, most Chili Pepper fans including myself still had faith for “The Getaway”. Five years had passed since “I’m With You”, Josh had become more comfortable in his role and with his own style, and they had a new producer, Danger Mouse. The video for “Dark Necessities” appeared to me as a re-introduction to the Chili Peppers and the sound for their new album – and a damn successful re-introduction.
Olivia Wilde directed the music video, and I was beyond impressed to find out that this was only the second music video that she had ever directed. Being only 32, Wilde took the video in a youth-filled, modern direction. The video focuses on two stories – the Red Hot Chili Peppers jamming in an empty, dimly lit house, and four female longboarders, skating the empty streets of Southern California.
The intro in this song has a phenomenal build-up, which is portrayed beautifully in the video. The soft and steady bass line plays as the Chili Peppers sit on the living room couch in a super unpractical manner – (Josh is laying upside down and Flea is underneath the cushions) they look exhausted and bored. The camera cuts back and forth between the band and a shot of a girl with bruises and cuts all over her. As the piano and drums began to appear the band becomes a little livelier. The camera cuts from shots of the each of the skaters and the band again. The shirtless Kiedis (typical) has his hands over his face and is lightly bouncing up and down as if he’s pumping himself up for either a show or a fight. The camera cuts to a girl who is pissed off in her room, pulling her hair and throwing herself around her room. This build is beautifully presented and I find myself in suspense every time I watch it.
At 0:43, Flea drops one of his distinctive baselines and the band enters into a Chili Pepper-esqe, funky jam out. The camera continues to cut from the band to the skaters at a rapid pace. The song contains a “clap” in the middle of each of Kiedis’s verses, and Wilde did an incredible job at utilizing these “claps” in her transitions. On each clap, the camera usually cuts to a different shot, or the “clap” is incorporated into either the actions of the skaters or the band. At 1:14, we see the first shot of all four members playing, and the shot appears to be through a window outside of the house. The chorus eventually comes in and the camera continuously cuts from the band sitting on the floor singing the chorus, and the skaters skating down an empty road in the dark.
These shots of the band do an amazing job at showing the “weirdness” of the band and each of their different personalities. Anthony has his hilarious dance moves and odd mannerisms, Chad is the calmer one, Josh looks like he’s tweaking, and Flea’s absurd and unpredictable behavior. For example, there’s a point where he’s playing the bass while sitting in the sink, with latex gloves on.
The video continues to cut from shots of the band to shots of the skaters in a rapid yet organized way throughout the song. The band displays their bizarre antics as they destroy the house. The skaters skate through the streets, skating through the grocery store and getting a beer, and one of them even gets a lip tattoo. (Fun fact: I read that the girl who is seen getting her inner lip tattooed, actually got the tattoo for the video!)
Before seeing the video, I wasn’t entirely sure what the lyrics in the chorus meant. “Yeah, you don’t know my mind / You don’t know my kind / Dark necessities are part of my design”. I think the video does a magnificent job in illustrating what these “Dark Necessities” really are. The video focuses more on the bruises and cuts that the girls receive when skating. During the bridge, it shows the girls falling off their boards in such a natural way that couldn’t have been faked. The girls are then seen pouring beer on their wounds and getting spontaneous inner lip tattoos. To me, this encompasses the lifestyle of “Dark Necessities” that we heard in the lyrics. The idea that even though they’ve acquired all of these cuts and bruises, they continue to skate and attempt the same tricks. It encompasses a rebellious California lifestyle that the band experienced as teens.
The video ends and the girls skate off through a tunnel as the music dies down. The camera then cuts to the exhausted band. Josh falls to the ground in exhaustion, Chad laughs, Flea dripping in sweat gives a rock on sign with his hands, and Anthony has a wide-eyed look of “holy shit” right before the camera cuts to black.
While the girls displayed the “Dark Necessities” through skating, the band displays them through their desire to rock out, followed by sheer exhaustion. This video illustrated the song perfectly and showed that the Chili Peppers are the same band they were when they