The awfulness of Rebecca Black's "Friday" made sense to you. She released it when she was 13 years old. Her mom had paid a production company $4,000 to write her two songs and do one big mad video about how exciting it is to sit on or in or around cars on the best day of the week. And then, long story short, the internet found it and went in. Now Rebecca Black ekes out a sort of sub-famous existence with lots of cheery vlogs and promises of new music; lots of leaning into microphones on cable-access TV and saying, "No, it won't be like 'Friday'," and, "No, my new music is nothing like 'Friday'," and, "Yes, 'Friday' was quite bad. Anyway, my new album is dropping 2k15, look out for it online because it won't be a sort of 'sells in shops' thing—going to be very download-centric."
So you sort of understood how Rebecca Black ended up making the worst music video of all time. We were all teenagers once, dreamy-eyed and autotuned. We all had hopes and dreams and nagged our moms to spend money on our insane acts of hubris.
But imagine being an adult and doing it. Imagine thinking that is good.
Like an Incan princess approaching a vengeful sun god with the flesh of a slain virgin, I bring to you today a gift, and that gift is this: "Let the Sun Shine" by DJ Mart. The first thing you are going to think is, Hold up, is that dude rocking two T's in his first name? Push through this feeling. It is natural. The second thing you are noticing is, Sorry, pause and rewind: Did my man Mart just make a model walk very slowly towards him because apparently his editor doesn't have access to a slow motion function? Be quiet and just know that he did. Do you share the murky feeling that the two girls in this video are exceptionally uncomfortable? you are thinking. I absolutely do, yes.
Here, watch the video in full and then come back to me:
I'm going to have to break this video down into component parts, because watching it all at once is too overwhelming. I mean, first fucks, look at this pool fall—is this not the most depressing pool fall in human history?
He's stood on one leg waiting for the cameraman's cue. He's counting himself in, 1-2-3. And then he let's go, and falls backwards, a fixed grin across his face—but then also, right at the last second, his jaw swipes across his face, and his whole expression contorts, and for one half second you see him flick from "man having fun" to "man attempting to keep chlorinated water out of his mouth"—and then the water embraces him and he chokes. Remember: this is his video. This is his mad idea, and even he cannot quite muster up a genuine smile while falling. This pool fall should come with a content note for those prone to moments of deep and impenetrable funk.
There's a lot of this kind of stuff in "Let the Sun Shine"—moments that make you think, Was that really the best take they could get? For example, see below, where Mart is dancing with one of the two lost-looking girls: There are two girls, one of whom has a sad Rashida Jones vibe, who we'll call "Sad Rashida Jones"; the other we'll just call "Sunshine Sally," whom Mart is throwing into a reluctant twirl. Mart has a clear favorite among the two of them, and it is not Sally.
That all sounds alright, doesn't it? But for whatever reason, the guy filming it comes at it from this angle here, like a peeping tom finally building up the nerve to murder his favorite actress:
And then about 40 seconds into the video comes a quick one-two-three punch of audio-visual despair, which starts with Mart having a sung conversation with himself in a visibly empty room, presumably because they only realized they needed this shot once the models had packed up their shit and gone home:
And then we see him dancing alone in a room lit by a single disco laser, the blue and pink streaking across his lonely face as he does that dance—you know the dance. It's the dance that boys at house parties do that makes every girl leave at once; girls at house parties attuned to each other on the same high frequency, the telepathy between them allowing them to make for the bathroom en masse when some DJ Mart-looking motherfucker grinds behind one of them and says "Yeah boi, SHABBA!" So he is left alone, dancing a dance that comes not from the hips or the crotch, but from the small of the back, jutting forward and back in time with absolutely nothing. He's the last man left in a room that contains only the DJ.
And then there are a couple of other quick shots—Mart, topless, jiggling by a pool; Mart leading Sad Rashida Jones through a rented apartment and grandly gesturing towards the balcony… And then there is this moment of pure realization. Sunshine Sally looks like she's stoically dancing along to the 3AM beats being blasted out of a kebab van while the drunkest man in Nottingham tries to cop off with her mate. Then Mart looks around to realize that these girls are paid to be here, and this is his life: He's 32 years old and he's making his own music video. If you look closely, you can see his heart break slowly through his face:
There are so many moments of high amateurism woven through "Let the Sun Shine" that I still can't be sure that it's not the world's most elaborate piss-take. Like, there's the bit where Mart, fresh off a mid-shoot haircut, earnestly sings, "Let the sun shine" into the camera while extending his arms in front of a vista where the sun resolutely is not shining:
And I mean there's this shot, where Mart looks around as though someone has just called his name and, as he started turning, also shouted "WANKER!" so he's had to style it out by just pretending he's touching his shades, Sad Rashida having definitely heard the wanker call-out:
And then there's the inexplicable net-less tennis game, where he pings it to Sad Rashida Jones, who dutifully softballs it back. But, when the camera turns back around, we don't see Mart hit it. Instead, his stance suggests he tried to backhand it, bizarrely, and the ball is veers wildly to the left. Sadshida has to chase it, and he watches aghast, fully aware that his athletic ability allows him one clean hit on a tennis ball maximum. Once we loop back around to it, we have to ask, Was this the absolute best take they could get?
And then there's this shot, where it looks like he's just remembered his parents died in that crash while he hover-hands two different models at once while a cameraman falls over in front of him. It's possibly the saddest moment of human reality ever captured on film, everything just all going wrong at once.
And then there's the constant looping back to pool shots where Mart is clearly teaching Sadshida and Sunshine Sally some on-the-fly dance moves, lots of hands in the air, Mart giving the sincere vibe that every single shot in this video started with the words, "Have you got your camera on you? Maybe I could do a bit of pool dancing," or, "Have you got your camera on you? Only I thought we could do a bit where Sad Rashida looks like she's reading a book."
And then, finally, there's the high conclusion, Mart doing his teaching-a-dance-routine thing again—he's doing ghost castanets, a favorite move. But then, out of nowhere, he snaps and goes fully mad in a jacuzzi, chucking water in the air, and diving into a swimming pool. Finally, we see the façade of Mart (song-of-the-summer-penning pop giant) slipping from the reality of DJ Mart (man who paid two models and a director to spend their Sunday afternoon making a three minute and 41 second music video on an overcast day), the real DJ Mart fully formed in front of us and diving out of a jacuzzi and into a pool, his sins and his frantic madness all washed away:
When I see DJ Mart dive into a pool I ask myself, Would I enjoy hanging out with DJ Mart? I think I would. I have a thing where I like hanging out with wounded egotistical men, because I am destined to become one, and for now they make me feel better about myself. Plus, by all accounts, Mart is a privately-educated son of a multimillionaire who decamped to Colombia to pursue his music career on the side of having some well-paid job in security solutions, so you'd imagine he knows how to party.
But is there redemption in "Let the Sun Shine"? I think that there is. Listen closely to the rap breakdown, which starts circa 2:35 with the tennis court set-to:
So it's time
To let the sun shine
Gimme a minute to contemplate whether I try
To put into words
What I can't describe
I'm so high
Yeah girl it's true but then
Some will call me a fool but when I'm with you
Well that stuff it don't matter
Love, peace, fun, and good banter
Love. Peace. Fun. Good banter. Can anyone argue with that? Love. Peace. Fun. Good banter. The four central tenets of our society. You can build cathedrals on love and peace and fun and good banter. You can build cities and you can build gods. Does our generation have hope? Not a whole lot of it. Housing prospects? Career opportunities? This world is a lottery. Do we have love and peace and fun and good banter? We do, in spades. When the world is rolling hard against you, when it's an overcast day and you can't hit a tennis ball cleanly and you're talking to yourself in an empty room while an amateur cameraman watches wobblingly onwards, just remember to open your arms to the sky and thank the universe for giving us all we have, for giving us love and peace and fun and DJ Mart, and thank it most crucially of all for giving us good banter.
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