Since we’re mostly football-less for now and still in the middle of a pandemic, allow me to share some of what I did the last time that was the case.
Ramble of the Day
Back in April when we had little fresh content to keep us occupied, my older sister took us down a rabbit hole of boy bands from the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s an introductory list of songs from the most famous groups of the times — the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, but going down that path was also the inspiration for my Hoddle about LFO’s “Summer Girls” a couple of months ago. I don’t plan to bombard you with recommendations or anything like that, but naturally I have run into a few things I’ve found particularly interesting.
Anyway, today I’d like to discuss the architecture and interior design in the Backstreet Boys’ 1995 music video for “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.” It’s a bit of a departure from the videos where they’ve embraced the cheesy nature of boy bands, as was the case for the 1995 video for this song (perhaps more on that on a different day). It isn’t exactly uncommon to create a futuristic world on a soundstage, but I find that the 1998 video is trying demonstrate some level of practicality that, for example, the video for “Larger Than Life” a year later.
I’m presenting these a little bit out of order because it makes more sense that way, but the video takes place in a clearly futuristic world in an apartment building with an unbelievable layout. I can’t really get over it, for some reason, because they are very clearly trying to give us a future in a very present context, but enough of it seems too far removed from my present. (I think the real reason I was surprised is because they showed the interior before the exterior, and because they never show the exterior in something like this, I was shocked.)
Regardless, each Backstreet Boy gets their own furnished apartment, and clearly there are very few restrictions on how each resident can personalize his place because they all took their liberties. We begin with the normal ones, and I’ll ask you to forgive the bad screenshots because this video occasionally didn’t lend itself to good ones. Howie Dorough’s is weirdly normal because it feels like it came out of a present-day prestige drama show about a country music record label that isn’t very good.
AJ McLean’s space clearly needs some furnishings, but as far as future living spaces go, this one seems normal enough, though it does beg the question of why we always associate our future with sterile surroundings.
While McLean’s had a lot of light, Kevin Richardson’s space could really use some. It’s so gloomy and I think I’m beginning to question the people in charge of set design for this video, because while I love that no one space looks like the other, I am not entirely sure what we’re going for here in an overall sense.
Nick Carter’s space is clearly an attempt at a futuristic vibe, with some electronic posters of superheroes, it appears. It could use some furnishings and is pretty weird, as are his pants, but it isn’t the weirdest one!
This very strange room is Brian Littrell’s, complete with the weirdest bed frame I’ve seen. I am very passionate in my dislike for tan colored rooms so the overall impact is awful, but I really can’t over the bed frame. Additionally, I understand the advantages of matching outfits with your room for the visual impact of a music video, but Littrell’s all tan look is so, so unpleasant.
There is one more room in this building, it appears, and it’s a shared space, location unknown. Wikipedia describes it as “a cylindrical tunnel which has a rotating round porthole at the near end,” which I will guess is in the basement of this building. I’d love to imagine a practical purpose for it, but I can’t.
The rooms together feel very messy, which confuses me but also amuses me. Every last one of these rooms is terrible in its own right (as are most of the outfits), but maybe that’s what makes it enjoyable in its own way. It’s a pretty different approach for something that lends itself so easily to cheesiness (again, see the 1995 video) to the point where the video isn’t actually about the story and less about the set and costumes. It comes off like a fun exercise, even if the results are weird, and isn’t it lovely to enjoy the ride even if isn’t a perfect one?
tl;dr: Please just enjoy these screenshots of the very weird setting of the Backstreet Boys’ 1998 music video for “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.”
Stay informed, read this: actor and producer Michael B. Jordan teamed up with Color of Change to create #ChangeHollywood, a roadmap to inclusion for decision makers in the industry to follow, as covered by Rebecca Ford for The Hollywood Reporter
Links of the Day
Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp won LMA manager of the season.
Concacaf changed its World Cup qualifying format for the 2022 World Cup, with eight teams participating in the final round instead of six.
The USWNT’s Megan Rapinoe will host Seeing America, a special for HBO Sports featuring critical cultural conversations with notable Americans.
A longer read: David Hytner interviews Leroy Sané on joining Bayern Munich and playing for Pep Guardiola for The Guardian