The art of the humble pop promo is a generally neglected one; videos may eternally unspool on youtube, in coffee-shops, gyms and bowling alleys, but what seemed ground-breaking in the 80’s is passé now. You’ll search in vain for a attention-grabber like Aha’s Take on Me, and yet every so often someone knocks the ball out of the park, notching up billions of views from loyal spambots but getting not a word from frosty critics. So today we try and reset the mood with an appreciation for the video for the song We’re Good by Dua Lipa.
Known for such propulsive dance anthems as Physical, Dua Lipa is imagined here as a lounge singer on a luxury ship with an unmistakable Titanic vibe. As she sings to diners during the dinner rush, we consider two lobsters watching from a holding tank, waiting to be taken to the kitchen and boiled alive for a rich person’s meal. A moment of understanding seems to pass between Dua Lipa and one lobster, experiencing a moment of existential catharsis when realising their fate. But a last minute reprieve becomes more permanent when the ship starts to sink, flooding the room with water and popping our lobster friend to safety as Dua Lipa watches from a lifeboat and fireworks launch above the tragic scene.
Death, death, death comes sweeping down, filthy death the leering clown, death on wings, death by surprise, failing evil from worldly eyes, death that spawns as life succumbs, while death and love, two kindred drums, beat the time till judgement day, an actor in a passion play, without beginning, without end, evermore, amen.
So what? Directors Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia somehow cram more into four minutes than most features do in 90. The plight of the lobster might reflect a pop performer’s apprehension when being consumed by the industry itself. Or a MeToo meaning would be a good fit today, when an innocent rescued by a tidal wave of change that blows the establishment away. Either way, the detail is ornate, the mood subversive, the star looks commanding, and the visuals pop and please.
We’re Good is a great song, with adult reflections on a failed relationship that was little more than ‘sleeping and cocaine’. Creating a mythic aura around the star effectively, it also offers an elliptical short story with a positive ending, although perhaps not for the general passengers. Life may be a shipwreck, but for the unsuspecting lobsters everywhere, it looks like we’re good.