Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Disaster in harmony: Michel Gondry's video for the Living Sisters

March 2, 2011 |  2:49 pm

In this video for the Living Sisters' song "How Are You Doing?," disaster has never sounded so sweet. And disaster is everywhere, albeit in cutesy form, in Michel Gondry's vision of a day in the life of Eleni Mandell, Becky Stark and Inara George, the latter of whom, at the time of the video shoot, was four months' pregnant with twins.The lyrics may tell of an afternoon of ho-hummery, but Gondry, a punishing Frenchman, has other tests of fortitude in mind for these harmonizing ladies.

Split into three panels, we see each Living Sister wrestling with her own debacle. Mandell's airplane is struck by lightning and plunges down to Earth. Stark runs out of a burning house. George, eyeing her big tummy in the mirror, has her water suddenly break -- much to her doggy's delight -- and has to take a cab to the hospital. All of them, because they are California girls, experience the Big One (or One of the Ones), which Gondry helpfully illustrates with some miniature automobiles falling into the most adorable lil' rupture you've ever seen. Nevertheless, they all manage to make it to the hospital, but not without some other catastrophes and mishaps on the way involving masked robbers and motorcycle toughs. Yep, not much going on, what about you?

The video debuted today on Vevo, a joint venture among Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and investor Abu Dhabi Media Co.  that’s been around for a little over a year. According to comscore.com, it was the second most popular place to watch videos in January 2010, with 51 million viewers, still a distant runner-up to the 144 million who tune it at Google Sites, driven primarily by YouTube.

Gondry, who has created music videos for Björk, the White Stripes, the Rolling Stones, Radiohead and fellow L.A. songstress Mia Doi Todd, had more than 100 people work on this video, which  makes use of special digital effects and lots of miniature sets. "How Are You Doing?" is from the Livings Sisters' album "Love to Live," released last year. "Run for Cover," an EP, is expected from the threesome later this year. If they're keeping to the theme of opposites, will the video for "Run for Cover" show them all filing their nails, watching TV?

-- Margaret Wappler