Originally published June 14, 2012 on Intersections.
Passion Pit’s “Take a Walk” is already my summer 2012 anthem of choice — the thudding guitar line and that inappropriately catchy hook are perfect for romping around the city, and the floaty, wistful vocal line is perfect for kicking back on sun-baked grass and, y’know, reflecting. Much has been made of the recession-era themes all over the lyrics — they lose their pension funds, they promise their wives that they’ll soon come home, I remind myself that times could be much worse, etc. — and how the song captures that line between hopeless and hopeful, but the video drives this home: it’s about growing up in today’s economy, how striking out on one’s own inspires pure terror in today’s youth, and the free-fall of journeying from lush, pastoral suburbs into cities, into that thing they call “the work force,” trying to find one’s place in America. Way to make me feel things, Passion Pit.
Visually, it’s a stunner, a vertigo-inducing trip through America’s many corners. After the jump, more of my reactions and some thoughts from fellow Intersections writer Christine Wang on the visual aesthetics.
CW: Between the delicate glittering of the intro and the muted colors, the video showcases the disparity between 90s-television promises and the perpetual case-of-the-Mondays that is reality. “Take a Walk” may be an early summer anthem, but the video is far from its pop, oversaturated chart-topper peers. The Philly skyline doesn’t scintillate and the sky is only briefly blue before the whole frame goes topsy-turvy and dives back down to the streets, where a faceless woman’s papers are blowing about the street. The video is clearly filled with hesitant flubburbian (flubber+suburbian) movement. The plummeting view of a skyscraper abruptly interrupted by a vase of flowers crashing to the ground is uncomfortable enough for us to ignore the possible metaphor for events in our own lives.
ET: Maybe I take my music too personally, but the clear movement from suburban America through the woods, that gorgeous forest bridge and the farm all the way to the bleak cityscapes almost askew and those rooftops set against that ever-present gray sky just says to me: hello, metaphor for our own lives. For all of us suburban-’90s kids trying to make it in this scary new world, Passion Pit’s sure hit a nerve.
A slightly edited transcript of our IM conversation as we watched the video:
CW: pov of a bouncy ball?
CW: flubber esque motion
CW: also philly skyline
ET: recession era all over this ish
CW: red balloon
ET: growing up + moving to city
ET: AHH i want to go home