Video Hangover: “Drinking In L.A.” / “Steal My Sunshine”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Drinking in L.A.”
Bran Van 3000, 1997

“Steal My Sunshine”
Len, 1999

Completing the New Radicals, Bran Van 3000, Len late-90s trifecta.

Bran Van 3000 – “Drinking In L.A.”
Before there was Broken Social Scene, there was Bran Van 3000, the original Canadian super-collective. There appear to be between 3 and 52 people in the band, but it’s difficult to tell (from the song or the video) how many of them are actually performing. Sounds to me like they only need one diva, one stupid-ironic “rapper” and a guy to turn the drum machine on, but they also brought along two backup divas, half of Devo, a black guy, a guitar player, a housekeeper, the other half of Devo, and some dude with short hair. You’d think that with all of those people around they wouldn’t have had to jack lyrics from both Snoop Dogg and a Pringles Commercial. As far as visuals go, it doesn’t help that at 2:44 they pull one of my least favorite video moves of all time, the cut from contrived set-up to live concert (like, here’s proof that we all do stuff!), and then cap it off at 3:29 with my second least-favorite move: the guys smashing synthesizers like they were guitars. Because synthesizers are the new guitar! And rock stars smash things! And — well, you get the idea.

Len – “Steal My Sunshine”
What is it with Canadians and California? I know Len was on their one-hit wonder tour, but did they have to blow their whole budget on tank tops and scooters? For some reason I thought Len was a brother-sister combo (or at least I thought it until I saw them getting frisky at 3:11), but apparently they travel with a whole hockey team. From the opening montage, it’s clear that things are not going to go well. Guy hilariously climbing pole in airport (:10)? Sure! Fake karate kick (:14)? Sounds fun! Everybody keeps acting all “pimp” and “gangsta,” but it comes off like Limp Bizkit fan club convention (see: pugil stick challenge tackle at 1:38 and plaid shorts convertible guy at 3:08). But hey, the song’s pretty catchy.

Got a candidate for Video Hangover? Email tips at stereogum dot com.