Last time we saw the Roots in a video was for intense verse/no chorus Black Thought rant “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction).” To find a visual more in keeping with the Philly crew’s video for the Patrick Stump-guesting “Birthday Girl,” you have to go back a bit further, past ?uestlove singing a late-night “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” all the way to what we called “7 Roots 1 Cup.” Well, sorta. “Birthday Girl” features the Vice and Current 93-approved, Smashing Pumpkins-friendly porn star Sasha Grey in a playful, innuendo-filled birthday party. Grey went uncredited and remained kinda shadowy in her music video turn in the Pumpkins’ “Superchrist,” but here she’s literally the center of attention. We realize it’s supposed to resemble a coming-of-age birthday gang bang (check the beef jerky jerking, the camera angles, etc), but like the cake her friend brings her, the song, imagery, and Grey’s performance are just too sweet. Yeah, even when the one dude needs help wiping off his fingers.
Kick it, 4AD t-shirt guy. In addition to the official version, there’s a great one floating around, another birthday girl finding a way to ring in another year. This one has more dancing, more lesbians, and more Cougar action.
Cute video(s). Now we wanna go get drunk at somebody’s house party. And even though it’s a really great song, it will not be on the Roots forthcoming Rising Down. There is a good reason for that, at least. Billboard enlightens us:
The intended first single from the Roots’ new album, which features Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, has fallen off of “Rising Down,” due April 29 via Def Jam.
Drummer and co-producer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson tells Billboard.com that the track, “Birthday Girl,” has been bumped simply because it does not fit the tone of what he calls “the most incendiary, political album of our career to date.”
“It was just sticking out like a sore thumb,” Thompson says of “Birthday Girl,” which was built from an idea that’s been around since sessions for the Roots’ 2004 album “The Tipping Point.” “Initially it was going to kick-start the record … but then that didn’t work. Then we were going to have a ‘halftime’ thing where it was gonna come in the middle of the record as a break from the political thing, but that didn’t work, either.
“Then we tried to make it the last song on the record, and that wasn’t working,” he continues. “Then we tried to make it the hidden track, and that wasn’t effective. Basically the album was complete; it starts with ‘Rising Down’ and it ends with ‘Rising Up,’ so that makes more sense to me.”
Don’t take it hard, Stump, the track is still front runner for Summer Jam ’08 (expect this all up and down the Jersey shore, yo).
Rising Down is out 4/29 on Def Jam.