It’s the birthday of Onesie bassist Zack Fanelli, and what better way to celebrate than to debut the brand new music video for the Brooklyn power pop band’s “Final Days of Nineteen”!
The video sees front-man Ben Haberland taking a solitary stroll through the recreational areas of Long Lake, NY, where he spent childhood summer vacations sleeping on the ground, building campfires, and watching bears play in trash at the local garbage dump. The return to the origin of nostalgic memories of youth holds significance in relation to the song, which deals with the human habit of idealizing the past and being dissatisfied with the present. In the chorus, Haberland tallies decades as arbitrary markers of progress, and nearly as separate lives altogether: “Final days of nineteen / Same goals as twenty-nine / Same goes for thirty-nine / Will I make it out of life alive / This time?” Obviously one cannot literally exit ‘life’ still living, and as such these lyrics are more a reference to Haberland’s concern with making it through another decade without dissociating from a life that he may feel is on rails or isn’t progressing in a manner that is satisfactory (“And eventually / Become a character in your own story / Screenagers / Sign the affidavit please”). There’s also a conflict between nature and city communicated via layered imagery, likely representing the un-molded state of childhood and the more rigid, crafted state of adulthood, respectively.
Two motifs we found particularly interesting (whether they were intentionally symbolic or not) were that of the tennis racket and the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man™. The video opens with Haberland wandering about a tennis court, frequently gesturing as though he were playing it like a guitar. There’s a cut away in French New Wave cinema fashion and the racket has been replaced by a real guitar, but Haberland’s demeanor and mannerisms remain unchanged: whether it’s a tennis racket or a guitar, he’s going through the same motions. Additionally, the tube man can be seen as a representation of Haberland himself: moving, yet stuck in place. The black-and-white (evoking the past), subtitled (which plays both on the Godard-isms of the video, as well as the catchy, karaoke sing-a-long nature of the song) video is minimalist yet dense with symbolism, as well as intimate and yet oddly distant.
Personal yet hazy.
Like an old memory.
“Final Days of Nineteen” is the third song from the band’s recently released Umpteenth to receive a video, following “Award Show” and “Customers”. We, along with the likes of Austin Town Hall, NeuFutur and others, strongly recommend you give a listen to the full album, which has been favorably compared to the work of Big Star, Shoes and Pavement. Our contribution to the comparison pool is Big Dipper, particularly their stellar 2012 comeback album Crashes on the Platinum Planet, with its dual guitar attack, layered vocals, abundantly quirky and often absurd lyrics, huge hooks and addictive melodies.
Onesie’s ‘Umpteenth’ is available to purchase from the band here or from their label Dadstache Records here, digital, LP and cassette. Be sure to follow Onesie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud to keep up-to-date with the band, and watch the ridiculous video below of Ben showing off the tri-color LP version of ‘Umpteenth’.