“Pushing Up,” the music video from Mr. Flannery and His Feelings, releases today. And it’s hecka-cool! “Pushing Up” is from Try Your Hardest, Mr. Flannery’s debut album. Mr. Flannery and His Feelings is the musical project, the brainchild, of Michael Flannery, producer, sound engineer, arranger, sideman, collaborator and human sounding board off whom artists bounce ideas. The idea supporting the project is the illumination and explication of the oblique feelings mankind experiences, but doesn’t necessarily acknowledge, like eureka-moments, vacillation, twinges, novel discoveries and remarkable insights.
Stylistically, Mr. Flannery and His Feelings is difficult to tag because his sound incorporates so many stylistic elements, ranging from synthpop, hard rock, new wave, punk, funky and calypso. Mr. Flannery puts all these various musical ingredients into a giant sonic blender, hits frappe, and pours out a brand of purified, molecular music that is his and his alone.
The intro to “Pushing Up” revolves around a reedy synth and hand-claps, followed by Mr. Flannery’s unique voice, which vaguely resembles a cross between Pee Wee Herman and David Byrne of the Talking Heads. When the other instruments jump in, the melody established by the introductory synth assumes depth and sparkle. The melody exudes elements of hip hop and new wave ensconced in a synthpop wrapper. Spangled guitar riffs add brightly layered accents that are complemented by the genial vocal harmonies running through the tune, along with excited cheers, happy howls and ebullient yodels.
The lyrics to “Pushing Up” celebrate the magnetism of the mundane, the activities we perform everyday with religious faithfulness, but rarely recognize their significance simply because, on the surface, they seem so insignificant. In other words, we’ve assimilated our daily rituals into our lives and dismissed them as inconsequential.
“If you ask me now where I am, where I stand / I’m pushing down with my feet / I’m pushing up with my hands / Let me introduce you to / All the little things I do.”
The video, directed by Gabriel Judet-Weinshel, depicts a surreal dance of the humdrum of life. A couple wakes in the morning and gets out of bed; the paper boy delivers the morning newspaper; the husband shaves and then cooks breakfast; the couple eats breakfast together at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and nibbling at toast in synchrony. At this point, colorful flowers float across the scene, representing the bedazzling import of such monotonous and ordinary actions. As the couple hangs the wash out to dry, the husband dances beneath the clothesline. Then the wife runs and jumps into the pool, performing a cannonball. Throughout the video, the camera cuts sporadically to Mr. Flannery’s Isaac Asimov-like visage, going round and round in the center hole of a record spinning on a turntable. Near the end, the couple is on stage, backed by a band, performing live in concert.
The thrust of the video is that every aspect of life is magical and should be cherished – even the dull and routine.
“Pushing Up” has it going on! Mr. Flannery makes a confection out of the tedious and boring. The melody is contagious with buoyant enthusiasm, while the lyrics provide listeners jolly hooks to sing along with. And the video delivers a cinematic display of the miraculous power of life’s most dreary rituals, if we would just adjust our perspective. I’m going to download the album and see what other insights Mr. Flannery might provide.
Find out more about Mr. Flannery and His Feelings here.
Download “Pushing Up” here.