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Matt & Kim Get Naked: Cheap Trick Or Artful Marketing Ploy?

The New Now

I was all set to start researching and write about Cage The Elephant, which I've been meaning to do for since I first Shazamed "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" back in early March. Then I stumbled upon a new video by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based duo Matt & Kim that's creating a stir on the Internet. I figure Cage The Elephant can wait a few more days, because this clip is heating up the web now. Rather than fill your head with preconceived notions, take a look at the video below.

Now that you've seen it, what do you think? Some other bloggers have called the duo's decision to strip off their clothes in a music video a cheap publicity stunt to drum up interest in their music. I suppose, if that was their intent, they've succeeded. Stripping down in a video to garner some buzz is certainly nothing new, but Matt & Kim--along with the clip's directors Taylor Cohen and Otto Arsenault, cinematograper Ben Wolf and visual effects artist Steve Ilou--have delivered an interesting take.

The opening segment, in which Matt & Kim are simply strutting down the street, reminds me a bit of the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony," only Matt & Kim's "Lessons Learned" isn't nearly as good as a tune, and the pair isn't singing the song a la Richard Ashcroft. Things get a little loopy as the duo starts to strip down as onlookers gawk on, but I wonder if they're looking at Matt & Kim in their various stages of undress, the cameras, or merely looking at the two people in front of the cameras and trying to figure out who they are. I take it that the police officers in the clip are paid actors, since they allow both Matt & Kim to slip away. The grand finale, in which a speeding bus literally wipes out a euphoric Kim, is fairly unexpected. Overall, even with the nudity, the clip leaves me feeling considerably less dirty than watching the latest hot teen thang cavorting around a stripper pole wearing next-to-nothing in some lame excuse for a music video. There's something seemingly innocent about Matt & Kim as they strip down that's almost non-sexual. Could be that Kim seems androgynous with no bra and her boy-style briefs and it doesn't seem that the pair is attempting to flaunt their sexuality, but rather merely bask in their birthday suits for the sake of the camera.

Whatever the case, the clip doesn't offend me in any way whatsoever and has succeeded at least by making this writer take another look at Matt & Kim. Before viewing the video, I had exactly one track by the duo in my iTunes library. I now have six. No, I didn't actually buy these tracks. I downloaded them for free from Matt & Kim's website. Matt & Kim are among a growing legion of acts that are willing to give their music away--and even take off their clothes--to be heard above the din. I think they've succeeded. While I'm not completely knocked out by the song "Lessons Learned," I like the video and Matt & Kim are on my musical radar, and yours too, if you're still with me.

Check out the clip for "Daylight," which like "Lessons Learned," is from the band's 2009 album Grand. While this video might not be as visually stunning as "Lessons Learned," it's still pretty amusing and I think it's a better track. How about you? Do you think Matt & Kim's strip down in "Lessons Learned" is a cheap trick for publicity or a smart, artful way for a band to gain attention?

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