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“Repeat Stuff” video tiptoes weird line

October 7, 2014

Bo Burnham, a performer too dynamic to categorize as either a comedian or musician, released a hilarious music video for his song “Repeat Stuff.” The video tiptoes a weird line between comedy and social commentary, falling neither toward satire or art.

Bo Burnham trades his trademark introspective stage persona for a confident demeanor in the music video for “Repeat Stuff.” The video itself is a high-budget play, undoubtedly to increase revenue, which is ironic for a song condemning “corporately owned” pop stars. I’m imagining Bo shaking his head while reading this review thinking, That’s the point, you dummy. If that ever really does happen, I sincerely apologize, Bo – uhum, Mr. Burnham.

While I personally love Burnham’s genuine, yet distant artistic personality that frequently peeks through during his shows, the manufactured video appeals to a different audience. It’s more accessible comedy that still manages to deliver Burnham’s anti-popular culture agenda in a way that even the thickest of skulls might consider One Direction’s potential toxicity.

In some respects, the “Repeat Stuff” video is a bolder, crasser attack than the dark, analytical humor that found Justin Bieber between the cross hairs at one of Burnham’s shows. Familiar images of shiny-lipped pop stars wearing deep v’s shared the screen with more powerful images in which Burnham sings generic lyrics (“your finger prints are like no other”) to a chair occupied by a new, different, non-descript babe every few seconds. He even escalates a fun, flirty high school parking lot scene into a devil-worshipping séance. (Do NOT look up séance on Google images, even if it is to check the spelling before you put it in your article. It will give you the creeps.) This particular scene features none other than the up-and-coming actress, “Dead girl with a bloody pig head on her chest, surrounded by candles.”

On my first watch, the music video definitely felt less dynamic because of the format. But like “Inception,” I catch something new every time I watch it*. Burnham hides a couple treats for the viewer that you’re sure to miss if you’re not looking for them. I consulted Reddit for some help finding them all.

In the same, guttural Devil voice, Burnham says, “The river shall run red with the blood of virgins,” he says “swag.” Still not sure what this could mean (I totally do, but I’m supposed to be unbiased, or whatever).

The music video also features a series of flashing hidden messages. Here are my favorites: JFK KILLED HIMSELF, WATCH THE MINDY PROJECT TUESDAY NIGHT ON FOX, GOD DIED IN 1993.

Watch Bo Burnham’s full standup special “what.” here.

*I have never seen “Inception,” but I pretended like I had for popular culture literacy reasons. I’m so sorry for lying to you.

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