06.04.12 by Jeff

Sixteen Saltines

Jack White Sixteen Saltines music video
Stereogum declared “Sixteen Saltines” by Jack White the best music video of the week. In my opinion, this is either a failed attempt at narrative or an intentionally abstract treatment that wasn’t pushed far enough.

As I watched the video it dawned on me how many times this month I’ve decided not to post videos for the same reasons. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the video and other videos like it.

Watch the video below.

Directed by AG Rojas.

whatupag.com




Jeff
Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.








  • Jack

    I really hope I’m never killed by anyone in jorts.

  • Troy

    It held my attention the whole way through which very few music videos do… so I gets thumbs up from me.

    • http://www.jeffhamada.com/ Jeff

      i guess that’s what i’m asking – is it enough for something to hold our attention? i feel like our expectations for entertainment have sunk so far below what they used to be

      • caleb

        no kidding. good god i hope we’re not that far sunk. it is a variation on stimulation. and somehow that’s enough? George Steiner’s ‘Real Presences’ comes to mind, where he insists that there is no stupid art that lasts. I can’t see this video being remembered, or sadly, many of Jack White’s tunes for that matter.

  • Tebbe

    VHS is the new Super 8

  • Ben

    Its like a mixture of Gummo and that scene in Easy Rider when they take acid.

    • Alex

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Moon

    Yes.
    A triumph of thinking that style matters. And too much time spent planning; probably.
    Including Black himself was the failiure.
    If he’s in, then where is the narrative including his character?
    If he’s out, then pushing further and faster would have become an option.

    • http://www.jeffhamada.com/ Jeff

      who is Black?

      • Octo enter Orbit

        Black is the new White

      • http://www.jeffhamada.com/ Jeff

        haha touche

  • http://blakebuesnel.com Blake

    It’s experimental motive/narrative. It rocks. Like rocket socks. I love it.

  • Droolin

    i never get music videos….they move too fast for me haha

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/55029639@N03/ Nat

    It’s like a bunch of scenes from other videos mashed together. I see no narrative. Needs more push.

  • steven

    just video noise. totally with you on this one jeff

  • Perri Salka

    its not necessarily a narrative, but theres an underlying theme for sure. To me its just an over-dramatic portrait of kids doing shit theyre not supposed to… things we all kind of did when we were in junior high and highschool… its semi-nostaligic for me – i didn’t necessarily do what those kids were doing in the video but it just reminds me of the good ol’ days when you had too much free time to get fucked up and cause mischief.

    • http://www.jeffhamada.com/ Jeff

      and then float really high into the air while krumping… there are just too many elements that don’t work with the idea of creating nostalgia around trouble making as a kid

  • http://jasonoldak.com jason

    Im all about eccentric off the wall music videos, but it would be nice if there was some sort of through line, and not relying on style over substance. Its shock for shocks sake, am I wrong?

  • http://fsb.oici.de eon

    thumbs up! the view under the american hood is always frightend (from european sight)

  • Nikko

    Watched it without the sound on, but…

    It’s fun to do bad things.

  • Nikko

    First post above and now i’m already spamming.

    Just had to say, there is and always has been a sea of crap that individuals have to choose from and judge how it influences them. MTV has felt one note to me for awhile and i dont have cable, so i dont even see them, this was a change of pace.

  • http://www.rodrigoaviles.cl/ Rodrigo

    i can see your point.
    per example i really like the video for El Guincho’s song “Bombay” made by CANADA. because is really aesthetic per aesthetic reasons, centered in the weird and the sexy. is like my tumblr dashboard made video. and it don’t try to make a grand narrative of it, just show short unrelated sequences.

    • http://www.jeffhamada.com/ Jeff

      ya i think randomism can be effective – CANADA, Andreas Nilsson, Keith Schofield have all done this quite well – it just doesn’t work for me here

  • Alex

    It seems like the narrative is that the world has suddenly become completely devoid of adults, and kids are left to their own resources. That’s why they’re exploring the neighbourhood, trashing abandoned or incomplete houses etc… They are adopting their own wild civilization, with tribal elements (tattoos, body paint etc) then they discover one last adult (Black), ensnare him and then decide to kill him? That’s what I got from it.

    Catchy song anyway.

    • Nikko

      Good take on it. Had to watch it again after reading this.

      Also the title 16 saltines may be referencing the saltine challenge, aka something stupid that kids try. And being the age 16 which is when kids start driving, something dangerous that society lets them do or even makes them crave.

      Lotta replies for a video that doesn’t push it far enough. I guess it could have gone for “A Serbian Film” style.

      • Josh

        If you read how this song came into existence, it was his daughter wanting 16 saltines as a snack.  Could this possibly be a reference to say, “Lord of the Flies” in the sense that children will revert back to a more primal state with the absence of adults to civilize them?

  • feehee

    It reminds me of Gummo

  • http://simeonfrohm.tumblr.com Simeon Frohm

    Another musicvideo for me, BUT! AG Rojas have a unique expression. I think I’m tired of the “reflection-thing” of people, (I don’t know a good word for this in english but we have a good in swedish, it’s: BERAKTELSE or BETRAKTA). Its a thing that a lot of directors/filmmakers are stuck with.. only showing like “how it is”, “people are like this”, “it could be like this”, “just look and see” “be entertained”..
    I think directors and filmmakers would tuch us more if someone would be brave to really say something, daring to take the chance to be hated for their opinion.. if they had one.. this video is just a reflection (betraktelse) of youth

  • Jerry

    when people started flying, that was the end for me. seems harmony korrine directed it. i like the music but have trouble imagining this as the best music video of any week.

  • http://www.unchalee.com Leee

    I kinda like it, not so many vids these days hold my attention till the end.

  • tanner

    I understand your reservations, Jeff. To me it seemed that the director was referencing Harmony Korine, Kids and Gummo. And in light of that, Jack White seems completely out of place in this piece. Each scene he was in would have been enhanced without him. It could have been interesting, but they fell short.

  • http://www.jennaegarrett.com Jenna

    I watched White’s “Sixteen Saltines” and Rufus Wainwright’s “Out Of The Game” one right after the other. I was incredibly disappointed with both. I like that music videos can be avant-garde and push the boundaries of the medium … but these both fall short. No narrative, no point. Being absurd doesn’t equal genius. Everyone might as well be wearing animal hipster masks … it’s a cheap trick.

  • kyle

    “Some artists confuse new materials with new ideas. There is nothing worse than seeing art that wallows in gaudy baubles. By and large most artists who are attracted to these materials are the ones that lack the stringency of mind that would enable them to use the materials well” Sol Lewitt

    Shallow “art”. Is it enough to be visually interesting? The answer is no.

  • Ftdonato

    No objective, a nice song without a video

  • Adrian

    Needs more Man Wolfs, obvs.

  • Teel

    I understand what you mean about it not being pushed very far, however I did enjoy every second of it.

  • black sundays/allen price

    I think your criticism is an insightful one. The trend to have stories presented in slick ways in music videos is still being figured out by most directors. It’s a fine line between beating the audience over the head with too simple a story and drawing them in with a slick style of storytelling. It seems really common right now for the story to get lost in the edit. They all can’t be Saman Keshavaraz.

  • 404 page not found

    Pure Americana.

  • ian

    cmon, is not a harmony korine copy, in my oppinion i think is a critic to the xxi century teens that jack refers in the song freedom at 21(No responsibility, no guilt or morals cloud her judgement, … Cause she’s got freedom in the 21st Century.)
    in the video jack is alone all the time, he is NOT a part of the carzy modern guys.. “I’m one side of the boat”