The Popstream: Jay Reatard, ''See/Saw''


There is no more boring argument among music geeks than the one dedicated to what is and isn't officially Punk Rock. Aside from the "not giving half a shit what anyone else thinks" aspect of it, which seems pretty crucial to most genres and most walks of life anyhow, it mostly seems like a question of fashion, semantics, and some nebulously rebellious attitude that's been co-opted and rewired so often it seems kind of empty. That said, Memphis' Jay Reatard is punk rock by at least one important standard in my book: he is not afraid to look completely unserious, especially in his videos.

I mean, c'mon, look at this clip. He's riding around in a shopping cart, playing with a tiny little dog, and wandering out of some weird railroad trackside backwoods forest strumming on a flying V. There's so many goofy non-sequitirs in this -- the moment where he tries to open some mystery container, gives up and tosses it aside, the bit where he's lying down on the railroad tracks with rocks over his eyes and mouth, the brief deodorant shot -- that I am seriously debating whether or not anyone should be credited as being a "director" for this clip. ("Just run around and throw stuff. Yeah, like that -- more of that.") And when you write a song that sounds like it could stand alongside the best circa-'81 material from the Replacements and features the goofball/brilliant refrain "she creeps me out/she crept me in again," you're doing something wrong if the video isn't of a bunch of dudes screwing around aimlessly.