Last week the interwebs were abuzz over the new Broken Bells video for “The Ghost Inside” starring Christina Hendricks.  Some people were not impressed, some people dug it, many people made the connection to Christina Hendricks’s sci-fi days, most people just threw it up there without any opinions, and everyone commented about how Christina Hendricks is a babe.

This great Slant Magazine article goes into the most about it – loving the direction, style and cinematic references in the video, loving the song, loving Christina Hendricks, but then is really bummed about how depressingly it ends (me too!).  Check it out for yourself:

As far as I could find though, no one actually asked the question: does the story in the video actually fit the song?

Tonally, it definitely does.  The juxtaposition of the warm retro scenes with the cold space reality really serves the feel of the song – it’s melancholy and chilly, while still bouncy and will get stuck in your head.  I really liked the description in Slant:

“the sort of lilting, sorrowful indie electro-pop that pricks up my ears and plays my heartstrings like a keytar.”

Though it does make the song sound like a total downer, which the melody isn’t so much.

Whether it fits the lyrics, though, I’m going to give it a solid B+.  Let’s take a look, shall we?  First, take a listen to just the song:

Broken Bells “The Ghost Inside”
Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside by Rock the house

Now the lyrics…

She sold her love to a modern man
Cause solid currency’s the hardest to land
All of that money helps you cover your ass
Don’t let the ladyfinger blow in your hand

Give it up
For that daughter
She’s a star tonight
Without warning
She gave up
The ghost inside

Making the choice of “robots” is definitely an interesting take on “modern man.”  And director Jacob Gentry does well executing the metaphor – in the video Android Christina isn’t selling love to get where she wants to go, but something equally vital to existence: physical pieces of herself.  Seeing her give up each hand and leg does a great job highlighting the sarcasm in the chorus.  Sometimes sacrifices are necessary to get where you want to go, but there is a point where it’s just not worth it.


Just like a whiskey bottle drained on the floor
She got no future, just a life to endure
This Good Samaritan is shaking her hard
Too late to leave him now the song’s in the can

And there is a point where you won’t be able to get back what you had to give up.

Give it up
For that daughter
She’s a star tonight
Without warning
She gave up
The ghost inside

You call it chivalry
You never pulled a punch for free
You ever wonder why they had to move on
This phony honor code
That puts you on your throne
A double standard
You invoke when you want

In my opinion, from the bridge on is where it doesn’t quite match.  I get the idea that no matter how wonderful or worthy the cause you were fighting for is – it doesn’t matter if you give up too much of yourself to appreciate it, or become a worse person for it.  But at the same time the video doesn’t really show Android Christina becoming malicious or display a “phony honor code.”

For that a daughter
She’s a star tonight
Without warning
She gave up
The ghost inside

Was it all for show?
Don’t turn into one of them
Turning another page
Trust me darlin’
I’m carving a moat through the dust in your town
Crawling over rubble
Just to serve ya …

Though I tend to wonder why?

The space janitor cameo by the artists (Broken Bells is comprised of Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins – just in case you didn’t know) and their role fixing up Android Christina does fit this verse, and in the context of the video the final line “Though I tend to wonder why?” could be construed to mean that they fixed her up and helped her get to the resort planet, even though they didn’t understand why knowing the planet was dead.  Based on the rest of the song however, their hesitation should have been because they didn’t like the person that her quest turned her into.

Overall though, a really stylish, creative and mostly spot on interpretation of a great song.  It took me on a ride that I was happy to be on – I especially liked the scene where she went to grab the martini glass in retro-dream-world and missed due to her lack of hand – so poignant!  So heartbreaking!

Oh, and it kinda goes without saying, but Christina Hendricks is a babe.

But hey, I’m just me.  What do you think about the video?  Brilliant interpretation of the song?  Pandering too much to sci-fi nerds?  Did you even care?