Simon Vozick-Levinson
April 16, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Two of my favorite breakout indie stars recently released new videos — Canadian songbird Feist for her single “1234,” and Braff-approved folk-rockers the Shins for their “Australia.” (You can see both clips after the jump.) They’re both excellent tunes, and both clips share an air of wacky whimsy… but only one can prevail in a PopWatch showdown! The breakdown, as I see it, goes something like this.

THE SONGS
Feist: A banjo-and-brass-assisted singalong about growing up and moving on (“Oh, teenage hopes/… Money can’t buy you back the love that you had then”).
The Shins: A banjo-and-vibraphone-assisted singalong about adjusting to reality’s limits (“Faced with the dodo’s conundrum/I, I felt like I could just fly/But nothing happened every time I tried”).
ADVANTAGE: The Shins, by a feather.

THE COSTUMES
Feist: Bedazzled blue jumpsuit and heels for Feist, plus brightly-hued hipster gear for her costars.
The Shins: Bright orange prison-style jumpsuits for the band, plus an evergreen-hedge disguise for multi-instrumentalist Marty Crandall and an ill-fitting cheap suit disguise for guitarist Dave Hernandez.
ADVANTAGE: Tie. Feist’s looks cooler, but the Shins’ shifting attire is more entertaining to watch for four minutes.

THE CHOREOGRAPHY
Feist: Elaborate Busby Berkeley-meets-late-’90s-Gap-ad moves, including an impressive human-domino routine.
The Shins: Mostly they just run around flailing in a comedic fashion.
ADVANTAGE: Feist.

THE PLOTS
Feist: See “CHOREOGRAPHY” above. They’re dancing in some sort of warehouse, but that’s about the only hint of a narrative that I can squeeze out of this one.
The Shins: The band members put their dramatic talents to use as a gang of balloon thieves; at first they seem like a bunch of incompetent nincompoops, but their criminal scheme comes together beautifully in the end.
ADVANTAGE: The Shins, far and away — somebody get these nascent Scorseses a Hollywood agent, stat.

THE VERDICT: The Shins, 3-2. Sorry, Feist, but a catchy song and a bucketload of sequins can’t beat a well-crafted caper.

What’s your take, PopWatchers? Anyone demanding a recount?

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