Tales from MVT: “Go Up (featuring Cat Power and Pharrell Williams)” by Cassius

Tales from MVT is a regularly-occurring series of blog posts where I choose one of the videos from our Music Video Theatre sessions and write about it. Music Video Theatre has become one of the most fun and enriching experiences of my current life, and for a multitude of reasons, has sparked abundant creativity. It serves as the inspiration for this series of silly little blog posts.

Song: “Go Up (feat. Cat Power & Pharrell Williams)”
Artist: Cassius
Director: Alexandre Courtes
Appeared in: MVT Vol. 2
Chosen by: Jeff


The very best thing about inviting Jeff into our little group of music dweebs is that every time he sends me his list – of which, admittedly, I usually recognize like 1-to-3 songs – there’s a video he includes that I end up immediately watching like five times in a row. He’ll include something so cool, or so funny, or so inventive that I drop what I’m doing to binge it over and over and over again. And then I can’t wait to show it to the rest of the group. I become like an ad hoc Flavor Flav. I should get a clock to wear around my neck.

(And then I can call the calzone delivery place at like 1:30 in the morning and complain, “Where my ‘zones at, bitch?” This joke is for like 4 people.)

Jeff joined us for the second ever MVT and has been there for all subsequent ones. I had no idea what to expect from him, but when his list came in there was some stuff I recognized immediately – Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad,” and “Sweatpants” by Childish Gambino among them – but most of the list was filled with what felt like treasures collected from corners of the pop culture universe I’d never visited.

The crown jewel was “Go Up.” It’s a deceptively simple premise that must have been murder to execute this beautifully. Basically, you take two different pieces of stock footage, split screen them so they match up in interesting ways that could maybe be read as commentary (or not!), do that like 50 times in a row, and then watch the audience shit their dicks.

Like this.

Or this.

The first time I watched this video, it took me until about the 6th or 7th split screen for my brain to fully catch up and buy in. And then… WOW. The hits keep coming and they don’t stop. You become transfixed and can’t look away. I glanced (quickly – I didn’t want to miss anything) at my compadres and they were all locked on the screen too. Biggest laugh had to be the guy fishing for the guy’s gyrating dong.

Jeff later told me that when he shows this video to others, if they don’t laugh at that, they’re pretty much unsalvageable in terms of this video. That makes sense and I agree. If this crazy video doesn’t bring you joy, seek help.

Jason audibly said “Whoa…” in a tone I rarely hear from him when the tennis ball transformed into a drop of sweat in the bottom half of this screen.

Kristin let out a concerned “Ohhhh….” at the guy sawing the sushi roll/baby lamb.

Side note: I fucking hate the stupid fucking in-video links that pop up at the end of videos.

And I personally have a soft spot for the 1980s karate guy chopping at the block of ice/some poor bride’s brain.

I’ve shown you, what, six of these? There are literally dozens more of these to discover for yourself and enjoy. And somehow this video gets more fun the more times you watch it. That’s fucking primo MVT content, and I think (not that anyone needed this) it validated Jeff’s inclusion into our little circle.

This was only further reinforced when Jeff noted that the director of this video was the same as the director for the video that immediately preceded it: “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, which is another mindfuck with a deceptively simple premise that must have been murder to execute so beautifully.

Homeboy knows music video directors? Dude. We’re gonna be great friends.

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