Music Video Relapse: "Yes" by LMFAO, Directed by Mickey Finnegan

Posted by Adam Fairholm on February 3, 2014 in Music Video Relapse

Staff Post


Now that the Superbowl is over, it's time to turn our attention to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Starting Friday, the Winter Olympics will bring a mix of sports everyone knows about (hockey) and some of the weirdest sports in the Olympic catalog, like the one where the guys ski for a bit and then have to shoot a target. It has a name, I guess, but that's what they do.

But the one sport that seems to steal the spotlight every Winter Olympics is curling, a game that mixes strategy with the ridiculousness of a team of people furiously sweeping some ice. It's enjoyable enough that once every 4 years people get their fix and move on.

So to get ready to the inevitable wave of curling mania that will be sweeping (hehe) the world, let's take a look at a video that takes the sport of curling and does it justice in music video format - LMFAO's "Yes" from 2010, directed by their longtime video collaborator, Mickey Finnegan.

It's important to note that in the grand scheme of things, this video is one of LMFAO's lesser known music videos, even at 46 million views. Their top 5 videos all come in at more than 120 million - clearly LMFAO and Mickey Finnegan knew what they are doing when it came to videos. And while I love "Party Rock Anthem" and "Sexy and I Know It", I have always felt that "Yes" has a special place in their collective video catalog.

Clocking in at more than 10 minutes, "Yes" is part music video and part short film. It's set at the "2010 Broom Cup Final," a curling competition where team LMFAO is pitted against a group of surly looking characters known as Cobra McGavin. After a pep talk by Redfoo in the locker room, the team heads out and starts to play the game (this is also where the song starts).

At "halftime" (I don't even know if there is a halftime in curling, but there is in this game), it becomes clear that team Cobra McGavin is going to cheat somehow, and hands a dude some money to do an unspecified deed. Towards the end of the game, it becomes clear that this deed is breaking Redfoo's broom with a club, Tonya Harding style. Luckily Q stops him, but he breaks both his arm and his own broom in the process.

It looks like all is lost without Q, until Jamie Foxx shows up. He's a legendary curling champion who went into hiding, and now he's a janitor. He takes Q's stop and they win the tournament.

As with many great music videos, the best parts are in the details. Dirt Nasty is hilarious as one half of the commentator duo calling the game - my favorite line, after being complimented on a piece of commentary he says "thanks I wrote that while I was taking a dump in your trailer." The curling equipment, of course, is all done up to the LMFAO brand spec - the curling stone says "Party Rock" on it, and the butts of the curling uniforms have "YES" on them (it's worth noting that you don't actually have to be wearing skin tight uniforms to curl).

Mickey Finnegan also has LMFAO perform while they are curling and sweeping the ice with their brooms - just Redfoo lip syncing to this song while curling could have been a music video on its own. He also manages to really nicely sync things in the song with the actual curling game, like the stone stopping just as the song drops out for a second.

The big success of this video, though, is taking the humor that made other LMFAO videos so popular and pairing it with a narrative. Finnegan and LMFAO wisely put the track in a background role and let the LMFAO cast of characters become front and center (Q, The Shuffle Bot). These are characters that would player larger roles later on in the Sorry For Party Rocking-era videos, and this is actually The Shuffe Bot's first LMFAO video role.

It's also notable that except for some obvious comedic stretches, this narrative actually makes sense. It's a sports movie parody, and it manages to establish a coherent narrative that it sticks with for the entire video - it even has some foreshadowing when Redfoo sees Foxx with his broom after exiting the locker room. After seeing so many narrative videos just sort of give up on telling a story halfway through, watching this video commit all the way is pretty awesome.

During the Olympic games in Sochi, there will be a lot of talk about the crazy outfits some of the curling teams will wear. Sure, some loud patterns and funky socks are neat, but LMFAO already set the bar in curling style.

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.

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