Hollywood Undead’s a band that I’ve never heard of, and these days being an old dude really doesn’t cut it. The group’s new single “California Dreaming” immediately grabbed my attention thanks to its music video and, more importantly, its satiric yet heartbreaking take on the illusory aspects of Los Angeles.
The music video features bystanders arguing with police officers, mayhem in the streets, fires that aren’t exactly being used to roast marshmallows, and the members of the Hollywood Undead looking absolutely scary underneath those masks.
On a first impression level, one can appreciate the single’s blend of hip hop, hard driving rock and melody (the chorus of “We never sleep, in California we’re dreaming” is well written and infections). But on a deeper level the band seems to be pointing out the sunny side and glamour myth of Los Angeles, Sure, there’s beaches and snowboarding and sun, but amidst all that there is a ton of understandable frustration (rising rents, gentrification and displacement, financial disparity) that’s a part of La La Land’s fabric.
“I can see rejection/in my own reflection/I can feel my dreams go cold,” is my favorite line from the track, and although that feeling can be applied to any part of the world, it’s amplified when you’re trying to “make it” in Los Angeles.
“It dissects both sides of California,” J-Dog reveals. “You’ve got the glitz, glamour, sun, and surf. Then, you’ve got the super fued side of people not being able to afford rent, celebrities being aholes, and that fake façade. We wanted to do a heavy song with a Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque chorus. It’s an old school vibe explored in a new way.”
Though Hollywood Undead and The Mamas and The Papas are far from musical bedfellows, both “California Dreaming” and “California Dreamin'” effectively capture the sheer desperation of my sunny and smoggy city.
I really dig Hollywood Undead’s video, as it gives a very pointed look at Los Angeles and, even though the message is a bit somber, the end of the clip is pretty funny. Check out the NSFW video (due to language content) below:
The five man outfit’s appropriately titled new album Five comes out October 27 and you can pre-order it here.
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