Monday, April 25, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2009 Edition), Day Seventeen: Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects

Ask me why I like The All-American Rejects so much, and I wouldn't know quite what to say. Yeah, I can point to the fact that in their own way they're carrying forward the power pop tradition I love so much. And I'll be the first to admit that these guys have mastered the whole upbeat melody/downbeat lyric thing that I have a weakness for. But it's hard to ignore that there's definitely something...mercenary in the trajectory of their career. The guest spot on House, for example, always struck me as done more because the label felt the show's highbrow hipness might rub off on the boys.

Still, I find it hard to dislike any of this Oklahoma band's singles, of which this is the first. The moment I first heard this single, I fell in love with it--even as I realized the heinousness of the song's message. After all, we are talking about the POV character telling this woman he's fucking that she'll never be his girlfriend, that he'll never be with her in public, that she will always be hidden away and if she ever tries to break this arrangement, she'll become 'just another regret.' This is arguably the first song of the bunch I've written about where the singer is a true emotional monster, using another person for his own amusement and not even trying to rationalize it.

Which, come to think of it, might be the reason this song is so compelling to me. We have all known people like this in our lives, men and women who have callously manipulated someone they knew damn well was in love with them (hey...maybe that placement on House wasn't such a random thing after all). And while we may flatter ourselves in saying we weren't that horrible person, hasn't there been a moment where you considered--even for a second--doing just what the singer of this song proudly cops to doing.

Who has to know?

Here's the rather clever video. I love the concept here--transposing the song with a succession of people literally hiding behind postcards depicting their own 'dirty little secrets.' I have to give this group credit for actively trying new and creative interpretations for their videos, and I'm glad they've continued to work to make each of their videos compellingly original.

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