Why do we spend so much time trying to save the world, when what we really need to do is save our hearts? Why can’t we all just buy a BlueTec Mercedes-Benz, know we’ve done our part, and spend quality time with our underappreciated boyfriends? These are some of the lessons that may pass by you the first time you see the video for Alanis Morissette’s “Underneath,” as its hard not to obsess over how her hair appears to fluff itself while she sings. It’s freaky!
The video visualizes the song’s key metaphor–that the world acts cold and unloving because we’re cold and unloving–by comparing an environmental activist’s external and internal life. In the real world, she stands on the sidewalk, trying to pass out fliers to irritated city folk. Inside, she wears a slinky red dress and sulks around in front of her glum boyfriend. Internal Alanis sings about how we’re “jumping ship in our diaaaaaaa-logues” as her hair flips upward with every heartbeat. The shot of External Alanis big-upping the Mercedes driver is timed with the line “look at us form cliques in our sandbox,” but I don’t know why they’d show the car logo if this wasn’t a product placement (we don’t see the brand of the SUV External Alanis argues with over the line “look at us being cruel kids with both our hearts blocked”). External Alanis gets a phone call from her granola boyfriend, but angrily texts back “I SAID DON’T CALL ME.” Unable to reach the outside world, she goes home and begins ripping down the angry environmental propaganda from her walls (except the poster that reads “SAVE THE EARTH”), as Internal Alanis parallels her actions by ripping down self-defeating post-its and fliers that read “I’M FAT” and “I HATE MYSELF–GREENPEACE” (leaving up a poster that reads “SAVE THE HEART”). The sensitive hippie boyfriend then shows up at the door, and they embrace.
So do you think they put a fan behind Alanis or that someone stood behind her, flinging her hair every now and then?
Alanis Morissette – Underneath [YouTube]