We live in boxes. Home, school, car, job. Cosy, protective boxes, yes, but boxes that prevent us from spreading our wings. Is that the price we pay for feeling protected? And when do these protective boxes become prisons?
Those are the first words that greeted me on the press release from Belgian band Baiki. Immediately before clicking play on their song and video, it was clear this wasn’t going to be a straightforward review. It would seem from ‘Les Boites’ (the single that came out on the 13th of October) that Baiki are equal parts mad and brilliant.
‘Les Boites’ covers the idea that, as the introduction suggests, our lives are compartmentalised to more easily digestible chunks, chunks that find us fall into mass monotony and conformity. Baiki suggest with this song that life is for more than the security of working, eating, sleeping.
Musically, Baiki utilise clean guitars and a near-spoken word delivery. This delivery strikes a chord of defiant semi-punk energy with listeners and with the video’s (soon to be described) motifs of rebellion - there’s something quite left field and stirring about it. Notable (translated) lyrics:
“We go to work in wheel boxes / to keep our position in the company
You’ve got to make the cash drawer jingle / if you don’t want to mess it up”
What is brilliant about Baiki, is that their music video aptly describes the narrative of the song. Thus, it seems best to let the band themselves describe the chaos I subjected to myself for 3:50.
“This video clip is the result of long brainstorming sessions. At first, there was a strong temptation to stick to the disenchanted theme of the text, but each time, the synopsis didn't satisfy. That's when Yves and Phil came to the conclusion that it wasn't necessary to labour the point. Rather than illustrate the lyrics of the song, they decided to do the complete opposite! And that's where the idea came from...
Starting with the title of the song, there was certainly a way to do something funny and off-the-wall. Phil built a huge wall of boxes and costume boxes for each of the musicians. As these costumes were very uncomfortable and rather ridiculous, why not imagine that it was the director who had come up with this crazy idea?
The video clip tells the story of a tyrannical director who dreams of making his puppets dance. But unfortunately for him, things don't turn out the way he wants! The protagonists are very dissipated and even end up rebelling against the director…
The clip was filmed in a workshop on the outskirts of Charleroi (Belgium). To avoid it getting too hot during filming, a Sunday in June was chosen rather than a day in July. But, as luck would have it, you can't predict the weather in Belgium. That day in June was the hottest of Summer 2023 and 6 fans were needed to prevent the members of Baïki from melting under their disguises…”
Chaotic yet clever, liminal imagery yet still comedic - Baiki’s song and accompanying video is a mix of emotions that are as contrasting as the box colours of green, red, yellow, and purple. There is a silently hauntingly grim aspect, which seems fitting to end on.
“Our whole lives are packed into boxes. Home, school, car, job. Everything neatly filed away in drawers of virtue. All tidied up until the end of the road. Where all that's left... is memories in boxes.”