Review: Bryson Cone, "Destination Nightmare"
Bryson Cone has release the music video for “Destination Nightmare.” The lo-fi jangle is relaxing and fun. It’s bizarre in the pleasurable way finding weird little knick-knacks was when you were a child. Sure, you were the one holding the lumpy green rock in the palm of your hand, but it was the rock that had all the mysteries begging to be unfolded. Cone’s song operates in a similar manner. It has all these little nooks and crannies that you can’t help but explore. There’s the synth bubbling over the sound Cone’s lulling vocals, the pop of the drums dancing around the melody.
The video is really fucking weird. This is a great thing. It also feels purposefully obscure. Normally this would be ~notagreatthing~ but the actors playing Coney and (they never give us a character name for the other person so I am going to call them Spaghetti Head)* have such a charming sense of humor that they pull off any inaccessible elements in the video. They seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves, which in turn makes the video feel friendly and inviting. We don’t have to understand what’s going on, we just need to enjoy the moment they are sharing with us.
Cone creates a very small world with this video, a dreamscape scenario haunted by vintage technology that we as an audience find ourselves lost in. Essentially, Cone and Spaghetti Head find themselves in a small bedroom, with a mattress on the floor and an old tv in front of it. They settle in to watch Coney’s favorite program, “Devil TV.” Lying in bed surrounded by wonderful green and pink lighting, they play with wigs, spaghetti, and an old doll. It’s a very intimate scene. However, it does have these off-center voyeuristic moments, such as the interruption by a rotary phone, or the devil looking on from the television screen. This is further heightened by the fact that the very last thing we see is the TV being shot off, and as it does our own screens go black.
Both the lyrics and the video made me wonder if Cone has ever had to deal with sleep paralysis. I have, not so much anymore but on a nightly basis my senior year of high-school. Most people have at least a small amount of experience with it. The thing about sleep paralysis is that (a) it turns the familiar and comforting territory of your bedroom into a strangely unfamiliar environment and (b) you usually feel like you’re being watched. People usually see ghosts during sleep paralysis, though others would call them dreams. Either way, they stand over you and watch as you struggle to fully wake up. It’s a thoroughly sinister feeling, one that isn’t lessened by the knowledge that it’s just a dream. Because I’m never really sure what the difference between a ghost and a dream is. And watching this video, I think Cone feels the same.
*At one point, they have spaghetti on their own head, and then they eat some spaghetti off of Cone’s head. And I want to say, what the fuck? But I can’t because it feels like a normal, natural thing for this song and video. Like, it didn’t even seem weird until I wrote it down.