2014 was filled with lots of great new albums (as you likely noticed from our Top 10 list). Yet like every year, 2014 had plenty of shocking moments; incidents and events that took the metal community by complete surprise. With that in mind, the Metal Insider crew continues the tradition of listing the top ten most shocking moments of the past year, starting with…
In theory, it seemed like a brilliant idea. Mastodon shot a music video for “The Motherload” that featured mysterious cloaked men and a huge amount of women engaged in what can best be described as a ritualistic twerk-off, roughly in time to the massively hooky single. If it’ll work for Lil Jon, it’ll work for Mastodon, right? Not so fast. Within hours of the video’s September release, fans and press outlets were decrying the video as misogynistic. The backlash got loud enough – even resulting in The Guardian slamming it – that drummer Brann Dailor had to come out and defend it to Pitchfork:
“I just wanted to make something that was bizarre—that would confuse people. I also thought to myself, what’s the most bizarre thing, or what’s something people would say completely does not belong in a Mastodon video? And the twerking was sort of what I came up with. I had a bunch of music video ideas but this was the one we were able to do in like a day, because we didn’t have a massive budget and we couldn’t pull off some of the other concepts I had.
We live in Atlanta and we wanted to be kind of all-inclusive and support the hometown. We thought it would be a fun video to make; there wasn’t any high concept, it wasn’t really parody. We weren’t trying to make fun of hip-hop videos. It was a fine line, because I didn’t want it to come off being sexist, so I thought that maybe the females took center stage and looked powerful and had this dance battle. It really blossomed and turned into this dance video, and I was like, holy shit, we have a dance video! …We just wanted to put something into our music video that people would probably think, ‘That shouldn’t be there,’ or ‘Those two things don’t go together, they shouldn’t be together.’”
Indeed, the final product is hilariously over-the-top. There is even a scene where all the twerking explodes into an ass kaleidoscope. Come on. While our reactions in the aftermath ranged from “This might offend some people, but it’s fine,” to “It’s sexist and dumb but at least it’s tongue-in-cheek,” to “Why are people choosing now to be offended about butts in music videos?,” it’s still worth mentioning that we’re all dudes, and mansplaining doesn’t put a cap on the conversation touched off by “The Motherload.” All opinions aside though, it’s worked out pretty well for the band; Mastodon quickly made light of the debacle with a Halloween shirt, and their attempt to “confuse people” certainly led to a ton of extra press that they never would have seen even in the Leviathan days. – by Kodi McKinney