I’ve been studying the two videos for Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” (accompanied by MGMT & Ratatat) like the Zapruder film. The song itself is haunting, but the videos are a master class in the weight imagery and music work together. One song can be a party-down number one moment, and a confrontation with a personal demons the next.
In the first vid, Cudi’s partying upscale scenester New York style. Pretty young white ladies drink cocktails spilling out of long-stem cocktail glasses. Bros in designer suit jackets and skinny neck-ties slam granite-colored liquor shots and spew emerald bottles of champagne over dem ho’s. Fists are pumped, bows throwed, Drake shows up, hipsters dirty up the edges. It plays, in a positive way, like a promo for HBO’s “How to Make it in America.” Who wouldn’t want to be that content and carefree while drinking down.
Paired with the party, Cudi’s lyrics are the defiance of young man challenging the night, flipping off the consequences. He can handle one more shot, one more rolled-joint, because he know he died “dodging bullets.” Every fellow in his 20s who drinks fights this – I can fuck up the night survive, and I still know I gave it my all.
At the end, though, there’ s a quick scene where Cudi-In-Glasses is staring at Party-Down-Cudi in the bathroom, who’s stumbling around, in an ashen state, about to vomit or pass out, or both. For all the shit he just talked about staying strong, just like a coutry song, there is a Sunday Morning to his Saturday Night.
Using the same song, save a quick voice jump at the end, Cudi’s alternate video for “Happiness” is dark, cerebral and fatalistic. Drinking, smoking and unapologetic attitudes aren’t nearly as glamorous when your trapped to a couch, haunted by Baroque women with monster bouffants and stuck at a parties attended by the Alice in Wonderland set. All that bravado, hinted as bullshit in the first video, is indeed, the misguided ramblings of an addict who doesn’t want to quit.
Check the second video link here.