I saw the seminal 1984 West German classic “The Neverending Story” when I was 8 or 9. For some reason, and I could never put my finger on why, the whole movie gave me an impending feeling of creeping dread. It was subliminal, in the back of my mind, and later I chalked it up to unexplainable childhood phobias.
Having seen the music video for TOBACCO’s new single “Babysitter,” I realize that I was completely justified as a frightened 8-year-old.
The reclusive frontman for Black Moth Super Rainbow, and mastermind behind “Fucked Up Friends” and the Aesop Rock collab album “Malibu Ken” has managed to pack a 2:19 long song with drippy, shimmering synths, modulated vocals, and of course, a guest appearance by Trent Reznor that brings the song to whole new heights of disturbing. Reznor’s voice, crammed through so many filters it’s rendered almost unrecognizable, shrieks “I’m your new babysitter” while TOBACCO himself fiddles with unbearably sleek beats in the background.
As if the song weren’t enough, the music video, filmed through a combination of traditional videography and security camera footage, renders a home invasion by one of the characters from “The Neverending Story” – Falkor the dragon. The doglike dragon, presumably an original prop from the movie, breaks down doors, paws security cameras, and generally imbues the whole video with a sense of incredibly invasive paranoia, supplemented by the squealing synths in the background.
“Babysitter” rocks – I’m a sucker for TOBACCO’s production style, and Reznor takes the song to new levels. TOBACCO’s always been able to work cohesively with guest stars, without overshadowing or shrinking back, and this song’s no exception.