BBC God Only Knows: The Song of the Apocalypse
THE BBC have made a charity single and that’s a nice thing. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t take the piss. The record – an all-star version of the Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ – is for Children In Need and isn’t unlike the BBC All-Star version of ‘Perfect Day’, a song about being on smack.
And so, here at Anorak, we’re doing a play-by-play of the video, looking at the deeper meaning behind the video and generally rinsing anyone involved in it.
Of course, with these grand affairs, you have to put a Marks & Spencer Christmas Advert sheen on everything, which means Victoriana and some pointless classical music bollocks.
The BBC don’t disappoint, kicking things off with a bearded conductor and an orchestra piddling about with their instruments.
Then, before you know it, the stars come rolling out thick and fast, headed up by Pharrell who, even though we’re in the throes of Autumn’s mental weather, is still showing off his aversion to socks. The lunatic.
He’ll get a cold. He’s also looking skyward. That must mean something.
And where there are stars and promotional opportunities, Emeli Sandé isn’t far away. The star of a million and one music biz ceremonies and a woman who would sing for the opening of a letter, she appears flanked by a load of Alice in Wonderland nonsense, because that’s what twee television executives think passes off as ‘interesting’.
She’s also looking upward and there’s a melted clock in front of her. Is the game up for the human race? Is the world about to end? Emeli Sandé, if anyone, would accept the gig to sing at the death of mankind.
The original Emeli is of course, Elton John. He’ll stick his oar in anywhere and he appears like an ambient nightmare, covered in live butterflies. Presumably, those butterflies are the creatures who carefully place Elton’s hair on his head everyone morning. Or, does his appearance remind us of the death of the people’s princess? The clue is right there. The Death of People. Maybe the butterflies are an elaborate escape plan?
Then, to further the gentle ghoulishness of the piece, along comes Lorde appearing as the angel of death, with her wings spread and porcelain skin, looking for all the world like a vampire ready to feast on Elton’s butterflies.
Death looms even larger with the appearance of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who consciously uncouples from his mortal coil to lie on the ground as one of the corpses from The Shining.
So far, so sinister. Then, to real ram home the feeling of peril, Brian Wilson sits at his piano, oblivious to the live tiger sat on top of it.
Presumably, the tiger ravages Brian just as the shot cuts to Florence Welch, who may well be the ringleader of the ghoulish behaviour as she hides in the undergrowth in her camouflage suit.
The, things start getting really weird. Kylie shows up, trying to escape all the death in a bubble. If we needed it pointing out that Kylie is a tiny, tiny human, her ability to float inside a sphere of Fairy Liquid is just the ticket.
Then, the BBC All-Stars mock the afflicted by leaving Stevie Wonder to rot in the deathly circus, throwing diamonds at him while they flee skyward.
Following Kylie into the sky is folk singer Eliza Carthy, who briefly looks like Ruth Jones in a wig.
All the while, watching the horrors unfurl, are the smug section. They’re far too cocksure to believe that this nightmare could affect them. First, we see Nicola Benedetti, who is a first violin in the orchestra and, as anyone will tell you, lead violinists are the worst humans on Earth.
Then, the clearly invinsible Jools Holland appears with his smug forcefield and smug piano.
And just when you think it can’t get any more smug, Brian May appears, creating that uniquely gruesome sound that also appeared as a battle cry from atop a palace during Her Majesty The Queen’s jubilee party. Yes. Brian May was the arsehole who got the guitar out at the house party.
To top it all off, the newest, smuggiest gitbox in the whole of rock and pop, Jake Bugg comes along, honking up through his nose like a lone trumpet sounding the end of the living world for the inhabitants of the video.
Katie Derham, the newsreader, appears as the violin playing newsreader. You might think this is just the new version of a newsreader having legs, but it isn’t. This is clearly a metaphor for someone facing the end of the world, having one last attempt at doing something they truly love. Derham’s appearance shows us that we should indulge ourselves in the things we love because, before you know it, Jake Bugg will be emitting a dreadful noise out of his nostrils as a clarion call to the apocalypse.
Then, making the best of the situation, comes the lovely Lauren Laverne. She knows it is all too late, so you might as well put your best frock on and watch the madness.
Then, we get a really sinister moment. Gareth Malone appears with a choir of children. Not only is he happy to see them perish, but he also wants to make a document of it, photographing them as they sing the last song of the world.
To show that there’s no escape from this grisly doom, One Direction gather together, flanked by sureviellance balloons from The Prisoner. You can run, but you can’t hide. Surely things can’t get any worse.
They can. They can get considerably worse. The appalling Zane Lowe shows up with his gramophones and the golden records stolen from Voyager. Is this a clue that Zane Lowe is in cahoots with extra terrestrial beings who are behind the end of humankind? It’d certainly explain his bafflingly regular and well paid employment.
The first real escape we see is singer Jaz Dhami, who we see half way up a ladder in a yellow suit. Yellow, as we know, is the colour of cowardice. Jaz, it seems is too frightened to accept his fate.
Paloma Faith is also mid-flee, as we see her drunk on a massive swing in the clouds.
She’s joined by Chrissie Hynde and her ever present problematic fringe, who has also started her ascent. Could this be a symbol not for escape, but rather, ascension?
Also in the sky is Jamie Cullum in a hot air balloon.
Also flying Victorian style, is Baaba Maal. Although, he could be simply trying to flee all this appalling tweeness.
…but he’s being chased by a shrieking opera singer called Danielle de Niese. She provides the Carl Orff doom. That’s what opera singers do. They only ever soundtrack films where people die. This is the BBC’s clearest indication that they’re dealing with grand mortality here.
To shake things up, Dave Grohl appears with lightning to make adverse weather conditions in a bid to kill everyone in the balloons. You can try and escape through the sky, but as One Direction’s Prisoner balloons pointed out, there is no getting away from this bleak, bleak fate.
Resigned, Sam Smith pouts in his bedsit weighing up the hell of it all. Be around the things you love. Be in a place that is comfortable. It’s over. We’re doomed. You might as well sit in your bedroom and take stock. With a trout pout on your face.
Then, the real villain of the piece reveals himself. It was Brian Wilson, appearing like Gary Oldman’s Dracula. He is death. He is the book of Revelations. He is the vengeful, spiteful anti-christ. We never need to doubt it. He’s making us so sure about it. Life will still go on, but now, in some hellish limbo of suffering.
And then, the final piece of the riddle. An angel’s feather lies on a piano keyboard with the words ‘For The Love Of Music’. The message is hidden in anagram form, leading to further riddles. It spells “Overcome Fifth Soul”, or “Forceful Hoe Vomits” or the worrying “Oft Merciful Hooves.”
We can’t piece together the final puzzle, but maybe you can? Watch the video below and let us spread the word. No. You’re a crackpot.