“Shane Drake” sounds like the name of a Will Ferrell character in a movie satire about a high-rolling video director, but Shane Drake is an actual video director, a multiple VMA nominee who won the Video of the Year moonman in 2006 for Panic! At The Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” In keeping with his celebrity-director status, he plasters his name across the opening credits (yes, there are opening credits) of the video for Little Big Town’s 2012 single “Tornado.”
The video opens with a minute-long montage of small-town folk silently going about their business: porch sittin’, rug beatin’, rope skippin’. There are indications, though, that trouble is a-brewin’: the muddy sepia filter on the footage, the slowly creaking gate, the fact that they’re in a video called “Tornado.” Finally, over a fifth of the way into the video, the old man starts stomping his foot like the town wallaby thumping a warning; thus alerted, the townsfolk start battening down the hatches, because trouble is coming straight down the middle of Main Street.
What kind of trouble is it? Gee, I don’t know…a twister?
Nope! Surprise! It’s Little Big Town!
That’s right, the four members of the 14-year-old country group come marching up the road, and you can tell they mean business. Phillip Sweet has a dreadnought acoustic slung over his sporty blazer, his shirt wide open at the neck and his blonde mane flowing free and wild. Kimberly Schlapman has chosen a dark palette for her off-the-shoulder party dress, so you know this ain’t no senior prom. Jimi Westbook wears a casual scarf and a black vest to complement the drum he beats as he walks, a sort of goth-country Johnny-Tremain-meets-Han-Solo look. Finally, there’s Karen Fairchild, who cuts a witchlike figure with cape, stole, fingerless gloves, and walking stick.
In another video, she might have been coming to liberate the town’s residents from their bland missionary-position sex lives, but here, Fairchild is out to stalk a homewrecker. Well, we presume that’s what the bro in eyeliner (you can take the director out of the emo, but you can’t take the emo…) is up to as he abandons a gorgeous woman looking helpless on a sun-streaked bed in her silk negligee. It’s hard to blame her for sleeping with the cad, since the two other penises in town look to have not been erect since the Nixon Administration. Fairchild gives her a look that might be read as pity and might be read as forgiveness as she chases her man out the back door.
Well, she doesn’t exactly have to chase him. She and her bandmates just stroll through the house while their target gets tangled in some barbed wire — you know how they just leave that stuff lying carelessly around in those Dust Bowl towns — and finds himself surrounded by the four members of Little Big Town. In the end, though, he gets off easy: not only does he not have a guitar smashed over his head or a pair of drumsticks tapping out a honky-tonk rhythm on his ass, he doesn’t even get to enjoy the touch of Fairchild’s little black stick. She just grabs her necklace out of his hand, and the band stomp off to film their next video. Little Big Town aren’t in Kansas any more — they’re gone, like dust in the wind.
SUBSCRIBE TO JAY’S GUILTY PLEASURES PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY. And now also introducing Jay’s EPIC SONGS playlist. Get double for your money.