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Dutch Suburban Insanity

Music July 22 2013

Ever since I was living in Amsterdam as a student, I’ve been a fan of De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, whose band name might best translate as a sulky, sceptical and complaining voice muttering: ”Youth nowadays”. They released their first album in 2005, named Parels voor de Zwijnen (Pearls before swines) – and being as curious as I am, yet an old school girl at heart – playing the CD made me gradually recognise that rap and hip hop does not simply bounce between the West and East coast of the US continent.

The track ‘Watskeburt’ (Dutch slang for ‘wassup’) peaked the Dutch single top 40- list for weeks – and hereby De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig demonstrated skills in making resident and popular, yet naughty, electronic hip hop and r’n’b with a smooth and danceable sound to embrace even non-speakers. I admit that non-speakers might miss out on some of the jokes and wordplays (which make De Jeugd so damn popular in the Netherlands) yet you clearly sense their playful skills and uncompromising beat-making as the energetic and sensual genre of electronic hip hop and r’n’b unfolds. Stylistically you might compare De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig to the French electronic hiphop wave featuring names such as TTCModeselektor andJustice to name a few.

This June 2013, the single ‘Formule’ swept the path for De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig ‘s fourth album, accompanied by an elegantly underplayed and well-produced video of a bourgeois-tease, which frames the two-faced; ironic and bold, clever and cheeky, style of De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig. In a beefy suburb, almost as in a lottery winner’s nightmare, the middle-aged married structure is being twisted and tweaked. Behind neurotically well-trimmed garden hedges, the concept of ”unheimlich” is being studied to the sound of an upbeat, insisting and playful tune, as an elderly couple progressively work themselves into a sort of manic, yet playful frenzy.

Study carefully the facial expressions of a woman as she exceeds the thin line of expected behaviour and witness how regular car wash turns into a creeping, slow-mo nightmare in broad daylight. Armed with lazer-guns, magic tricks and excessive use of lipstick, the slim boundary between insanity and normality is exposed through this clear-eyed, yet complex music video byJeroen Houben. As the video takes us through the concealed fantasies of petty grown ups, the four members of De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig play the roles as this suburban revolt’s godfathers, which may be the perfect casting for these four guys in a setting like this.

De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig – De Formule

 Production company: Bäst

Director: Jeroen Houben

Production: Jeroen Houben, Maartje Ongering // DOP: Nanko Goeting // Focuspuller: Tein Brouwer // Gaffer: Marc Roodhart // Art: Esra Ghilane // Styling: Suzanne Eldering // Make-up: Iris Zuidema // Editor: Wouter van Luijn // Grader: Remi Lindenhovius @ AVP // Facilities: Camalot, Singel Film // Cast: Frits Piekema, Margriet Duyster, Dorine Henning, Daisy May Breuer & Rene van Zundert.

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