Marillion – Kayleigh Music Video Breakdown.

Hi there, it’s been a while since I gone did one of these there video things. April 2020, in fact. It is however, worth noting, that I had even started that one way before it was “published”. I’m putting published in quotes, because, to say that these posts are published seems to lend them some kind of legitimacy, and doesn’t really show them for the utter shit that they are. Alas I am here and in the mood for writing (currently, we’ll see how long it lasts), and so we shall break down a classic video that I have deemed worthy of mockery. I mean, every music video is worthy of mockery in some way, but I guess what changes is how much affection you have for it and the song. I love this song.

Some stats off the top of my head to start with (yep, still not doing any research). It came out in 1985, it reached number 2 on the UK chart and it is from the album Misplaced Childhood which is a GREAT album. That’s pretty much all I know, stats wise. Undoubtedly, I reckon, the name Kayleigh became more popular because of it. A friend of mine is called Kaylee instead of Kayleigh because her mum didn’t go with her dad to register the name and “he guessed how to spell it”. What a legend. I do know some other weird shit but we’ll get to that as we go. Let’s take a look at the video and then dive in!

[00:00]: We fade in on an overzealous extra from the Sgt Pepper album cover drawing a chalk heart on a wall. This folks, is what we call “Foreshadowing”. (Genuine disappointment for me here as that was an actually constructive comment). The kid is the same boy used for the Misplaced Childhood album cover, so, you know, may as well get your money’s worth from your child labour. He’s wearing white gloves because he’s secretly a part time snooker referee, which would also explain his easy access to chalk. He turns around and we instantly know that this is the 80s from his hairstyle. He walks off and we get…

[00:07]: Steve Rothery! Lovely guitar work from Steve here, hair styled by Ralph from the Muppets, stood in front of more amps than is absolutely necessary, and displaying his multitude of different coloured effects pedals on his desk. Now I want Fruit Pastilles! He even throws in a little hair flick that barely even moves his hair. If you’re gonna do it, Steve, commit to it! I’m fairly sure in saying that Marillion’s most famous period was this. About 1983 – 1988, which means that of this line-up, Steve is the only original band member. I’m also pretty sure he’s still the only original member today, since no original members ever re-joined.

[00:16]: Here’s the classic trope of blending through all the band members doing their thing. By this point it’s clear that this video is your classic “live” performance in a rehearsal type space, mixed with other footage. At this point it’s not clear where we are but we’ll make a judgement call on that as soon as we get some more details. The keyboardist is apparently Sting’s less attractive brother (He’s not actually his brother. Learn to spot the jokes).

[00:33]: We transition with a lovely side wipe out into one of the most European looking alleyways of all time. Fish has his flasher mac on and his hands in his pockets ready for action. At the risk of looking reallllllly stupid, I’d hazard a guess that on the right of this shot is The Berlin Wall, which would put us in West Berlin. The song was out in 1985 so I’d say chances are good that we’re inn peak wall time given that it didn’t fall until… oh god… 1989? Hasselhoff knocked it down with his bare hands, right? Fish sings “Do you remember, chalk hearts melting on a playground wall”. Erm, of course, it was 30 fucking seconds ago. I believe that the album was recorded in Germany so this would make sense location wise. Why not film your video whilst you’re there and get it over and done with.

[00:39]: We cut to a lovely looking lady behind some green bars. Clearly she’s in prison. Oh wait, it’s just a gate, silly me. Fish carries on singing at her through the gate whilst wearing a black top that makes it look like his head is detachable.

[00:44]: Fish is back in the studio now with the kid from the beginning overlaid. He mouths the words along as Fish sings into the microphone, whilst now looking less like a sex pest. This is probably where Fish looked his best. More comments on his general appearance in a minute when we get back to the lady. We cut to just the kid mouthing the words, now outside probably just after he did his incredible graffiti work on the wall. Back to Fish and he’s looking out over the river… Spree I guess. At this point he sings a lyric that I’ve always taken issue with… “Do you remember the Cherry Blossom in the market square, do you remember I thought it was confetti in our hair”. So, she was stood under a Cherry Blossom in the market square, and you made the leap to confetti without putting two and two together that she’s stood under a fucking blossom tree. Lordy. He’d make a shit cop, wouldn’t he. Imagine him arriving at a crime scene, the body with a gunshot in it’s forehead and a guy who did it still stood there holding a gun, and Fish goes “So… food poisoning?”

[00:54]: We’re getting a lot of the kid overlaid with Fish here. Still got his white gloves on. Presumably he’s off to Michael Jackson’s house after this to pet his monkey.

[00:59]: The lady is back! So whilst we’ve got them side by side for a moment… He married her! What was she thinking?! Like I said, this is probably the best he ever looked (Although, he is a perfectly good looking old man now). I know that she was referred to as his “First wife” once on something so they’re clearly not still married. They had a daughter together, who, I happen to know is very good looking, obviously getting that from her mum’s side! Not as good looking as Annie Lennox’s daughter, however! Weird bit of trivia to throw in there, I know, but I’m fairly sure that about 10 years ago, Fish’s daughter, who we will now refer to as fry (a young fish in case that washed over you), was in the Scotland Model Of The Year or something similar and the person she lost to was the daughter of Annie Lennox. Why I know this, as always, not a clue. I soak up pointless shit like a sponge.

[01:07]: After a lot of back and forth with the kid, Fish, and Fish’s first wife, we get to the bit where he sings “But you broke mine” and he really leans into it, or should I say leans back for it. I have to commend him here as he doesn’t oversell it AT ALL. It’s actually pretty nice work. Immediately my mind jumps to Nickelback for how to get something like this wrong. I’ll try and drop the clip in here so it starts a few seconds before the bit I’m referencing…

I’ve started that at 2m 50s and the thing happens about 5 seconds later. Chad goes limp like all of a sudden he’s being controlled by strings and puts way too much into it. You have to know how to sell something and Fish nailed it as far as I’m concerned. Well done, Fish.

[01:11]: We then, after a quick smack of the skins, cut to him walking down the street and he throws all that good work in the bin and mouths Kayleigh like he just shit himself. *sigh*. Plodding on down the street which provides the dreariest background imaginable, it may as well just have been a serious of grey sheets, he continues to overdo the lip syncing finally landing on the word “Again” and doing that bit even worse than all the other bits combined.

[01:19]: Back to the studio bit and we get another montage of them all playing and such, in case, you know, you forgot the band exist EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN HEAR THE MUSIC.

[01:33]: I’m like 99% sure that’s the Berlin Wall. Anyway, Fish back out flashing people as he walks past the word Nato written on the wall, before we cut to the lady on the other side of the fence again. If this is supposed to symbolise the rift between them I’m not sure it works on any level, as we never see them really separated by it. We know they’re on opposite sides of it, but it’s never depicted stopping them from being together and neither of them is really making any effort to overcome it. It’s pretty standard stuff to show an obstacle to overcome, but if we aren’t going to see someone overcome it, we need to at least see them fail, otherwise what’s the point of showing it. We’ve talked about this before in another music video breakdown. It’s like Chekov’s Gun. If you show a gun in the first act, it has to be used in the third and I believe the comparison I was drawing was in the Meat Loaf video… “I often wonder if there’s a similar principle about chandeliers. If you show one, it must fall down at some point.”

[01:46]: Obligatory drum fill before the solo.

[01:47]: Solo.

[01:50]: Fish shouts “Oh Yeah!” whilst looking up at the sky like he’s not really sure where he is or what he’s doing as the solo continues. Pretty standard music video stuff before…

[01:59]: As we almost hit the two minute mark we get something new. Kids running the hands along the railings before turning into Fish and the model. I should really learn her name. Or make it up. Vulva Hoffenhausen. This bit is done in a very piss poor manner. Now, it’s obvious that it’s meant to symbolise them when they’re younger (I know they exist in the same timeline, they’re not literally the young versions, it’s just symbolism) and so, whilst the effect is achieved it isn’t done well at all. In order to properly achieve what was being done, they should have remained on the same side of the railings that they were on whilst also travelling in the same direction. What we get is young Fish on the far side and young Vulva on our side, travelling left, followed by young Fish then on our side and young Vulva on the opposite side travelling right, then the switch to Fish on the far side and Vulva on our side travelling right, then vulva on the far side and Fish on our side travelling left. Four different iterations. Generally speaking, in terms of dramatic effect, moving left across the screen is usually regression, moving right is more positive. Not in everything, mind you, but for the most part. They should have stuck to at least one direction, even if they did swap the sides of the characters. Ideally, you’d show Fish on the far side, Vulva on the near side, always moving right, and just switch between the ages.

[02:07]: Best show some of the guitar work so people know there’s still a solo going on.

[02:11]: The young Sgt Pepper comes back to pick something up off the wall in the railings. Don’t really get to see what it is properly. Could be a butt plug, could be the identity of who killed JFK. We’ll never know.

[02:14]: Weird Sting tethered to his keyboards.

[02:15]: So then we see Fish pick up the flower and call over the young boy to pass it to him to then give it to the girl who then gives it to her mum. (Some other stuff happens here but it’s largely just some lip syncing from the Sgt Pepper kid and Fish wandering around like he’s lost so let’s just focus on the narrative for now. Let’s, however, not gloss over the stupidity of “Dancing in stilettos in the snow”. Is he just calling her stupid? Also, and not something I’ve ever considered until just now, the whole line is… “Do you remember? Dancing in stilettoes in the snow”. Now, all through the song he is asking her if she remembers things and none of them are really assigned to a person, it’s just a general question. I think, from memory, only the confetti question is really assigned as he says “I thought it was…”. For instance, “Do you remember, barefoot on the lawn with shooting stars”, doesn’t specify if it was her, him or both. With that in mind, Fish could have had high heels on.

[02:44]: So the young boy gives the flower to the girl whilst Fish creepily smiles on. The girl then hands it to what we have to assume is her mum and then they walk off together, before we cut to Fish dragging the boy off like he’s his son, but moments before this, the kids were walking around holding hands. It’s all very confusing. Classic glance back from both parties, never catching each other doing it. We can also now see that there’s a massive gate in the railings the whole time so why they felt the need to be on either side of it is anyone’s guess.

[02:59]: KAYLEIGH!

[03:00]: The rest of the video is now just Fish singing and a quick look at Vulva behind the railings again. Nothing much to comment on, really.

The End.

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