On Veteran’s Day 2012, Kristy Lee Cook debuted her new video. However, this wasn’t just a video to any old song. The song, ‘Airborne Ranger Infantry’ is a song part-written by her dad (in the poems he wrote about his time serving in Vietnam just after the war) and dedicated to all man who have served past and present, so Veteran’s Day was an appropriate day to release the music video for such a poignant song.
The video has moments of ‘poignancy’, but nowhere near matches up to the level of the song. For example, to show the intense close friendships that men develop during their time serving, there are many short, slow motion scenes of soldiers goofing around, smiling, laughing, generally showing their friendship. At the beginning of the video, there is also a couple of brief cuts to one of the soldiers leaving his wife, and her slow motion devastation, in addition to him following the narrative of the song and taking out a picture of his wife while out serving. I feel like more could have been made of these scenes, but they put to bed in the first part of the video and never referred to again. There are also a fair few scenes of the men fighting, throwing grenades, and at one point rushing to a man who had been shot down, although this is also never referred to again and that part of war is discreetly ushered to one side, despite the fact that the second verse is entirely about the horrifying moment of having to leave a best friend to die. However, when that second verse is sung, the soldier scenes are all of them goofing around, and it completely devalues the emotional power of that verse because the attention is taken away from it.
These scenes are interspersed with that of the older soldier, now at home, showing pictures of his time at war to his little girl, presumably aimed to look like Kristy, with his wife popping her head round the door and smiling. Everyone’s grinning and to me this doesn’t represent the song at all, given that Kristy has said her dad would never talk about his time serving and she only learned about it through the poems that he wrote. It also again devalues the meaning of the song because the context of the song is actually very sad, and almost haunting, particularly given what I have researched about the reality and atrocities of war and the psychological effects it imposes upon its physical survivors long after it has ended. The song confirms that, but the video implies that once it’s over, it’s all alright again, we can smile about the memory and remember those good old lads. But all of us know it’s not like that at all and it’s almost insulting the way it’s done.
Despite the ‘poignant’ moments (which are nowhere NEAR as gritty as the nature of the song requires them to be), the video is arguably very predictable in what it actually offers in the way of content. I felt like the song was a fresh look at the subject because it dealt with the haunting psychological truth and words from someone who truly served (albeit not in the war itself), but the video sticks to cheesy and nondescript clichés, as merely an offhand tribute to soldiers in general. That’s not to mention the fact that Kristy needs to be trained how to act and move in music videos. That sounds harsh but the arm movements and swaying thing? I like her, but they are uncomfortable to watch, really don’t fit in and honestly make her look a little stupid. Plus I would say these scenes of her standing in a floaty dress looking all made-up and pretty make up at least 60% of the video if not 70%, making it far more about her than what the song is really about, or what it should be about.
This video is a disservice to the song and an insult to what the song was trying to bring awareness to. I’m very disappointed and I hope future videos from Kristy will be much better. I’d blame the director but it’s Roman White, who has directed most of Carrie Underwood’s videos, as well as videos from Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, Sara Evans, Blake Shelton, Reba, Lonestar, Eden’s Edge, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Thomspon Square and many others. Quite a list.
So I don’t know who to blame, but this song deserved better.
You can watch the video here: