Music fans who came of age during the era of Monica Lewinsky, Pearl Jam, and Friends may experience a strong sense of déjà vu while watching “Hooking Up With Girls,” the latest video from Brooklyn alternative rock band It Was Romance. It’s a newly made clip for a newly released track, yet something about it seems so strangely familiar. Check out that forlorn stuffed animal, for instance, and notice how only the center of the frame is illuminated, while the corners of the screen remain obscured by mysterious shadows. Comedian, musician, Onion contributor, and Renaissance woman Lane Moore, who fronts the band and directed the video, spends most of the song slumped on the floor or draped across the furniture, along with some other beautifully disaffected wastrels. Her eyes are often wet with tears, and when she sings directly to the camera, it seems like an overly intimate confession.
Those who know their music videos will recognize this entire enterprise as an homage to the 1997 video for Fiona Apple’s ”Criminal.” That attention-grabbing clip was directed by Mark Romanek and played a major role in bringing Apple and her music to a national audience.
It Was Romance timed the release of this video to coincide with a milestone in music history: The 20th anniversary of Apple’s debut studio record. Tidal first reached store shelves on July 23, 1996, but “Criminal” wouldn’t become a smash hit until the following year, when that moody, stylish video clicked with MTV viewers. Below, for the record, is the original video, with VMA-winning cinematography by Harris Savides. A side-by-side comparison shows that “Hooking Up With Girls” does not slavishly copy every shot from “Criminal,” but attempts to evoke the mood of the original.