Semi-New Song Sunday: Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste’s new dance-filled video is a lot of fun… I think?

Jon Batiste seems to be in the middle of a promotional blitz lately; I’m assuming it’s because of his work on Pixar’s Soul? Part of that is the video for “I Need You,” which is a lot of fun.

I mean… I think it is? There’s something about it that makes me think it’s as authentic as one of the old Gap commercials. Which, to be clear, I loved at the time, but then felt bad about it afterwards. As if I’d let my guard down and let myself be charmed by something completely insincere.

I suspect the reason I haven’t heard of Batiste before is because I don’t watch the Stephen Colbert show, for similar reasons. It seems to come from the same place as a lot of the stuff I want to like — D&D, Lord of the Rings, David Byrne, unconventional music-video presentations — but somehow makes them feel completely inauthentic. It’s this weird dissonance; I don’t doubt that Colbert was genuinely into D&D, or that Batiste genuinely loves jazz. But when I see one doing a play-through, or the other doing a dance video, it comes across as forced sincerity.

I’m a lot less conflicted about the video for “Don’t Stop” from 2018. It’s just a pared-down song and a similarly sparse dance performance on a New York rooftop, and it feels a lot more genuine was a result.

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