David Lynch, famous for having created the surreal TV series, Twin Peaks, and then a slew of hallucinogenic feature-lengths, mainly creates music now. But with Lynch’s music video for “Crazy Clown Time,” the title track of his new album, he has re-entered the world of filmmaking, with expectedly eerie results.
The song itself is very simple: Lynch, singing in a childish falsetto, repeats over and over a few sentences describing one nonsensical scene of freakishness during a backyard barbecue. A single drum set provides a beat which Lynch nestles with a party mix of uncanny mumbling and sexual moans and horrific screams. The title, “Crazy Clown Time,” comes from the chorus, which refers to the characters all running around the backyard, and which goes: It was crazy clown time. It was really fun. It was real fun.
The music video’s video component pretty straightforwardly recreates the lyrics’ creepy collage, adding nudity and some characters and a few fleeting glimpses of Lynch himself. Everything is set in a sparsely lit backyard on grass carpeted with garbage and discarded clothes. This extends the song’s juxtaposition of childish with ghoulish, perhaps leading listeners to divine some stern argument about sexual deviance or the dark nature of backyard barbecues.
But, as David Foster Wallace said of David Lynch in a 1996 essay: “He seems to care more about penetrating your head than about what he does once he’s in there.” Lynch is not making a point. He’s just goofing around. That is the secret behind the song’s title: The author himself is the titular crazy clown, a child telling a nonsense story, an entertainer only really interested in entertaining himself. David Lynch will not win any Grammies and you can tell he doesn’t care.