Music Videodrome: Come to Daddy (Aphex Twin, 1997)
Aphex Twin never intended ‘Come to Daddy [Pappy Mix]‘ to be a hit; quite the opposite.
In 2001, the man behind Aphex Twin – Richard D James – told Index Magazine: “‘Come to Daddy’ came about while I was just hanging around my house, getting pissed and doing this crappy death metal jingle. Then it got marketed and a video was made, and this little idea that I had, which was a joke, turned into something huge. It wasn’t right at all.”
Yet, for so many fans of his work – as well as plenty of newbies – it was perfectly right. The notorious Pitchfork Media went so far as to deem it the greatest music video of the 1990s. While that judgement may be a bit of an overstatement, its exclusion from a top 20 list of the decade’s video offerings would certainly be worthy of criticism.
Chris Cunningham directed the video, adding to a fantastic portfolio that includes ‘Only You’ by Portishead, ‘Frozen’ by Madonna and the fantastic ‘All is Full of Love’ by Bjork. He would go on to create ‘Windowlicker’ for Aphex Twin, though not before he freaked the hell out of people with ‘Come to Daddy’. He essentially tells a tale of a TV in urban London and its ability to turn the degraded streets of Thamesmead into a living hell.
Richard D James isn’t exactly underused in the video; his face graces the head of every child. These, in turn, are controlled by a demon that is brought to life by a dog pissing on the TV it’s trapped in. So angry is the monster that he screams at an old woman’s face, then gathers the children around him. Even though this may sound a little shrug-worthy, it truly isn’t – it’s utterly terrifying.
The song, which is (unplanned pun alert) instrumental in setting the tone of the video, still found audiences elsewhere. Despite being a relatively hard song to listen to – or to use in other media – it still had outings in films 8mm, CKY2K and Curiosity Killed the Cat, as well as video games Project Gotham Racing 3 and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.
Brace yourself and watch ‘Come to Daddy’; you’ll never quite see music videos in the same way again.
By Matt Gardner