The Tom Cardy song “Red Flags” is that rare case when the lyrical text has a clear plot, which, moreover, also corresponds to the music video. Let’s see why the performer chose this particular format, what the song is about and who the characters of their video are.
A little about the author
Tom Cardy is not only a musician and singer. He is also a comedian. At the university, Tom Cardy often wrote scripts for his own comedy shows, which collected full houses. As a musician, he became known in Australia through the station’s comedy “Songs” on the radio. He also composed music for the comedy series The Feed and The Moth Effect.
As we can see, the word “comedy” appears very often in his career. This is what became the performer’s trick: in the lyrics of his songs, he constantly uses elements of clumsy humor, observational humor and surreal humor.
In September 2021, he released a full song, debut single “Mixed Messages”. Since then, every few times a year he releases several singles, but he has not yet released a single album. One of the singles, “Red Flags”, simply blew up Tik Tok and became so popular that it glorified the artist all over the world.
The song tells about a lyrical hero who came on a date with a girl. At first, everything “started so well.” The characters found similar interests: both loved fish, both loved cartoon dogs. However, suddenly, on the question about the film, everything goes wrong. It turns out that the girl loves The Human Centipede, so much so that a simple interest turns into an obsession. Judging by the reaction of the hero, the girl simply cannot stop talking about the plot of the film, the costumes from there, and so on.
The hero perceives this as a “red flag”, begins to get nervous and tries to leave the date. The girl sees this and at the moment when the guy accidentally falls, holds out her hand to him and says: “Don’t hide behind stupid red flags / Don’t miss the best relationship in life.” And the lyrical hero accepts her words, really decides to give a chance to relations with such an unusual girl, and, it seems, in the end, sincerely falls in love with her.
Then comes their dream of marriage. The girl’s obsession with “The Human Centipede” no longer frightens the guy, he enthusiastically shares her idea to give the wedding the style of this film.
At the end, they are kicked out of the restaurant, as the heroes, inspired by love, begin to behave inappropriately.
Usually in songs, the musical accompaniment is rich, and if you listen to it separately from the text, you can understand what the text will be about. However, in “Red Flags” this rule does not work. Her instrumental consists of only a few long notes, lesser and deeper beats, and without words it is impossible to understand what the song will be about. That is, we can assume that the music serves only as a support for the vocals.
This is a very good technique for the following reason:
Combination of genres
This song has a lot of plot. He moves due to the fact that the lyrical hero retells some events and comments on his impressions of them. Also, both the boy and the girl are talking to each other, which advances the events. Typically, such techniques are typical for songs in musicals, where each number should tell a stage in the overall story. For this reason, “Red Flags” is perceived more as a humorous theatrical number, and not as a regular pop song.
“Red Flags” also lacks any hidden meaning. The song sings exactly about what is written, and exactly what should happen, without any metaphors and other tricks.
Many people think when they first watch the music video that the characters are Tom Cardy himself and Montaine, and that such a design was developed specifically for this video. However, both assumptions are false, and now I will tell you why.
1. These characters also appeared in another single by Tom Cardy “Mixed Messages”, which was recorded without the participation of Montaine. In addition, if you compare the appearance of Tom and the character in the clip, you can see a big difference between them. So neither the girl nor the guy are the performers themselves. Then by whom?
2. Both characters are original characters by the artist, Gabriella Antai, who drew the animation for the music video. They were originally created in the Fallout universe. After hearing Tom’s song, she realized that her characters were a perfect fit. Gabriella asked permission to use them, and the performer just … allowed.