It’s not easy being a celebrity. It’s even harder to be a celebrity when a great deal of people know you less for your talent and more for your last name. So, who would be the poster child for overlooked talent brought on by being spawned by a living legend? Quite possibly, The Wallflowers’ lead singer Jakob Dylan, son of…c’mon, do I really have to say it? In spite of his reluctance to be compared to his father, Jakob does undeniably share some important traits with his father. For one thing, he’s got the same wide-set, beautifully melancholy, “bluer than robin’s eggs” (according to Joan Baez) eyes and curly brown hair. He also has a strong affinity for hats and extraordinary skill as a lyricist. In addition, so like his father, Jakob is a very private person and doesn’t give many interviews. And can you blame him? The only thing more annoying than being expected to answer stupid questions about Bob Dylan when you’re Bob Dylan is being expected to answer stupid questions about Bob Dylan when you’re Jakob Dylan.
So what does this all have to do with “Sleepwalker”? Plenty. The video, directed by Mark Romanek portrays Jakob Dylan as a man uncomfortable with his status as an idol. Bob Dylan, too, faced this same problem, although at least he didn’t have the added burden of being related to someone famous. The video also depicts Jakob Dylan’s ability to make fun of himself and his celebrity status, helping him to overcome the embarrassment of being marketed as a commercial product. At least that’s what I get from it, anyway. I could be totally wrong. Anyway, the video is also visually intriguing, containing many striking and unusual images, such as the young Dylan being wrapped in a flowing American flag, a gaggle of young women in brightly colored clothes gawking out a shop window at an indifferent Jakob, and (my personal favorite) the singer wearing a headset that’s plugged into…a dead fish? What does it all mean? Beats me. But it sure makes for a cool video.
Watch the video for “Sleepwalker” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw7YfLSgfM0