The palm trees in the “Uptown Funk” video

At the moment “Uptown Funk” is the number one single in New Zealand and various territories around the world. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ infectious pop-funk song is a bona fide international mega hit. But right now I’m obsessed with the palm trees in the music video.

The video sees singer Bruno, producer Mark and their posse hanging out in a New York-ish but nonspecific “uptown” street. It’s all very neat and cinematic, but it’s clearly a film studio backlot.

That in itself isn’t so remarkable, but later in the video things get interesting. Palm trees can be seen in the background, something that doesn’t fit with the New York-ish buildings. And it’s not one accidental shot – they’re in a lot of scenes.

Uptown Funk palm trees

So there’s obviously no attempt to pretend this is real uptown Manhattan. It’s more like a fantasy world where suddenly stretch limos are cool and not transport for drunk teens. The uptown of the “Uptown Funk” video is like how you imagine New York to be when you’re 12. And the presence of palm trees makes perfect sense because they have palm trees in America and New York is in America, right?

“Uptown Funk” is going to be one of those songs that gets on the playlist of popular bars and wedding DJs, the sort of song that fills the dance floor and who cares what trees are in the video. But right now I just want to have a little moment of obsession with the palm trees in the “Uptown Funk” video and endow them with more symbolism that they were ever intended to have.

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