Animal Farm are a quartet from Chicago, who perform a colourful blend of music, storytelling and comedy suitable for children of all ages. "Slow Down" is taken from their latest album, and is something of a melodic masterpiece. The song highlights the problems we all face in a hectic and fast-paced world. The solution is provided through the metaphorical journey of a snail, who despite his obvious limitations, always finds time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds him each and every day.
The video is an allegorical portrayal of this journey, where the snail moves slowly across the screen staring up at the lyrics that appear on the screen above. Here, the snail shuffles his body in time to a double bass groaning away in the background, accompanied by some delicate interplay between guitar and violin. The snail, we are informed, takes his time 'because the roses are oh so sweet', and of course he has 'no particular place to go'. The lead vocal is sublime, and reminded me a little of Smokey Robinson.
The verse creates the necessary space to launch the chorus, which explodes in a psychedelic cacophony of sound that is both enticing and seductive in turn. The melody is like something Coldplay might come up with on a good day, with the lyrics questioning 'how can anyone notice this beautiful world if they won't just slow down'. Additional impact is portrayed in the video which displays an array of buildings and vehicles spinning round in a circular motion, which appear to represent the planet.
The snail meanwhile ponders this predicament, incredulous, and resolute, encompassing the visual representation of what is required. Further metaphors of snail mail, which may take 'three to five days', are also featured with a number of signed, sealed and delivered envelopes floating across the screen in turn. These are then swiftly replied to with speedy texts that clearly don't get the message. Speed is further represented in the video by cheetahs and eagles who are impressive, but of no concern to the snail who is quite happy 'chilling on the garden floor'.
The song then once again explodes into another uplifting chorus, swimming in melancholy, and pining with a certain nostalgia for the way things were. The lyrics further emphasise the central message of the song, that you can ultimately never be happy if this state of affairs continues.
The video then portrays footsteps on the screen representing movement, and at this point the musical depth and lyrical potency of the song, rekindle memories of Pink Floyds "On The Run", or perhaps "Time" from "The Dark Side of the Moon". Yes, you heard me, that's right Pink Floyd, so if the band are trying to reach all age groups they are on the right track here.
A wonderful song, an inspiring video, a tremendous message, and beautiful musicanship performed throughout. Animal Farm really cut the mustard when it comes to highlighting problems, finding solutions, and entertaining us in the process. All in all, three minutes of sheer magic that deserves your immediate attention.
Animal Farm - live in the moment.