The Visualization of Mortality in The Chemical Brothers’ “Hey Boy Hey Girl”

British people are rarely strangers to addressing philosophical dilemmas (this includes Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke). However, very few electronic groups are capable of encapsulating mortality the way The Chemical Brothers did in the music video for 1999’s “Hey Boy Hey Girl.”

Kids running carefree to the Natural History Museum while the heroine of the video sees everything and everyone as a skeleton
Kids running carefree to the Natural History Museum while the heroine of the video sees everything and everyone as a skeleton
The protagonist of the video, a young girl seemingly obsessed quite literally by skeletons and, more metaphorically, by death, is dealt a traumatic blow after a bully of a classmate 1) spits in her textbook depicting the human anatomy and 2) causes her to trip and fall inside the museum and break her wrist.
In a transition from childhood to adulthood, the heroine of the video sees herself as a skeleton
In a transition from childhood to adulthood, the heroine of the video sees herself as a skeleton
In her incarnation as an adult, the protagonist is quite consumed by seeing skeletons in everyone. That’s all she really sees in anybody: Rotting human corpses just flailing around in a bathroom stall while having sex or simply busting a move on the dance floor.
Two skeletons "boning"
Two skeletons “boning”
The Chemical Brothers intensify the drama of the theme by accenting it against the backdrop of famed South London club Ministry of Sound. By pairing a somber motif with the levity of the height of the club-going scene in the late 90s, the duo accents the frivolousness of it all.
Skeletons dance to forget
Skeletons dance to forget
In the end, the protagonist of the video flees the club, with the appearance of resigning herself to seeing skeletons on a regular basis, considering that’s what she–and all of us–will one day be anyway.