Stress (Justice song)

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"Stress"
Promotional single by Justice
from the album
Released1 May 2008
FormatMusic video
Recorded2005–2006 in Paris
GenreElectro house
Length4:59
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • Gaspard Augé
  • Xavier de Rosnay
Producer(s)Justice

"Stress" is a song by French electronic music duo Justice. It is the tenth track on their debut studio album, (also known as Cross). A music video for the song, directed by Romain Gavras, was released on 1 May 2008 through the website of American rapper Kanye West. The video, which was subject to severe criticism, is notable for its extremely controversial content, which includes scenes of gang violence across Paris, France, performed by young teenagers. The song itself received positive reviews from critics.

Song overview[edit]

"Stress" is an electro house song.[1] It samples both "Night on Disco Mountain" by David Shire[2] and the music video version of "Jocko Homo" by Devo.[3][self-published source] Xavier de Rosnay of Justice talked about the song in a 2016 interview, commenting that the song was mixed in such a way that it could be an unpleasant listen and "almost give you a headache."[4] The song was later featured on the soundtrack for the video game NBA 2K13, which was curated by American rapper Jay-Z.[5]

Music video[edit]

The film was never intended as a stigmatisation of the banlieue, nor an incitation to violence, nor above all, as an underhanded way to deliver a racist message. From the beginning Stress was meant to be a clip unairable on television for a track unairable on the radio and we have refused any television broadcast of the clip, so as to impose it on no one.

Justice, [6]

The music video for "Stress" was originally uploaded to the website of American rapper Kanye West on 1 May 2008.[7] It was eventually made available for viewing on YouTube on 25 September 2013.[8] Lasting nearly seven minutes, it was directed by Romain Gavras and shot in 16mm film in Paris.[7][9]

The video is centered on young Parisian teenagers who go about the city and commit gang violence;[7][10] de Rosnay himself described the video as "seven minutes of pure violence in a way people are not used to seeing".[9] During the video, they violently harass civilians in public, vandalize property, and also jack a vehicle and set it ablaze afterward. The video also features many people of black skin, which led to people thinking of the video as racist.[7][10] In response to people thinking about the video this way, Gaspard Augé of Justice responded in an interview by saying "We were expecting some fuss obviously, but definitely not on those topics... If people see racism in the video, it's definitely because they might have a problem with racism; because they only see black people beating up white people, which is not what happens."[11]

Reception[edit]

The video received heavy criticism, resulting in immediate backlash from the public[7] and a ban from French television.[12] In an interview with Fact in 2016, de Rosnay noted that the National Front and anti-racist organizations both threatened to sue the duo over the video after its release.[9] The video was named as one of the most controversial music videos of all time by both Dazed and NME.[6][10] Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone compared the video to events of the Grand Theft Auto video game series, which is notable for containing events of violence similar to the ones in the music video for "Stress".[13] Jeffrey T. Iverson of Time also compared the video to the films La Haine, Man Bites Dog, and A Clockwork Orange, all of which feature similar events of violence as well.[7] Complex was less critical of the music video and awarded it the number 2 spot on their "100 Best Music Videos of the 2000s" list, commenting that "the images are so arresting that you can't look away for even a second."[12]

Song reception[edit]

Despite the criticism and controversy surrounding the music video, the song itself received positive reviews from critics. Thomas Gorton of Dazed called "Stress" a "brilliant tune".[6] Sarah Boden labeled the song as a highlight from Cross, saying that the song "may be the most claustrophobic club pounder you've ever encountered," and that "its piercing, incessant strings are married to a shuffling beat; think Psycho's Norman Bates doing the moonwalk."[14] Evan Sawdey of PopMatters compared the song's horror and Halloween-esque style to that of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and commented that "'Stress' opens like a double-time horror movie theme, all stabbing strings and John Carpenter undertones slowly co-existing before transforming into a Halloween party ass-shaker of the highest order".[15]

Remixes[edit]

  • Stress (DJ Snake & Alesia Trap)
  • Stress (Auto Remix)
  • Stress (Japanese version)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Black Friday Footage Cut With Electro House Looks Like The End Of The World". Ministry of Sound. 26 November 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  2. ^ (album liner notes). Justice. Ed Banger Records / Because Music. 2007.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Justice's Stress sample of Devo's Jocko Homo". WhoSampled. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  4. ^ Freeman, Thomas (16 November 2016). "Justice on How Women Inspire Their Music, Their New Album and What They Think of Diplo". Maxim. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  5. ^ Greenwald, David (31 July 2012). "Jay-Z Scores U2, Kanye West for 'NBA 2K13' Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Gorton, Thomas (August 2015). "The most controversial music videos of all time". Dazed. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Iverson, Jeffrey T. (18 May 2008). "Uproar Over French Music Video". Time. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Justice - Stress (Official Video)". YouTube. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Allen, Jeremy (13 October 2016). "Sex, sci-fi and slap bass: How Justice made their perfect Woman". Fact. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b c "20 Of The Most Controversial Music Videos Ever". NME. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  11. ^ "A Cross The Universe: Justice Interviewed". The Quietus. 28 October 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  12. ^ a b "2. Justice "Stress" – The 100 Best Music Videos of the 2000s". Complex. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (2 May 2008). "Kanye Debuts New Video for Justice's "Stress"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  14. ^ Boden, Sarah (19 May 2007). "CD: Justice, †". The Observer. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  15. ^ Sawdey, Evan (1 July 2007). "Justice: Cross". PopMatters. Retrieved 29 March 2016.

External links[edit]