Max Landis, director, writer, and producer on films like Chronicle and American Ultra, has discovered that songs have meaning. In a sprawling, slickly designed website, Landis presents a multi-part article (he calls it “a living document”) discussing his grand theory of Carly Rae Jepsen’s thematic concerns. Because nobody but Landis is capable of understanding her music like he does, he calls his work A Scar No One Else Can See.
In it, he presents “The Jepsen Pattern,” which, once a layer of hubris has been brushed aside, is really just a simple observation: Jepsen’s career is defined by songs that, while upbeat melodically, always return to themes of heartbreak and unrequited love.
“I don’t give a fuck about music criticism,” Landis writes. “I listen to pop on the radio, and occasionally find a niche band on YouTube I get obsessed with. I don’t read music reviews or go to music websites or even actively seek out new bands. I am your basic bitch KIIS FM guy.”
It’s a self-admission that reveals a bit more than it’s probably meant to. As Landis meanders through thousands upon thousands of words dissecting Jepsen’s discography, he shows less that he’s “discovered a massive secret pattern in a popstar’s music” than fumbled upon a tradition of arts writing that goes back to, well, the dawn of art itself.
That all of this is presented through pages backgrounded with images of a frantic-eyed Landis in straightjackets and padded rooms (along with a video short that leans way, way into this concept) makes the entire concept a remarkable instances of self-importance.
“If you give this your time, if you’re one of the brave souls who starts at page one and finishes at page done, you will be floored,” the introduction promises. Floored by something, sure, but probably not Landis’ belief that he’s doing anything novel.