Video Review: Walk The Moon “Shut Up and Dance”

Circa 1988, Nicholas Petricca walks into his high school auditorium. He nods his head and slicks back some of his hair. Two girls in his grade. He stands there awkwardly and smiles. He waves at someone. Another girl from his class wonders what is going on with him.

Against a baby blue background, Petricca puts his hand to the screen.

In the center of the dance floor, he sees his crush smiling at him. He points his to himself, indicating to her if she means him. She asks him to dance.

His head multiplies in several directions as two people play telephone with a string between his ears. His head moves to the left of the screen while on the right is a teal picture frame of he and his crush dancing. His head moves to the right. Inside the picture, they are watching a movie together on the couch. They are sharing a giant bowl of popcorn. Then someone punches him in the face wearing a boxing glove.

On the dance floor, she spins him around in a circle. Until they trip over something. He lands on the ground. Next to him, a guy begins to glow in yellow and pink. Kevin, Eli and Shaun exchange looks with one another.

The background behind him has turned lavender with yellow marks. His head is both on the left and the right. In the center, the band members carry a golden boombox while his crush dances. Then, a priest is seen marrying him and his crush. She punches him wearing boxing glove. The words “POW” are drawn while computer animated hearts blink.

His crush gives him her hand and she dances around him. The guy continues to glow. The glowing guy touches Petricca’s shoulder and then breakdances.

The band members hold the golden boombox as the band’s logo is displayed on the right and left. It topples them over. His crush slaps him, with the priest standing by as animated wedding bells chime in the background. He gets punched again. His head gets chopped off and rolls to the side. His crush explodes from his neck, spurting confetti.

In the clouds, the glowing guy removes his mask up to his nose. His crush races to the guy. The guy removes his mask from his head and it’s Petricca. They touch their noses together.

Wearing a white suit, he shouts “dance” and gyrates his hips. His crush says “thanks but no thanks” and walks away. His band members cringe as he dances by himself. His crush comes up to him and tells him to stop.

Everybody dances.

His crush joins in against the baby blue background, dancing.

Two red animated hearts bounce back and forth on the screen as he, the priest and his crush and dance.

Adrian, Sean and Eli each receive their own animated screen. He chest bumps the glowing guy, causing the screen to return to his individual shot.

Back in the auditorium, he and his crush kiss. Eli dips Sean and tries to give him a kiss. Adrian gets a kick out of it.


Rating: 4/5

The late 80s are truly adored in the video. Each quirk is fully understood and no matter how strange, it is beloved the way it is.

From the golden boombox carried by the band members which is a nod to Lloyd Dobble to the flashy neon and his crush’s rebellious, short red hair and black lace dress (already a trendsetter), the video sticks to the known trends most people would recognize.

The animation screens (which seem to be inspired by The Saved By The Bell opening credits), are wonderous, given a logical weirdness. The first screen captures a majority of scenes in 80s videos: two guys playing telephone between Petricca’s ears. It’s the focus on the actual visual itself even though it has nothing to do with anything that is happening.

Petricca, affable and goofy, is self-aware of his perception as a dork. However, he has a bit of a free spirit in him. He’s willing to put himself out there even if it means embarrassing himself. But he doesn’t believe the girl he’s liked forever, who is too cool for him, will even notice his existence. To his surprise, she does. Again, she’s the type of girl who thinks for herself. For her to be interested isn’t a huge leap. Neither are like the rest of their classmates.

Director: N/A  Year: 2014


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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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