Subterranean Homesick Blues

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Title: Subterranean Homesick Blues
Creator: Luminosity & tzikeh
Date: 2006
Length: 2:30 minutes
Music: "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan
Fandom: X-Files
Footage: X-Files
URL: original vid announcment, Archived version
mosaic of Mulder's face at the end of the vid made up of clips from the show

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"You don't need a weather man/ To know which way the wind blows." ~ Song lyrics

Subterranean Homesick Blues is a X-Files vid edited by Luminosity & tzikeh.

The vid is a Mulder character study that both expresses both love and hate for Mulder's blind, obsessive and paranoid search for "truth" on the show. The vid also expresses the frustration many fans felt at the direction that Chris Carter took the show in later seasons, offering plotlines that led nowhere and ignoring character growth and development in favor of ever more ridiculously unbelievable conspiracies. By using Dylan's iconic anti-establishment song, the vidder (and the audience) are cynically examining X-Files, Mulder, and its creator and saying "we see what you're doing, and we're not impressed." Or as Dylan says in the song: "You don't need a weather man/ To know which way the wind blows." These jaded and cynical sentiments also form the core of Mulder's character, so the song speaks to the viewer on that level as well.

As the vidder luminosity explained their vid had two purposes: We "wanted to show that Mulder *is* the X-Files--paranoid, ineffable, dipshit" and that "XF was a study in paranoia, distrust (with good reason) of the government, selfishness and not believing one's own eyes." [1]

The vidder also explained: "As we built the vid, a friend observed that I seemed to be really angry with Mulder, and I am. That doesn't mean that I don't love him. I just believe that Scully was a lousy shot in Season 2." [2]

In addition to song choice, many viewers feel that the final mosaic where scenes from the show reform into Mulder's face, the credits and the use of the title cards/text helps illustrate the complex conspiracies and plotlines. Many viewers also feel that the inclusion of the lyrics on the vid announcement website greatly improves their understanding of the vid, as Dylan's diction and sentence structure leaves much to be desired. Still other viewers were baffled by the song choice and vid structure and said that the vid remained largely incomprehensible to them. [3]

The vid premiered at Vividcon 2006 and was selected for the "In Depth Vid Review" because of its meta commentary on the show and fandom.


  • "There’s a lot of The X-Files in this, how it works and what the show is. The song is kind of hilarious, in that it totally is what The X-Files is about, that shit is fucked up and you’re being lied to, and you kind of get the same sort of barrage of the imperative as you do in the show - Trust No One, Fight the Future. The video does a really good job of matching the audio and it’s fascinating and has really good flow." Vid Rec, Archived version.
  • "..couldn't at first tell if it were a universe vid or a Mulder vid until the closing mosaic resolved it: it's Mulder's face made up of the universe, the whole universe mirrored in Mulder's face....He's such an arrogant bastard." [4]
  • "As I said during the vid review, I have about 2nd grade reading level of X-Files anymore, so most of this vid went right over my head, but I was still entertained and engaged by it, and I got the overall picture (if you'll pardon the pun) with the last image of all of those scenes becoming Mulder's face. This is a vid that I'm rewarded by re-watching because as I get more familiar with it I can pull out slightly more of what's going on each time." [5]
  • "Who would have thought this song would make a great vid? And what source could possibly work as well as this? It made me nostalgic for The X-Files, which I haven't watched since circa 1996." [6]
  • "Uno de mis preferidos. Puesto aquí con la esperanza de que mas gente lo vea." [7]
  • "I want to say, right now, that I've never seen a single episode of The X-Files in my entire life. Not a one. That said, I adored this vid. And I'm really tempted to give the show a chance." [8]
  • "I could pick any one of about thirty vids, since I tend to watch the vids I like over and over and over again. But if I'm going by the spirit of the question then I'd say Subterranean Homesick Blues. Some vids I'll only watch when I'm feeling bad, and others I won't watch unless I'm feeling good, but I'll watch SHB any time. It's like a two minute and twenty-four second crash course in The X-Files. It encapsulates the whole show (sans the late seasons) without giving me heavy boots. It's fun and funky and yet it manages to get across the underlying feeling of conspiracy, anti-establishment paranoia, and general disorder that make up the fabric of the show. I love how much footage there is that's not character-centric, like the cosmos, and chemical compositions, and medical diagrams, and taglines, etc. Really this entire vid has some of the most genius lyric/clip associations: Mulder under chicken wire for the line "hang around the ink well", and Krycek kissing Mulder for the line "join the army". A favorite moment for me would be Deep Throat being shot to the words "paid off" - it's so excellently punctuated. I think it was penumbra23 who in her LJ, ages ago, said that there's something about the early seasons of TXF that give them a Cold War feeling. SHB - the song - serves the vid in tapping into that quite strongly, so that at times the vid almost feels more x-filesean than The X-Files." [9]
  • "...a very whiz-bang vid (technically speaking; the ending was a wow) which, unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into because I cannot stand Bob Dylan and this song drives me nuts. I can appreciate the appeal of the vid, but even for me as a long-time (since episode one) fan of the show, I couldn't get past my song issues." [10]
  • "Why bother taking all my X-Files DVDs with me to the desert island when I can get what is apparently the whole series packed into less than two and a half minutes of vid? I love lyrics, I adore lyrics, I love figuring out why they are matched to particular clips. I will spend ages on my desert island pondering Bob Dylan's gifts as a lyricist, marveling at his apparent prescience in telling the story of the X-Files in song, and trying to identify each one of the millisecond-long clips packed into this vid. Classic." [11]