It seems a couple of decades and a near apocalypse ago that Bryan Cranston—everyone’s favorite drug-dealing family man—starred in the popular TV show Malcolm in the Middle, yet Montreal’s Maya Malkin reminds us of it and so much more in the music video for her single “Hostage.” Malkin released “Hostage” in April, and with its sugary hooks and bomb beat, it is hard to imagine the track being any sweeter, but the video adds the right amount of heartwarming sprinkles. Within the parody of Malkin’s childhood show exits the same themes of liberation that the song evokes, they are louder now and even more on-target.
“Hostage” focuses on relationships but mostly in that all too familiar feeling of not measuring up, not getting it quite right, according to a partner who seemingly always does. In the music video— which parodies the Malcolm in the Middle episode where Frankie Muniz’s titular character is taught how to roller skate by Cranston—Malkin can’t seem to measure up to her story partner’s impressive movements that seemingly stifle her creativity and are made all the worse by his tone-deaf gifts and expressions. At the end of the video, of course, Maya discovers that it is her uniqueness that wins out and liberates her, a beautiful parallel to life and relationships.
“Hostage” is the announcement of an artist ready to embrace herself, through music that is too catchy to be ignored, and that makes it so much more than a sticky pop hit. If liberation is about courage and self-belief, then “Hostage” is a fitting anthem suited for a modern time where brave people remember the simple lessons of decades ago but never dare to look back.