The Empire State Building Makes Its Music Video Debut With the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sorry, Freedom Tower, but the party’s in Midtown.

The Empire State Building starred in its first-ever music video over the weekend as the Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s released their latest single, “Despair.” Having filmed high atop the observation deck from 2 a.m. to dawn (the only hours that the tourists are at bay), the quintessential New York band rocked the quintessential New York building: We see frontwoman Karen O‘s windswept crooning in the early morning light crescendo into a sunrise dance party of one. The light shifts from a cold pale blue to a blinding gold, she rips off her parka, the closeup zooms out, we see the building’s set back Art Deco stacks, and she flails away into the daylight singing, “Through the darkness and the light/ Some sun has got to rise.” It’s beautiful.

“It was important to us that it felt intimate despite being filmed at one of NYC’s most famous landmarks and an international cultural icon,” said O in a statement. “I’m guessing very few get to see that view from up there at those hours.”

The loving dose of rock and roll marks a welcome change from the skyscraper’s previous film associations with weepy romances and Meg RyanAnthony E. Malkin, president of Empire State Building operator Malkin Holdings, okay’d the shoot, “to make sure that the Empire State Building isn’t frozen in people’s minds in ‘An Affair to Remember’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’” according to the New York Times. “We’re live, we’re vibrant, we’re 82 years young.” [h/t Gawker]

— Janelle Zara