While Zara Hedderman, our hard-working reviews editor and regular Videos of the Week introducer-person, enjoys a well deserved break, allow me (Aaron, State’s editor – hello!) to attempt a fitting preface to this selection of music videos we’ve dug over the past seven days.
We’ve got Father John Misty’s ‘Pure Comedy’ in there. Quite apt, really, given that we’re well and truly fucked. Although, it should be said that if the completely terrifying current state of global politics wasn’t so very serious (and, it is utterly incomprehensible), it would be a laughable prospect. A surrealist sketch show. Alas, things are genuinely scary, right now. Before Trump, before “misinformation” and alternative facts (yeah, what??), before hacks, the leaks, the rampant cultural racism, economic and social mistrust, things weren’t as bad as they are now, were they? They probably were, actually. But now here we are. On the precipice of resounding lunacy further damaging our already fragile relationships with each other. It’s a sad thing indifference, but inaction holds a greater misery. Do something positive for somebody else. Write your TD, your MP, MLA, whomever it may be and ask them to unilaterally denounce the actions of the tiny-handed orange git. Reach out to someone affected. Reach out to those unaffected and ask for their help. It might not change the world overnight, but many hands and all that. Plus, it might make you feel good.
These might, too, sort of:
Father John Misty – ‘Pure Comedy’ (Bella Union)
Father John Misty returns with his new single ‘Pure Comedy’, yet another whimsical title belying a biting social commentary of a song. But pure comedy it is not. The new single comes across as a spiritual sequel to ‘Bored in the USA’, but without the sound effects. Musically it channels 70’s era Elton John and Billy Joel and it is six and a half minutes long. The video comes across as if someone is channel hopping between coverage of recent American disasters, both environmental and political interspersed with hellish twisted black and white hand-drawn animations. The visuals are synchronised with the lyrics so much so that when the lyric ‘where did they find these goons they elected to rule them’ comes along you don’t need to be a genius to work out what imagery they use. The lyrics are so deliberate and specific in the song that the accompanying imagery picks itself. The end result is bit of an obvious a video that sledgehammers you into ‘thinking’….as if we needed it. The alternate facts are that this is the best video ever made in the history of videos.
MUNKY – ‘Hunter Gatherer Blues’ (Independent)
The golden age of advertising when Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble blowing Marlboro flavoured smokes rings at each other was pumped through the tubes of millions of first generation, brand new, lay-away television sets. Lip syncing simians in wide ranging dinner apparel operating various modes of transport. Jitterbugs, jiving, jigs, the Charleston – we really don’t do enough dancing these days. The Thin White Duke and more carnivorous cameos. An assault on the senses scored by a cyclical, dirty blues riff and stomping bass drum that verges into funkier territory at will. Evoking The Doors through Funkadelic, Curtis and finishing on a riff from the milder side of Zappa.
Angel Olsen – ‘Pops’ (Jagjaguwar)
Angel Olsen returns with a new video to accompany ‘Pops’ the closing song of her 2016 album My Woman. It’s just her and a piano. The song itself is firmly rooted in ballad territory. But good ballad territory. We are in serious contemplative mode here. Plaintive piano, pregnant pauses, yearning melodies, cathartic lyrics are all in play but not in a cheesy way. The video enhances the song by pairing the song with with lingering Malickian (it’s a word) shots of nature and close ups. There is no overarching narrative to follow here but it works well. The overwhelming feeling is of loneliness and isolation. It should be noted that as well as writing these songs and producing the album, Olsen has directed all of the videos released from this album. She has a singular vision and is realising it herself across different media and for that she should be commended. If you haven’t listened to the album check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Tim Darcy – ‘Still Waking Up’ (Jagjaguwar)
When the big ‘O’ left this mortal coil, he left songs like ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘You Got It’ and ‘Crying’. One listen to Tim Darcy’s ‘Still Waking Up’ and you’d be inclined to think he may also have left a vocal cord or two to the young Canadian. As far as the video goes there’s a whole Rapunzel vibe, only the fair princess is resplendent in bouffant leaving the charming prince stuck out in the snow freezing off his little sweetbreads as he strums his pound shop guitar serenading his muse. For the less romantically inclined it could read a bit more like a peeping Tim and an agoraphobic night owl enduring mildly uncomfortable sexual tension with some dying flowers thrown in to symbolise poor old Tim’s wilting erection.
Participant – ‘Your Better’ (Independent)
We’ve had a lot of time for Stephen Tiernan’s expansive electronica over the years here at State, so it’s nice to see him stepping out of his comfort zone and getting a bit fucking gritty with it. We need gritty right now, don’t we. Bob Gallagher’s NSFW video accompaniment to ‘Your Better’ (first heard on the excellent Content EP) takes an emotive, melodic arrangement and pushes it so much further. Dark, slightly depressing, but so rawly beautiful, it’ll bring a tear to the eye of the most stoney-faced fellow. It really is a great thing to feel transformed from a 2.45 minute piece of work. Kudos, lads.