10.7.14: The Last VJ’s Top 5 Music Videos of the Week
Leon casino, Welcome to The Last VJ, music fans! I apologize in advance because some of these are going to be hella depressing. I mean like, you’re probably going to cry openly during at least one of them. Stick through it, though, and you’ll see some happy nuttiness. Let’s roll that footage.
Generationals, “Gold Silver Diamond”
Sometimes you just have to give a video more of a chance. I can’t tell you how many times in the course of looking for videos for this column I watch 30 seconds of a video and skip on past it because it’s boring. I almost did that with “Gold Silver Diamond”, but I’m glad I gave it just a little more.
We’re at a some sort of house party, full of a wide variety of people in white jumpsuits just dancing around. Nothing special about that, really, but then director Spencer Creigh pulls us back and we see that this is actually a joyride in space. The rocket orbits the planets, all emblazed with human faces singing the song. Two of the dancers start a little romance, and go off to find some privacy.
What they come back to is terrifying. I won’t spoil it by saying what it is, but it’s a great twist that is unexpected and shocking in the way it catches you off guard. Overall just a brilliant video that is as fun as it is cruel.
Afternoons, “Say Yes”
This one will tug right at your heart strings. “Say Yes” follows a man named Jose who lives in Los Angeles. His wife passed away three years prior and he says he hasn’t seen his children in seven. Jose works and lives, but always on the edge of life.
That doesn’t stop him from trying to make the world a little better however he can. After watching him wander around the city for most of the day gathering supplies, he dresses in his best clothes handing out rose to people. It’s small, it’s largely meaningless, it’s the most touching thing in the world. As the song itself says, “Watch the darkness turn into light.”
Yellowcard, “One Bedroom”
And as long as we’re tugging the heart strings let’s look at a subject that is near and dear to my soul. Since 1987 Ugandan rebels have kidnapped children and teenagers and beat them into submission to serve as soldiers. Hundreds of thousands have been killed. It’s one of the greatest human rights travesties going on in the world today.
One of the groups fighting the practice is Invisible Children. They use musicians and artists to help raise funds and attention for flyer campaigns that are dropped over rebel territory. These flyers explain escape tactics, and let the rebels know that their families are waiting for them back home. 80 percent of those that escape say that a flyer was their inspiration.
Yellowcard is one of those bands that’s teamed up with Invisible Children, and “One Bedroom” drives home the horror of what is happening like a mule kick to the chest. You remember how even something mindless and stupid like Nickelback’s “If Everyone Cared” could get you to feel with a video showing the great human rights heroes of the last century in their video? Well, imagine how much more amazing it is when a band that can actually write a good song takes it on. Simply amazing.
Saskwatch, “Call Your Name”
Jason Galea has put together a rather unique video to go along with “Call Your Name”. Part Hieronymus Bosch painting and part Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight Tonight”, a scrolling, strangely animated landscape rolls along in time with the ethereal perfection that is Nkechi Anele’s voice. If a postcard could actually transport you somewhere, then this is what it would feel like.
tUnE-yArDs, “Real Thing”
Last up this week is one of my old favorites in the completely off her trolley bin. Merrill Garbus, going by tUne-yArDs, is a madwoman who creates live loops in concert and stuff like “Real Thing” for YouTube.
It’s a send up on the sameness of the prepackaged fashion industry. Three doll-faced workers that remind me weirdly of the prep teams in The Hunger Games find Garbus in their assembly line and throw her away for being unlike them. Eventually they let her out of her box, and the dancing begins.
Tom Jobbins created a wonderful alternative world for this all to take place with, reaching for the surrealism of Toys and easily grasping it. The trio of workers are particularly effective, played with brilliant pantomime by Joanna Wenger, Miranda Macletten, and Kirsty Green. It’s a bright, colorful commentary on the plastic, placid present, and you’ll love every minute.
Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.
by Jef Rouner