“Bits of yellow paper, addressed from you to me…”
Here’s another example of when a performance-based video can score themselves a hall pass here at Y,WGAV! Perhaps you’re familiar with Michel Gondry; the legendary French director behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and countless classic music videos for Bjork, Steriogram, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, Kylie… just to name a few. It’s pretty safe to say that the guy is one of my heroes, whose work has shaped the blog’s motives for even existing.
When I found out that Love Letters would be his first music video in three years – following a Bjork clip from back in 2011 – I couldn’t have clicked fast enough. Although it quite literally centres around the band performing the song, I knew that there would be more to it. It’s Gondry, after all. He manages to find a way. After a few views, I was completely taken – it’s not what’s happening in the confines of the performance, it’s the scenery that surrounds it. As the camera spins, it takes us to a different, beautifully-painted backdrop. The concept is so simple, but it adds so much to the song. Dammit, Gondry, you’ve done it again!
Trash McSweeney is an Australian musician,
best known as the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of The Red Paintings.
He has picked two of his favourite videos: Jorga by Bjork and
Three Dimensions by Something for Kate.
This song has been such a massive influence on my life and the string direction in many TRP songs. So much feeling and power. The digital graphics in this video flows well with the song for me. I love the story of this video, the beginning of the world’s continents in a past time on planet earth. That is Bjork’s gift, I feel – to make epic sounding music about huge changes and epic stories with such simple and beautiful instrumentals and melodies. I can never get enough of that Icelandic sound.
Easily my most favourite Aussie band. I think Paul Dempsey could out do any artist just on his lyrics alone. Oh, and a pleasure to see Clint Hyman smash it out on drums. I picked this one as I always admired the metaphors and symbolism Paul uses in his videos that relate to his songs. This being a stylistic little video with enough charm to take out Metallica. Excited to see these guys are back after 6 years with a new album. Bring it on.
The Red Paintings are on tour in Australia throughout September. For a full list of dates, visit the band’s official website – www.theredpaintings.com
“You’re a pretty little flower, but I’m a busy little bee…”
It’s been a long, downward, spiralling slope for The All-American Rejects. They went from cute, fun pop-punk band, to tolerable pop-rock band, to irritating pop band… to this. This, ladies and gentlemen, is AAR’s Nickelback moment. Their sell-out anthem to end all other sell-out anthems. Their destiny as a boring, soulless, pompous corporate rock band has finally been fulfilled. And haven’t they picked a great video to go along with it?
Naturally, the clip revolves around vocalist Tyson Ritter, who has been using the band as a vehicle for his messiah complex for quite some time now. It’s narcissistic to the point that the rest of the band do not appear in the video until there is less than a minute to go, and even then they’re reduced to little more than background fodder. Yep, it’s the Tyson show, as he runs around his own little obnoxious musical, presumably in his own head. For trainspotters, it’s a bit like Bjork‘s It’s Oh So Quiet video – except for the fun, the joy, the excitement and the presence of a good song. Pretty tragic, really – but that’s what I’ve come to expect from this lot since Gives You Hell. Such a shame, considering how fun their first two records were. Ah well, they’re the ones getting paper. Clearly at a higher level of artistic integrity than I, the humble blogger. Fuck this band, though, really.
“As the lukewarm hands of the gods came down and gently picked my adrenalin…”
Do you ever sit back and wonder how the more eccentric stars of music manage to stay so weird? I’ve found myself asking this quite a bit as I watch the latest video from Björk, still with jaw agape and with my mind aflutter with bewilderment as usual. Björk is someone that I’ve always had a huge amount of admiration for – she has been giving the world of music a rush of innovative, exuberant and potentially even dangerious original ideas since before I was born; and even now she is still finding room to expand and evolve.
Her new release, Biophilia, is apparently some kind of multimedia extravaganza that I couldn’t even begin to explain. The clip for Moon is a part of it, in which she sports a wig that’s like Rihanna meets Erykah Badu, plays a harp THAT IS A PART OF HER DRESS and has the titular moon circling her the entire time. It’s pretty spectacular stuff, but it’s not like you’d expect anything less from someone like Björk. If you thought she couldn’t possibly still have anything left in the tank after all these years, then my advice would be to let her prove you wrong.
Larry Heath is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the national online publication the [AU] review.
He also dabbles in music video editing, DJing and is the digital arts curator of the 2010 Sydney Fringe Festival.
His favourite video is All Is Full of Love by Bjork.
When I was approached to submit to this blog, it’s an understatement to call it a hard task to pick just one video. One song, one video that is not only my favourite (or at least one of), but helps to sum up why I love music videos.
For reference, I revisited my Director’s Label DVD set, and came across many gems that hold a special place in my heart. “Windowlicker” by Aphex Twin and Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” are two that are most definitely up there for me.
Chris Cunningham, who directed the former, is a true genius. His work borders on mindfuckingmadness (yes, one word), because he refuses to give in to anyone’s expectations. He aims to be daring, innovative and surprising. Shocking, even. He’s the sort of director you’d allow to do anything to your work, because you’d believe he’d transform it into something beyond your wildest imagination. I doubt I’d ever heard of Aphex Twin if it wasn’t for Chris, and he showed me just what’s possible with a music video: the ability to make a good song GREAT. Memorable. In fact, I doubt anyone could detach the vision of the video when they hear the track. I sure can’t.
It’s to this director that I shout my love and award my favourite video to: Bjork’s “All is Full of Love”.
Released in 1998, shortly after “Windowlicker”, the video was one of the first (alongside “Windowlicker”) to show the endless potential of combining CGI / digital composting with live action. Sure it had been done before, but rarely in such a seamless fashion. The fact that the video holds up 12 years later is a testament to this. It’s smooth, it’s flawless! But on a personal level, what really makes this an important video is that I feel it proved to the world that Bjork could make a song that was more than just quirky – but she could produce true beauty as well.
I was 11 when “All Is Full Of Love” first hit our television screens, and to this point had been very much under the impression that Bjork just made “weird music”. The whole “appreciate originality” concept had yet to seep into my mainframe. And so it was this song that changed that opinion for me, leading me to discover Bjork for all her quirky, curious wonderness. I was instantly hooked. It also allowed Chris to work outside his comfort zone, playing with a certain sense of sentimentality in a video, rather than mindfuckingmadness.
As a video, I just couldn’t look away from it. I still can’t! Maybe it was being 11, and two robot Bjork’s were making out (which remains strange, sexy, and cool), but it was certainly the beauty of the song, too. Bjork asked Chris for a “white heaven”, and he produced just that – a perfect combination of sound and vision.
Of course, there has never been a detachment of the two. From the days of silent film, sound and vision have always gone hand in hand (cue Wurlitzer organ). And this is what makes music videos such an enthralling medium. For me, “All is Full of Love” is what it’s all about. The ability to glue your eyes to the screen, as you let yourself get taken away by the beauty before you, aided ever so kindly by the music behind it.