To understand what’s going on in Moderat’s video for “Reminder”, you only need to read the blurb on the video’s youtube page. The animated video deals with rebellious slaves, crystals for offering, some sort of god and it’s sentinels, and attacking drones from the sky. The video lasts almost three and a half minutes, but is enough to demonstrate what life for one of these slaves is like. In that time, the three friends find the crystal they are looking for, make piece with the sentinels, and are attacked. Two friends perish leaving a third to seek revenge. In the U.S. there’s been a lot of debate on how to handle IS. Some people go so far as to say we should just bomb the whole country until there are none of them left even at the expense of innocent people. These same war enthusiasts also don’t want to take in any refugees from the region. A lack of empathy can be the great divider amongst people, but it isn’t very hard to imagine yourself in a world like this video. You’re poor and forced to that reality against your will. You’re treated as nothing of value. Wiping you out is not only easy, it’s considered the right thing to do. Wouldn’t you seek help to get out, even going to the point of violent revenge once you lose loved ones? It is indeed a gray, drab world when we cannot share life with one another.
Steve Angello “Tiger”
Steve Angello’s video for “Tiger” is about trying to escape. The story goes something like this. There’s a woman who is meeting a man at a bar. She gives to this man a little blue book, and in turn he slips her a white piece of paper before leaving. She turns to see another man sitting at a table on his own with a lit match in his hands. He stares at the flame before looking at her. This series occurs first in time, but it actually lands at the end of the video. What we start with is a group of people in white shrouds laying on white slabs of marble in the middle of the woods. They are under attack by a group in black shrouds. One by one the white shrouded people get off the marble and run, but explosions and fists seem to catch up to all of them. The man who in the bar with the lit match is here, and he takes some shrapnel to the gut. The woman tries to help him along, and they make it as far as a beach of white rocks. For some reason she’s trying to get both of them into the water. It’s too late for him, so she leaves him and tries to make it the last couple feet before she falls. As she’s laying there with a snarl on her face, a black shrouded figure approaches her. Now we never learn if she is killed or simply taken, but there is a bit of a feel that she was trying to escape something all along. Could she have been with one group and tried to leave for the other? Hard to say. Of particular interest to me is how the white shrouded people never seem to fight back. They just run for their lives. It’s not a way to live.
Weezer “L.A. Girlz”
At 45, Rivers Cuomo can still write an adolescent love song. For their video “L.A. Girlz” Weezer take to the beach with an adolescent boy. He’s taking Snapchat photos and sending them to a girl. All he wants is for her to meet him at tower 28. She doesn’t respond right away, so he keeps sending them Snapchats. Eventually the girl comes. Turns out she’s a woman in a bikini, and she’s thick and strong with muscles. She can literally rip this boy apart with her hands alone. The two dance together like goofs. At one point she starts bench pressing the boy, and he is freaking ecstatic. Ah, but everything must come to an end. She eventually stops, waves to him, gives him a kiss on the cheek, and runs off. He is smitten, and falls onto the sand. Now here’s the thing, he’s kind of a nerdy little kid. Might be what Rivers looked like as a kid. I don’t think he’s going to grow up and be a body builder, but it certainly looks like he’ll be into those bulky, strong women. And good for him, a lot of guys would be ashamed to be with a woman who’s stronger and bigger than they are.
Aesop Rock “Rings”
In his new song “Rings” Aesop Rock refers to the title in terms of dating trees. If you cut a tree down, you can count the rings and determine the age of the tree. In his video for “Rings”, Aesop Rock finds himself getting cut open. He dies. No explanation, he just dies. So there’s an autopsy. As he’s sliced in half we see that his mind is nothing more than a wooden domain with a little wooden man who paints. The lyrics to the song let us know that Aesop Rock used to paint, and that’s hard to admit. As the autopsy goes on all the things in his mind are pulled out, even the little wooden man who lives there. At one point he’s sewed back up. Here, he gets up and goes to a restaurant to eat. As he’s sitting there his face splits open and paint and paint brushes fall out onto the table. Sometimes we stop doing something, like drawing or painting, but we never stop thinking the way we learn to through the drawing or painting. And that’s why it can be hard to admit that you used to do something.
Hozier “Cherry Wine”
Hozier’s video for “Cherry Wine” was released on Saturday, the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s part of a bigger campaign I will get to later. It took me two viewings to realize the woman in the video is actress Saoirse Ronan, who is receiving much acclaim for her work in the film Brooklyn. What I noticed on the first viewing is more important. As the video begins, Saoirse is a woman sitting before a mirror getting ready to go out. She looks nervous, as though maybe she’s just trying to look her best for the evening, or worried she won’t be liked. We catch her adjusting a thin bracelet on her right arm. We then jump to the living room, where Saoirse and a husband or boyfriend played by Moe Dunford come in. They seem to be having a good time as they’re laughing and touching each other. There are even sweet kisses. Moe pushes Saoirse back against a door frame and removes her coat while he kisses her. It is here that the right hand comes up to brush his face, and I noticed the marks of fingers from where she had been grabbed too tightly. At once, my stomach sank. The images in the living room remain innocent and void of any violence. But interspersed are scenes of Saoirse sitting once again at the mirror, this time removing her makeup and taking a long hard look at herself. There’s a picture of her holding and kissing a young boy. As the makeup starts to come off we can see she has bruising around her left eye. It’s as though all the life goes out of her face as she looks. Moe comes in to give her a kiss, and he kneels down next to her. Her eyes drop done even as she dons a slight smile. He looks at her until she looks up to meet his gaze. This is when he notices the black eye. Even though it’s his work, he doesn’t like it. So he takes some of her hair and covers the eye with it. Moe walks away, but Saoirse turns back to the mirror and with tears in her eyes pulls the hair away. She then just looks at herself for the final 20 seconds of the video. Now, if you pay attention to the lyrics of “Cherry Wine” you know the song is about being in a physically abusive relationship, so the video shouldn’t be a surprise. But it is, because abusive relationships aren’t one constant beating that never ends. The length that the hitting goes on can vary, and even be several days long. But it does come with moments where everything seems normal which is where the belief that the abuser loves the abusee comes from. The problem for victims is that they associate the violent behavior as not the real partner, and the kind and caring actions as the person they came to love. Truthfully, it’s the other way around. The abuser is an abuser who simply knows how to act like he or she loves you. It’s scary to think how many occurences like this, or worse, there were for Valentine’s Day. The video ends with the words “#faceuptodomesticviolence” and when it pans in on the words we see a collage of faces of people who were victims of domestic violence. Proceeds from the download of the single for “Cherry Wine” will be donated to domestic abuse charities around the world. So if you like the song, take a second and download it to do a small part in trying to help those in need.