Welcome back to The Last VJ, music fans! This week we get to hear from Gem Club, one of the bands that got me into regular music video coverage in this dismal age of such things, though watching them is still a punch to the soul. In fact, for the most part I hope you have your diaper on because most everything I'm bringing you is messed up bad in some way or the other.
Don't forget to vote at the end.
Melanie Martinez, "Dollhouse" I stumbled across Melanie Martinez's incredibly creepy song about the secret lives of families by accident, which (to be fair) is generally how you discover haunted dollhouses and things like that. It's a creepy video no doubt, but its originality and catchy tune managed to take home an astonishing number of votes last week for the win. Can she do it again? Let's find out.
The Notwist, "Kong" I'm always a sucker for a good animated music video, and Yu Sato's take on "Kong" is particularly endearing. We have our grumpy hero who is constantly pursued by rising water that stalks him from every possible opening. Eventually it's revealed to be the work of a giant tear monster intent on flooding the city, but luckily the Mighty Kong is here to make things right.
It's not the deepest music video ever made, but it does have a great deal of charm and whimsy, two things that animated music videos are lacking these days.
REWIND: Last Week's Music Video Roundup
Bunny Michael, "Gasolina" The best way I can describe "Gasolina" is if a Bollywood director decided to have a go at Alice in Wonderland, but decided the whole thing needed to bet set in the ghetto as well. I honestly have no idea what I just watched, but it was like running a dangerously high fever in a tanning bed: you could spend all day describing the ensuing fever dream but in the end you just wind up confused, slightly horny, and with a terrible headache.
You can always tell the difference between someone trying to look crazy and someone who has no idea that what they're doing is insane. Bunny Michael and director Meriem Bennani are among the latter.
Story continues on the next page.
Gem Club, "Polly" I haven't watched a Gem Club music video since 2011's "252" because that's how long it took me to get over it. Well, director Matthew Salton returns for "Polly," and it's just as horrifyingly beautiful and exquisitely painful as the last time around. We follow a strange older woman who is clearly still very beautiful, but who has just as clearly borne more than her share of scars in life.
She dances through her existence with the love of a young, beautiful girl at her side, but no matter what avenues she explores with her appearance, she is forever caught letting her smile fade and falling back into a continuous despair. As with "252," there's a huge sense of doomed sexuality and the physical pain of frustrated vanity. Salton's work with Gem Club constitutes some of the saddest and most meaningful music videos I've ever seen; I guess it'll be another three years before I can take another.
Phebe Starr, "Tonight" Lastly, director Matt Sharp and Phebe Starr offer this, the whitest of all music videos. Seriously, it is like white came to life and sought vengeance on other colors. But all joking aside, "Tonight" is amazing.
Clearly Starr is trapped in some sort of cyclical hell, obsessing about winning the love of her silent and endlessly dying companion in a mockery of domestic happiness. All around her is the too-bright light of limbo, and she sells both her pain and her nasty joy at being trapped with the object of her fanaticism with devilish glee. Wonderful stuff.
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