“It all started out because I’ve always wanted to do my color-guard routine in a music video,” says Mlee Marie.
When I heard that Hearts of Animals was putting out another music video I strapped the hell in because their/her last one, “Sea Babies,” is one of the greatest music videos ever done by a Houston band. That one was a grim, dark affair that showcased Marie as a sea creature who convinces a frazzled new mom to give up her baby to her. It was unsettling, but amazingly beautiful. What would one of Houston’s greatest weirdo musicians top it with?
A lighthearted summer party video.
“Money for That” is everything that “Sea Babies” wasn’t, but it still has the same amount of charm and shows how versatile Marie and her multiple HPMA-nominated band are as artists. It’s halfway between pop-punk and surf-punk, with humorous shades of Tacocat’s “Crimson Wave” for comparison. The video follows the band as they barbecue and party in a lush backyard. All the while Marie sings about the things she’s too broke to buy like laptops and tickets to “the motherfucking ballet." It’s a silly juxtaposition until the end when it’s revealed that the band has actually crashed the home of someone who catches them, forcing them to flee.
Marie herself directed the video with some assistance from Linus Pauling Quartet's Ramon Medina, and describes filming as a blast.
“It was honestly one of the best days I’ve ever had,” says Marie. “We ate a lot, drank a lot. It took a day to shoot and edit. It was so easy.”
There are a few fun surreal twists that keep that Hearts of Animals feel. As quoted up top, Marie does indeed open with ethereal music over her performing a rifle routine. She and Teresa Vicinanza of Rose Ette also perform a simple but amusing water ballet over the instrumental bridge.
Hearts of Animals is closing in on Featherface as one of the premier music-video bands in Houston, with two solid entries thus far. They have another on the way. Seven years ago, when Marie was just getting started there was footage shot for her song “Hearts Break” that sat unwatched and unedited. Now that technology has gotten more accessible and easier, she is finally having it put together in watchable form for her fans. It won’t be long before we’re talking about her videos again.
For now though, enjoy “Money for That” as summer comes to a close, even if the heat is sticking around.
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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.