Welcome back, music fans, from the Last VJ. It's a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors this week as we see people trick their cameras in handful of ways to create strange illusions. We also go straight into the hellish mind of Hieronymus Bosch thanks to Odonis Odonis, and we say our goodbyes to Dave Brockie in my personal favorite GWAR videos of all time.
Hundred Waters, "Cavity" Few videos can really pull of minimalism and camera tricks effectively; too often both are merely a crutch for a crippled idea. Director Michael Langan does an excellent job with "Cavity," though, utilizing simple manipulations of light to continuously alter your perception of Nicole Miglis's shadowed singing face.
Then suddenly the whole thing explodes into a strange, alien brushland full of lights that for a split second makes you feel like you're seeing weird anemones at the bottom of the ocean. It's an unearthly piece that really grabs you, and a triumph of the simple approach.
Ghost Beach, "Miracle" Back in the day, MTV sometimes just threw a band on a bare soundstage and did weird things with colors and stock footage. At the end of the day it was a called a music video; while such things are a little passé today, it's always cool when someone does it right.
Take "Miracle," for instance. With its cheesy insistence on perfectly literal visual interpretations of the lyrics it's so bad it's actually brilliant. That's what happens when you play such things with dead seriousness. Ghost Beach knows what they're doing, and to quote the song "It's a miracle even if it's inside my head."
REWIND: Last Week's Music Video Roundup
Odonis Odonis, "Order In the Court" Who want to be inside a Hieronymus Bosch painting for two whole minutes while an industrial-noise act screams at you? What, really? Just me? Fine then, it's still a hell of a mind-bending animated vision of the seven hells, and I for one think it's delightful no matter how sinister or macabre it comes across.
Lee Stringle brings all the horror of medieval madness to throbbing life, and that's always a good time when you're not actually there waiting for the plague doctors to tell you you're going to die.
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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, "Simple and Sure" What a clever concept BANGS has come up with for "Simple and Sure." The video is a chronicle of an extremely fancy dinner party set in a luxurious mansion, but the whole thing is told by having the actors repeat themselves over and over again in second-long increments like they were living .gifs.
It's a bold trick and a neat commentary on our often meme-centric existence. As the song culminates, though, everything descends into an orgy of sex and death that is still tackled with the same empty smiles that were used over the dinner, everyone seeking escape from the emptiness of their lives.
GWAR, "The Road Behind" I'm leaving the last spot in this week's roundup to one of my favorite GWAR videos of all time in honor of the passing of Dave Brockie, taken at far too young an age. I imagine that the Scumdogs of the Universe will fade from their pedestal with their beloved leader gone. "The Road Behind" has always touched me because it sums up everything that Brockie stood for.
Technically, it's just a damn good song that proved he was ten times the singer the mainstream ever gave him credit for, but it also stays unforgivingly puerile and irreverent. I'm not going to feel the least out of line saying that Brockie was probably the closest to Frank Zappa we had anymore, and...
Well the wheels keep rolling And another signpost gone Baby can't you hear me calling Like a sad whale song
Oderus Urungus is on the road behind now. We'll follow as we may.
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