Some of the best videos eschew elements like story, color, editing, etc. in order to emphasize imagery. In many cases, the meaning of the music video and the matching of visuals to themes isn’t so clear-cut. Rather, videos can be highly symbolic and interpretive through the use of props, costumes, and noir lighting. The videos featured on this month’s Round-Up all revel in the use of dark symbols and images in order to highlight the song’s meaning. Some are deeply macabre, others are just raw and real as fuck. Watch them all below.
Alice Glass: “Mine”
Alice Glass’ narrative as the ex-singer of Crystal Castles is one of sadness and recovery, and “Mine” is a song that directly tackles self-harm. Here, Glass’ cyberpunk-noir wardrobe emphasizes the gothic nature of her story, while morbid symbols such as a human skull and her laying in a coffin all represent her re-birth in the wake of personal trauma. The clear dagger she waves around is a haunting reminder of depression and suicide, and the sad notion of harming oneself as a way to re-claim your identity. It’s a disturbing but vivid portrait of the rough road to self-care, and an absolutely beautiful illustration of Glass’ personal journey.
Chromatics: “Blue Girl”
Chromatics’ video for “Blue Girl” is a continuation of the imagery the band has always steeped itself in – dark, gothic symbols intermixed with Lynchian weirdness. Their ethereal, spooky brand of dreamy synth-pop gets an extra dose of ghoulish strangeness as singer Ruth Radelet croons in front of her own mirror image while Johnny Jewel’s eyes light up like an albino vampire. The cinematography is so lush and vibrant that certain frames of the video actually appear like 17th century Baroque paintings. Other props like the roses being used as drum sticks are cherries on top of a Romanticized visual playground resembling the Red Room from Twin Peaks. Pure eye candy through and through.
Dilly Dally: “I Feel Free”
One of the best hard rock bands in the game Dilly Dally returned yesterday with the searing track “I Feel Free.” Its video has a brilliant (and depressing) concept, with singer Katie Monks walking into a graveyard and digging up her dead bandmates. She proceeds to drag them through a field, shove cigarettes in their mouths and instruments into their hands, willing them back to life (to no avail). Clearly, there’s lots of symbolism to unpack here, but it’s definitely some gloomy shit. The song’s closing crescendo gets some cool flickering shots of the band performing together in stabs of white light – perhaps suggesting a heavenly alternate reality? Also, very neat final shot.
Jay Rock: “OSOM” (feat. J. Cole)
TDE continues their roll of putting out the most imaginative music videos with Jay Rock and J. Cole’s “OSOM.” Imbued with raw, gritty imagery, the two rappers play gangstas involved in a robbery gone-awry. They spend the rest of the video in a state of mounting paranoia until their actions do in fact come back to haunt them. J. Cole’s delusions of a white Cadillac stalking him as a shopping cart on fire whizzes by is the most iconic image of the video. But overall, this clip is an impressive blend of stark realism and stoned surrealism. And it heightens the song’s sinking feeling of impending doom.
Spiritualized: “I’m Your Man”
The newest Spiritualized single “I’m Your Man” is a confessional ode to broken souls. As such, the video is sad and poignant, with stark Romantic imagery bringing out the track’s honest, soulful spirit. It features J. Spaceman wandering a barren desert – his signature spacesuit emphasizing his sense of personal solitude and isolation, while the setting brings out vibes of physical alienation. It’s a cathartic clip emphasizing the progression from one stage of life to another, until everything is gone. Also, more roses.
Obviously, the unifying motif of all these videos is death. Still, fun stuff, right?