“Chandelier”. Probably the most deeply sad yet powerfully motivational song in the modern pop landscape. Somehow it manages to combine sadness and anger and use those two emotions to cook up the Ultimate Determination Song.
In the case of this music video, the director has chosen to further empower the message of the audio by letting a somewhat ‘different’ girl, dressed in neutral clothes, dance in an empty, almost abandoned, apartment filled with lots of neutral furniture, too.
This set-up turns out to be a very wise choice, since all of that neutrality directs the viewer’s attention to the only thing that actually stands out: the movements of a small girl with a wig. Dancing alone in the comfort of her home. This action just by itself, regardless of the neutral decoration, is already a smart move since it almost immediately reminds many a viewer to their own private dancing moments in their own house, usually a bedroom, often accompanied by a mirror of some kind.
Furthermore, at crucial moments in the song’s lyrics, like when Sia sings she’s “just holding on for tonight” and “holding on for dear life”, the kid makes rhythmic movements at the kitchen table, or towards the front door, or up from the bed, that might imply she’s leaving for work. The lyrics also mention ‘party girls’ being perceived by others as having little profound emotion.
It is all of these subtle cues in the video that make the message – whatever that message may be – appealing to a wide variety of people and, undoubtedly, the kind of song one wants to listen to when one feels emotionally suppressed or overlooked, yet who would like to see that sorrow turned into some form of empowered, maybe even angered, deliberate determination. The determination to never back down, to not let other people’s opinions influence one’s own inner self-belief, and to simply give oneself permission to let oneself shine. It’s like that quote from the movie The Family Stone: “We all have a freak flag, yet few know how to fly it.”
Director of MV: David Askill, Sia
The moon lits up the whole terrace. There’s something magical about waking up at night, stepping out into the winter cold, listening to the city silence, growing a tobacco cigarette and thinking of that same old same old piece of writing wrapped up in your wollen jacket pocket. You look at the ink on the paper, and the sharp-edged words it shows. By the moonshine you glow in the dark. It’s amazing how much light the moon gives off. Seven simple words light up by it and pierce deep into your brain. Suddenly you’re reminded of distant memories, the kind that never really fade. It’s frosting. Your hands tremble around the wrapper. Your fingers clench it strongly, try to hold on tight. Kinda like your brain holds onto this one memory, thought not quite. Whereas the rugged paper tries to flee from your dry touch, encouraged by the night wind, the memory voluntarily gravitates towards your brain, like it doesn’t want to leave. However much you try to get rid of it, to not think of it, it simply refuses to dim. Come dance with me. That’s what that memory says; begging you to recall it, to relive it, to dance with it in your brain. You look at the words again. You read them. Reread them in your head. You hear your own voice silently talking, uttering those words, inside. Words that were once yours. At the time out loud. Now a memory of something you once said, when you thought you were too wise for anyone to, really, understand.
It’s strange how people just fade out of your life. And not just any kind of people. Important people. The kind you think of in the nightlife sky, there on that wooden armchair with only one arm left, there in that grayish kind of light that only the moonshine can bring you.
This short story was inspired by one of my favourite live performances: “Moonshine” by Oscar and the Wolf Live @Pias Nites (Belgium) in 2012.
Director of the video: A Jerry’s Joint
So I read an article the other day. About romance. Don’t go for the one who obviously doesn’t like you. That’s what I learnt. Cause you deserve better – … Wait. … Wait. … I’m sorry. I had to restrain myself from laughing my ass off there.
Aaaaahaa … Rejection. Yes. Rejection. It hurts, doesn’t it. But then again, there’s also a little kick to it. Like, … he doesn’t like me?? I’ll teach him, I’ll teach him alright! And then you teach him. … But no. That’s not how it works, apparently.
I keep falling to my knees, but she keeps rejecting me. – I feel your pain, man, I really do. Me too, I should stop dating men who don’t like me and start dating those who do. … Though, of course, that does seem a little bit boring. Like, where’s the challenge?
Director of this Music Video: ?
In love, we all want to possess that one loving perfectionistic mask, the ultimate partner for life, the soulmate of my own mask, behind which lies the ultimate mess. The things one can do with artistic vulnerability and a 300€-camera.
They say it’s naive (how we’re passing by) trying to look the entire world right in the eye. It’s funny how one can be vulnerable without showing oneself. It takes practice; it’s a real skill. Which is to be perfected, time after time. How else to survive my own beautiful imperfect mess?
Love’s a stranger, until I see you again. Cause really anyone can be the love of your life if you let them in. That’s why they call Love a decision. A decision you make, day in, day out. But finding yourself in another person’s mask, willingly knowing it is the mask you want to possess, not really the mess it covers up, now that is quite the challenge. To know that, indeed, you wish to possess a mask. But life is full of challenges, isn’t it? Be provocative and thou shalt be rewarded!
We want to know how far that it can bend. … This love of ours. Let’s bend it forwards and backwards, upwards and downwards. Let’s try polyamory. Let’s twist each other’s minds with words, gestures and provocative lies. Let’s, yes, see how far our love can bend, and whether or not it is strong enough and whether this beautiful mess of ours can even be possessed.
Director of this Music Video: Wouter Bovijn
Revival of the comic book-like 2D animation video: director Sébastien Bellaval does it marginally eloquently. Best part of a music video? When visual movement fits the audio. Like in this video, when Tarzan and his monkey are jumping from cord to cord. Or a bit later in the vid, when that spider is playing its piano chord to chord. It’s really quite amazing how a beat can come to life when accompanied by the right rhythmic picture. And the living is easy, and the living is easy, and the living is easy. These audio lyrics indeed match the visuals perfectly. Because what does the audience see? An uncivilised human being, a.k.a. an animal, is being chased, captured, caged, and ready to be eaten. And other animals of all sorts entering a similar fate. Ah yes, survival of the fittest animal. That’s what the jungle is all about. And it is really quite a jungle out there, whether “civilised” or not. Because you don’t fool me. Human language may have fooled you. It may have fooled an entire human race into so-called “civilisation”, and all its subsequent “human complexity”, think bureaucracy, but in the end life is really just what it always was: a jungle, with one very simple rule. Survival of the fittest. Conquer the most good-looking young female. Spread the bestest of seeds. Get the best-trained legs. Cause being able to pinpoint the exact right time to run from a situation is a most precious skill. And so basically life is indeed totally easy. That is, if you also have the right mindset. So take your depression elsewhere, my friend. And let me get back to what really matters: survival.
Director of this Music Video: Sébastien Bellaval
You treat me bad, you make me weep and more, … you drive me mad. That’s what my girlfriend says. And apparently she knows this place couples go to. It’s a place somewhere underground called a “fight club”. And couples go there for couple therapy. They punch each other with words in the comfort of a supporting crowd. It’s supposedly a way to release any tension built up over your relationship. The ultimate test to really, actually, test the strength of any true, loving relationship. You treat me baaaaad. Is what she’s implying, looking at me, screaming. I’m completely overwhelmed. Looking around at the crowd, this very, very, intensely in-sane crowd. What are we doing here? Why did we come to this place? What started with a punch in the soul, finished with a punch in the head. We shouldn’t have come here. Her words keep hitting me from all sides, though. Apparently I’m a dirty rat who can’t keep any promises. I’ve always been a loser, and I’ll stay that way until I step up my game. She looks immensely beautiful and sad. I’ll be gone by tomorrow – no more pain, no more sorrow. That’s what she says. And the final straw. I drag her out of the place. That stupid couple’s therapy place, where no one ever learned that the Other isn’t an extension of your own identity, but rather just someone you felt mentally attracted to – someone of which you decided in an instant they might be worth passing this whole difficult life experience thing with. Maybe that is why my famous best friend is always single. Not knowing how to lovingly treat himself, let alone another. On our way out through the exit door, we pass another couple, coming in. This time it’s the guy who persuaded the girl. Fools.
Director of music video: Stéphane Marchetti (and produced by Playprod)
Short story inspired by the music video of the song “Betty” by Degiheugi.
There’s something really fulfilling about acting as a day job. It can temporarily fool you that you too are worth something, worth some loving. Cause I too need someone to hold me, kiss me, on and on, just because of the package that I am. Cause it’s interesting how many guys stay stuck on your face. I long to be loved because of my quirks, my silliness and my inner, most delightful flaws. Not because of my looks. I long to be treated like a normal human being. But when you’re beautiful that is, sadly, not how it goes. They fall in love with your beauty, and you’re indeed left feeling bored and, well, simply ignored. Because being beautiful (or rich or famous) is actually very much a cause for an almost hidden depression. It is an obstacle in any true human connection. You can see it in their eyes. Some actors’s eyes drift away from your eyes to that which is below. And suddenly they’ve lost the ability to behave naturally. And you’re standing there. Looking at them. Thinking “not this shit again”. They don’t really see you when you’re beautiful. They see a collection of values attached to beauty. Innocence, honesty, loyalty, kindness. But guess what. I’m none of these. And really anyone can fall for a beautiful face. The secret though is to fall for a beautiful mind. But maybe this is just how my cards were dealt. Lovable on the outside, unlovable on the In. And that discovery is e-xactly why I went into acting.
Director of this music video: Dano Cerny
Of all the weird dance moves people can have, Ratatat may have picked the weirdest ones and somehow decided it would be cool to fill a video with it. And while watching this I gotta say: if modern-day people weren’t so afraid to look weird and actually danced while partying, our parties nowadays would definitely be much livelier or at least much more smartphoneless. I’ve never really got it, the smartphone-party. Going to a party without fully using the power your body’s capable of. Using the rhythm that it is naturally attracted to. No, instead, let’s make sure we bring our best make-up, highly new tech phone and selfieface so that, tomorrow, any social media will show that I was at a party last night without looking like crap (and I tell you what: people who don’t look like crap at a party picture are obviously not enjoying themselves really well). But no. Parties aren’t for crazy wacko dancing no more. It’s really just about trying to look socially okay and possibly get laid.
Director of Music Video: Produced by Perfect Branch; 4000 drawings by E.VAX (Ratatat)
This music video right here is probably the best cry out there for couples just getting to know each other, or just starting to be vulnerable around each other.
You say you don’t need to be a gentleman to me. Which is fine. It’s even a compliment really. Because honestly, we all know I can handle my own. But what you get in return is: Brutal honesty. Try getting through thàt.
Believe me when I say we shouldn’t go back to the same place. Cause one can’t return to the state in which one was before. That’s simply not how it works. I mean, look at the evolution theory. There’s literally no turning back.
Lay down your blade. Why would I? I will lay down my blade. Will you, though?
How can I trust that you’ll do as you say? That you will, as you claim, “lay down your blade”? How can I, yes, trust you? It kinda reminds you of that cliché online meme which goes something like this:
(statement) “I love you”
(reply) “Do you have evidence to support your statement?”.
One friend of mine once replied to this all but true meme: “Yes. Hugs!”. And then he started frantically hugging me. Which is something I don’t regularly allow for.
But I guess some people just don’t get it.
Director of MV: Joy Wellboy
Life. It can push you down definitively. When you know you’ve lost that certain support that used to always back you up when times got rough. That certain emotional affirmation you never truly seem to be able to produce by yourself. Because somewhere, somehow, you only give value to what others think.
You won’t catch me when I fall. Yes, maybe that realisation does it all. Maybe that’s when you realise that any outer emotional backup is really just one giant illusion. Why is it we always need others (other minds outside of our own) to feel that we are worth something? To feel that we add at least some value to the world? To feel, why yes, arisen?
“Life comes with Ups and Downs”, they say. That moment when you’ve just dealt with one very terrible Down, but you start feeling the time is ripe for another Up again. Cause though life can put you down definitively, it makes it more difficult when you start to see life as a sequence of 9 lives, or 9 phases. One life gone? Time for the second one! Cause Time is the so-called “healer of all Downs”, and any Down is really just a reason to rise again.
And maybe a life filled with 9 lives, 9 “Ups” if you will, is indeed enough to compensate for whatever fate may await. And I’ve always thought life was much more interesting if it comes in stages, rather than one straight line.
And 9 lives is one life worth living for. And anyway, curiosity, courage and consistency are things that shouldn’t come from someone outside of me, but instead from within me. Maybe that message is why Bob Dylan let her sample his tune for free.
Director of this music Video: Kevin Godley