Music Video Monday Pt. II: Simplicity

Arctic Monkeys, IDLES and King Krule

In last weeks instalment of music video Monday I looked at videos that were packed to the brim with meaning, metaphors and hidden agendas. This week I take a look at videos where simplicity is key. Simple music videos obviously still have a great deal of meaning, but, are not quite conveyed in such a metaphorical manner, whilst of course vivid imagery is still used. Where last weeks selections added a further depth of meaning and nuance to their respective songs the choices this week are simply nice accompaniments. As I’m sure you can guess this week I will be diving into some of my favourite, simplistic music videos. These are Arctic Monkeys ‘Cornerstone’, IDLES ‘Colossus’ and King Krule’s “Dum Surfer”. Check em out below:

If you’ve been following my blog you will know that my favourite AM album is Humbug, I keep this no secret and will argue its their best album for the rest of eternity. The excellence of this music video comes from its simplicity and it really doesn’t get much more simple than this. We find Alex with his Humbug era hair (my favourite). Comparing this to the Crying Lightning music video which hasn’t aged particularly well, this one has stood the test of time. It has an excellent vintage aesthetic, whilst not related, it reminds me greatly of Submarine with eye catching use of red and old-fashioned cassette recorder and headphones. It’s the perfect accompaniment for Cornerstone matching the song perfectly. There isn’t much more to it really, just Alex strolling about swooning this lovely tune. Great stuff.

IDLES colossus music video is an absolute treat for the eyes. Again, simple but not quite as simple as Cornerstone above, its strengths lie in the videos cinematography which truly is beautiful. If you take a look at one of the first shots where we see Joe Talbot (Lead singer) in a ball room, it reminds me of something from a Wes Anderson movie, it has a great sense of symmetry, a true feast for the eyes. As the song progresses we find Talbot in variously mundane situations from his head face planted into a cake or his a washing basket filled with laundry over his head. We get to take a glimpse inside each of these scenarios and this is where the music video gets creative with some of the scenery, it adds a nice level of humour to the video too. The situations we see contrast greatly with the raw aggression of the song and that’s what makes it more impactful. As the tension and aggression builds in the song so does Talbots lip syncing and facial expressions, we get this sense of anger thats protruding from him. Whilst the video accompanies the song greatly it also helps to amplify this anger. We also get a glimpse of some characters scattered throughout the video played by other members of the band. These are real life figures that are made reference to at the end of the song such as Stone Cold Steve Austin who “Puts homophobes in coffins”. It’s a cracking video for a cracking song and Talbot has the best teeth in the punk rock game.

Lastly, we have Dum Surfer. This song is a great infusion of indie rock and jazz, its what Archy Marshall does best. The song again is a great accompaniment to the track, similarly to Cornerstone it has a great vintage feel and that comes from the camera thats been used to film it. It’s also very nice to look at featuring some pretty tasty cinematography, its a nice blend of the strengths of Cornerstone and Colossus. Its quite dark too, we find Archy in the hospital on a gurney wheeling its way out of the hospital. Marshall looking like his just died or overdosed. He makes his way to some sort of venue where he gets up and begins playing, almost looking zombie like with his zombie like band. In fact everyone in the pub looks to be dead, its quite a strange video and it blends a touch of humour with its implicitly dark tone. Its quite reminiscent of Jamie T’s “Zombie” music video, which is great in itself. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it has an 80s sort of vibe, if I had to the film style reminds me a bit of Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place (a parody of bad 80s television), nice.

If you enjoyed this one and missed last weeks instalment you can check that out here and make sure to keep an eye out for next weeks instalment. Also, if you haven’t, go watch Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place, you won’t regret it.

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