Subtle, refracted visuals and dancers adorn this indescribable urban apartment
I’ve enjoyed Blood Orange’s unmistakable sound for a few years now, but only recently did I happen on this oddity of a video and gem of a song. Bear with me if this strikes you as bizarre, in a good way, because I think it certainly did so for me. With a luminous sound and a whispered, bubbly vocal track, the song calls to my mind, distantly, The Talking Heads or Peter, Bjorn, & John in its mood, atmosphere, and unique innovation. The rhythm is consistent, well paced, and the sound well defined, casting a powerful tone over the course of the song, drawing us into the singular atmosphere contained in the world the music creates.
And if the music alone creates a unique world, prepare for the video to take that world to another level. The camera pans in to reveal what is presumably the artist’s apartment, overlooking an artfully realized cityscape from an upper story, bedecked in curtains, lamps, album covers, dated audio equipment, and sprinkled with dancers of all shapes and sizes, shimmying away to the beat of the song. The images seem pasted together, creating the effect of a low-quality ’90s VHS tape, where all the proportions seem slightly off and the visuals occasionally flicker and appear washed out. Each room of the apartment forms a surrealist canvas of its own, sprinkled with photos of humans with dogs’ heads or reclining mannequins or dated stereo equipment. Interspersed throughout are images of the principle mind behind Blood Orange, Dev Hynes, watching over the affair from within a computer or a television set.
It’s hard to express how impressed I am with what I have heard of Blood Orange. Self-exploration, vulnerability, body image, race, internal pain, confusion, and beauty all mix and intermingle in his lyrics and in his overall sound, not to mention in the feel and atmosphere of his music, and the way it subverts and redefines multiple genres into a fresh, inimitable amalgam that transcends the sum of its parts. I hear in this music the strains of experimentalism and of modern avant-garde that we all romanticized so in art history classes and give us all something to ponder and dwell on and shoot for. It’s music like this that gives me hope for the now, for what we might achieve, together, right now, if we are willing to try.
This video is intimate, sexy, trippy, romantic and weird all at the same time… a great song to seek meaning to! The song swept me away, as I hope it does for you.
Thanks for reading!