I'm having a little trouble trying to figure out how exactly to write about this. See. this is an album, but what the nomination is for is Best Long For Music Video for "Nine Types of Light." Basically, it's an hour-long 'movie' video. So I guess that's where our concentration should be, given this is a Grammy Special post string.
Quick notes on the album though:
It was released in April of 2011, and is the fourth studio album by the band. It is also the last to include bassist Gerard Smith, who passed away from lung cancer a little over a week after the release.
There is a note from the band on their vevo, where the long form music video is posted originally, that this album is "just as much an album as it is a movie. This movie is mean to be a visual re-imagining of the record. ... Tunde Adebimpe, the director for the full Nine Types of Light movie, storybooked the music videos together with interviews from local New Yorkers on various topics, including dreams, love, fame and the future."
And now I'm excited.
So, here's the full video:
So, obviously, we open up with people speaking about this dream. And this is not a song in any way. But then we do go into... the last song on the record. This is so breaking my usual review methods...
"Caffeinated Consciousness" (Track 10) is like this weird Yellow Submarine updated. And it screams green screen in this video - if not, I'd be amazed. It's an incredibly interesting approach to a song - like there's supposed to be tons to it, but really it's just about being hyped on caffeine and what that's like. I think for the video's purposes, it's just meant to get us hyped and in to the moment.
We're taken back to the beginning with "Second Song" (Track 1). The video takes on this wild monotone claymation concept now. That break with all of the colors fits the song in a really cool way. Maybe that was paper, not clay. Whatever. I'm hoping this connects well with the next video, because it didn't carry over well from the first at all.
"New Cannonball Blues" (Track 7) is opened with another montage of people. This time, their speaking on the world, the trash that's in it, and letting down our adult guard. And the video is totally different from the other two. I have to say, if these videos hadn't been compiled like this, you all still might be seeing them individually on this blog. The artistic approaches to the visualizations are really cool. Definitely not made for a sober state of mind, but really cool nonetheless.
We go from some crazy art animations into a quirky live video for "No Future Shock" (Track 4). Hahahaha, I'm cracking up about some of these dance moves. How can you not? It's just a weird kind of song and would be awesome in some club actually. The shots are a little weird. We go from something clear, to a shot that looks like someone is filming a television screen. Then there's the inputs of shots from around cities, which is probably where the message of it all is meant to come in.
"Repetition" (Track 8) starts right up after this. Very cool art work here, and different from anything we've seen thus far. It's more down to earth, but shows some opinions on work and life that pack more of a punch than any of the abstract work has been doing yet. Repetition is enhancing life from the bland norm that we usually experience.
Our "characters" are back - mind you, these are the few consistencies we have in the entire film. This time, it's about love. Yikes. Deep breath here. It's an emotion that they can all relate to, and understand it as something absolutely insane, but incredibly wonderful, all at once. Far too true. And how trying to get rid of it is the hardest thing.
The track starts up next, "Will Do" (Track 6). Now, this is probably the first video that seems to provide concept to the song. The virtual reality helmets take them back to their loves, which is just like what the song is saying. It's an entirely heartbreaking song, and knowing that the returns in the video are not real just adds to the hurt for it.
"Keep Your Heart" (Track 2) is a different voice, and thus different feel. It's a very crudely made video in comparison to the rest, but it's still different. I'm thinking that this one is meant to reflect more pain from love? Maybe this is what those people were getting at throughout their commentary. You're finding pieces of it, but having so much trouble with the whole. There's some kind fo twisted happy ending there though, when she finds all of him and gets what she's been searching for.
We now fade in to "Forgotten" (Track 9), another live action video, surprisingly. Wait... is that a.... ZOMBIE?? And then... a zombie killer saves the strippers? God I'm confused. I feel like all they wanted to do was a zombie video, and this was the way to it. Actually, it sort of transitions nicely into the next interview segment, talking about fame and fantasies of it. Don't ask em how, but it works.
Then there's comments about money and it changing people, giving an "unrealistic sense of self." "I think I want to be myself" is the last thing we hear going in to "Killer Crane" (Track 5). This one's kind of just a slideshow and mashup of the band's pictures and faces. It's a very trance-inducing song, maybe just because of the echo and citar throughout. It's extremely gentle and soothing, and in amazement at how the good things have managed to stay good.
Then, there's a little story on them, saying that they broke up, then met a year later at a local diner. You need to watch this part and just laugh at their little stories.
"You" (Track 3) is the final song used in this film, and that little bit at the diner leads into it. I think he's being reminiscent on the band, if we're applying the lyrics to the video. Yeah, this is just sad, but sad enough to cross the line to hilarious.
No, I don't have a "Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again" list for this one. I think my reasoning's good enough though. As a full-form movie, the videos don't necessarily tie together as one story, but they do rely on those videos to be viable pieces. I loved so much of the artistic approach to this whole album, and they really went in a great direction putting the whole thing to visuals. I'll be interested to see the other approaches in this category to see how they measure up.