St. Vincent has a Cassandra moment for the digital age.
We didn’t think things could get much weirder than St. Vincent’s non-video video for “Digital Witness,” which had us re-booting our machines and calling other people into the room to make sure we weren’t imagining things that weren’t happening.
We thought wrong. The new official video for the song builds off of that jittery anxiety with a fleshed-out narrative that positions St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) as the unblinking, truth-telling, shock-haired madwoman in a land of conformity.
The drab, colorless, totalitarian architecture and dehumanizing matching jumpsuits call to mind a sort of Brave New World-like dystopia. (Are there any videos that aren’t either post-apocalyptic or dystopian these days, by the way?) “I will own your mind,” she sings, affecting the groupthink persona on display. “Give me all in your mind.”
“I knew the groove needed to be paramount,” Clark said of the songs on her forthcoming self-titled album in a press release. “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”
Clark isn’t ready for the funeral of the self here, however; she stands out in the video, both in appearance and manner, speaking defiantly and sarcastically to the brainwashed citizenry.
“What’s the point of doing anything?” she sings over the deceptively joyous horn blasts, glossing over the song’s creeping paranoia. “What’s the point of even sleeping?/ So, I stopped sleeping, I stopped sleeping./ Won’t somebody sell me back to me?”
But identity and personality can win out in the end if we try hard enough, though as Huxley wrote in his iconic novel: “If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.” Truth tea: spilled.
Photo credit: Seven Four Entertainment