Music videos in this day and age are at times almost as important as the songs themselves. But producing music videos isn’t easy; from the concept to the direction to production, the entire process is extremely time and money consuming. And the sad reality is, is that most of them end up looking just like other music videos without any interesting defining characteristics. Even though stepping outside of that box might seem impossible at times, indie pop band LANY really did manage to think bigger and make some worthwhile videos to accompany their songs. By thinking bigger, I’m not even talking about crazy expensive props and extravagant locations; I mean making the best use of minimal resources and doing what other artists aren’t. Sometimes bigger really isn’t better and that’s exactly where these two videos come into play.
“Thick & Thin” was instantly captivating, mostly because it was shot entirely in one take. We live in a world edited by jump cuts and effects and it’s refreshing to see something that doesn’t induce a migraine while watching it. It starts out with a pretty girl looking through a fish tank in a restaurant and within a few seconds she gets up and walks to her car. Lead singer Paul Klein is sitting on the back of her car, which she doesn’t seem to notice. The sun is setting as she’s driving on the freeway with the golden sky highlighting all the palm trees in the background. Most of the duration of the video is spent with him hanging out on the back of the car and lip syncing to the song until she finally makes it to the beach and stops. She starts heading down to the beach and he’s still following her, until she starts running towards the shore which is when he finally stops following her.
Besides the obvious message of realizing that a relationship is over, this video contains some of the best, yet simplest, symbolism. At the beginning, I wondered why there was a shot of fish in a tank and what that could stand for. But then I pieced it together with the ending, when the girl runs into the ocean. This could be a parallel of how trapped she feels in the relationship to how she feels when she finally gets out of it; from a fish stuck between glass walls to being able to swim in the entire ocean. Contrasting to how the narrator feels, he seems stuck to her, following her around not just physically but emotionally as well. He knows that she doesn’t feel the same but is pleading to get her back anyway. But once he sees how free she is at the end, he realizes that it’s truly over and that might be what’s best anyway. The time of day the video was shot during also supports that point of endings; the end of day translating to the end of the relationship. Surprisingly, this song wasn’t even released as a single, even though it definitely should have been.
On the contrary, “Super Far” was released as a single, with another marvelous music video to boot. Just like the latter, this one was also shot in one complete take. But that appears to be the only similarity, as this one has a completely new vibe to it. It’s shot in a plain room without any props or background images, however, the most prominent contributions are the visual effects and choreography. There are numerous colors present throughout, starting off with a pink/magenta combo and some yellow thrown in there. The colors change to a more mellow green/yellow and back to the red/pink, until after the bridge out screens are lit up with a blue sky. At the end, the colors fade to white and the band walks out of the room. The colors fit in with the lyrical content which is about a failed relationship, and is expressed perfectly within those few moments. The red and pink show passion and admiration, seemingly trying to make the relationship work while the green and yellow demonstrate the positivity and stability that might be missing. In the final moments when it all turns blue, we see the tranquility at the end of it all. Even better, while that light show goes on, we have the band dancing to each beat and piece of the instrumental. They’re definitely not in sync most of the time and normally I’d find this a little awkward. But something about it is charismatic and I appreciate the effort to include some sort of organized choreography, which has been highly missing in pop music since the early 2000’s.
Everything aside, all that it takes to make a good music video is a little bit of effort. From the get go, these two in particular aren’t flashy or over the top, and that’s exactly how they should be. They represent the music in a way where the video doesn’t overshadow the song, while having enough substance there to decipher the meaning of it all. The visual and musical component fit perfectly hand in hand, never becoming mundane nor one aspect becoming more paramount than the other. LANY truly is one of the leading forces in pop music in every aspect and I know they will achieve so much more in the coming years.