Video Review: Santigold’s “Disparate Youth”
Most music videos visually tell a story. Often sexy dancers burst in with their jazz hands and rub up on each other; but, somewhere, there’s usually an attempt at a narrative. However, the lyrics won’t match what we’re watching; rather, some underlying theme is connecting the song to the story. Or sometimes the director is doing something random for the hell of it. It’s up to us to figure it out.
Watch this week’s video here:
Snow falling in reverse suggests that an altered state of consciousness is already in progress. Either that, or she’s got some ventilation problems. Her eye lids pop open to reveal her retinas are washed over with a ghostly white. Oh, it’s just Storm!
Santigold sings of stormy weather as she rides her scooter on the gorgeous sunny coast. Dressed in heels, jewellery, and designer sunglasses, an old man takes her across the choppy waters by boat where young islanders are waiting. Her clashing clothes contrast with their white-painted, exposed skin. She appears to be a stranger, curiously noting her surroundings: broken chicken wire, ornamental cloth hanging from a wheel that’s reminiscent of a dream-catcher, a bunch of cards in a basket which may or may not be part of an elaborate strip card game. (That‘s where their clothes went.)
Standing before two boys whose eyes are closed, she holds up her ring, and using some kind of mind control, their eyes open in a whitened trance. Oh, it’s just Storm’s illegitimate island children.
Her ring opens revealing… what is that? Maybe it’s just mysterious! Or maybe they couldn’t think of anything. Quick! Cut away to some fireworks in their mind’s eye!
The video’s style suits the song well. The erratic, electronic opening and beats set the hot and hazy island tone with its choppy waves, not to mention an uneasy feeling. Her deep, almost droning voice sounds hypnotic (or hypnotized?) while the synth flows on the trancey side.
I like the concept, but in the end, the action of the story drops off. Where did Santigold go? They reveal a connection between her and the two boys but then cut to some kids singing and the song is over. It’s an unsatisfying ending for a video that seems like it was going to have a conclusion. A dressed up woman with a big, gaudy gold ring and its apparent control over the natives calls to mind gold miners at the will of consumers. Golden fireworks flash in their minds like they’re under the gold’s thrall. For me, it’s reminiscent of Heart of Darkness and the ironic ivory worship by the Congolese. But, here, the ending leaves me with no closure or a even a set of possible conclusions. An explanation of ‘it’s mysterious’ or ‘it’s dreamy confusion’ doesn’t leave me satisfied and pulls the video down.