Narrative: Tyler falls in love with the girl next door and tries to woo her away from her boyfriend. Performance: Tyler raps as he moves through the video – on a bike, at a creek, sniffing his paramour’s panties. Frank Ocean hovers in the backyard.
Song: One of the less brutal tracks from Bastard. Ostensibly a love song.
Why You Should Watch It: Tyler’s made it known that he wants to be known for directing more than he wants to be known for his music, and the kid’s off to a good start. Though it’s difficult to draw a consistent stylistic line between this and “Yonkers,” it’s clear he has an eye for visuals that compliment the music he and the rest of the collective produce. It’s especially obvious when you take into account the Golf Wang videos, the promotional spots for Bastard, and even the “Sandwiches” performance on Fallon – with its wandering hospital-gown zombie girl, garden gnomes and green ski masks.
While I can’t say for sure, I’d suspect the hand-drawn upside-down crosses and rounded, jaunty font used consistently across anything Odd Future is Tyler’s version of branding as well. If this is all the product of the same mind, it’s hard to argue against a consistent vision.
It’s impossible to say if Tyler’s developed a cinematic style to go with this content, but the sure-footed use of a tilt-shift lens in “Yonkers,” and “She”s use of Steadicam in the bedroom sequences display an understanding of visual grammar. In terms of their pacing, the Golf Wang videos and promotional piece below seem to borrow liberally from an unlikely source.
I couldn’t place it at first, but after a couple views it clicked: they look like early millenia MTV promos. The cutting, the canned sound effects, the sketch-like content – an MTV tag could’ve come up on the end of any of those clips and I wouldn’t have been surprised.
This is part of what works so well in “She” – how it takes elements of music videos almost everyone of a certain age will recognize and puts them into an otherwise bat-shit crazy narrative. Of course the boyfriend character is a shirtless, Uzi-wielding punk, of course the adults are played by members in wigs, of course the object of Tyler’s affection meets him at the lake (even though whoever left her that instruction was clearly a creep). These things are all foregone conclusions drawn from dozens of gangster rap, Beastie Boys and cheesy pop videos, the way Tarantino knows from years of obscure Seventies films that dirty cops are named Scagnetti. It’s a reflection of the music: “here’s what I’ve been fed, isn’t it awful?” Is it a stretch to point out that his Twitter profile picture was one of him displaying a mouthful of chewed up food? It’s like he’s showing us the deranged, evil kid all these influences should have made him, but didn’t. Instead, he’s content to just rub our faces in it.
Of course, compiling references does not make a good video:
– but Tyler and crew just use the references as dressing, not the content. The content is all black-eyed obsession and suggested murder. Instead of casting himself as a hero (which, given the lyrics would be unlikely), Tyler is a grade-A creeper. Everything around him seems to be operating at various Lynchian levels of insanity and surreality.
No one here is redeemable, and considering the video ends with Tyler about to kill a girl watching the video on TV, it would seem that goes for the audience too.
By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC