Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Henry Kaplan

Charly Bliss – Young Enough (Music Video)

In Young Enough, Charly Bliss once again found their way to one of the year’s best records. The record’s title track served as a show-stopping centerpiece, affording Hendricks a jaw-dropping moment of not only self-understanding but self-reclamation and personal forgiveness. A clear-eyed ode to making peace with the trauma the world’s inflicted on you, the song stands tall as an astonishing ballad from not just a single person but an entire band rediscovering their purpose.

Henry Kaplan returns to the director’s seat for “Young Enough” after gifting Charly Bliss one of 2019’s best — and most concisely edited — clips in the memorable “Hard To Believe”. Kaplan takes a different approach for “Young Enough” and the result’s breathtaking. Intended as a loving homage to Kate Bush’s “Running Up that Hill“, “Young Enough” posits the band as a capital A Artist. There are certain beats that rhyme with the Kate Bush clip, especially when it comes to the costuming and choreography, but there’s more than enough original material throughout the clip to qualify it as a genuine standout.

Boasting some of the most pure and gorgeous music video cinematography in recent memory (courtesy of DoP Chris Ripley) and anchored by an overwhelmingly committed central performance from bandleader Eva Hendricks, “Young Enough” carves out spots as both a visual feast and as a towering personal statement and possibly even a statement of intent. It’s immensely hard to look away from the clip at any given moment, as it plays off the idea of time and healing while utilizing a small arsenal of gorgeous visual effects that the clip expertly deploys in key moments to heighten the sense of the narrative’s daunting magnitude.

The world turns sideways, the people close to you offer support, and everything goes hazy at certain points in everyone’s life but it’s up to the individual on whether or not those times of hardship are insurmountable or if there’s a time where you can muster enough resolve to confront them directly. “Young Enough” uses this as a central truth, hinting its way towards a resolution that will never be truly comfortable and necessitates the ugly acceptance of living with defeat. Navigating the aftermath and coming through on the other side without self-loathing is where it gets truly difficult.

Evading that trap of self-defeat or corralling it into something healthy is what makes the final stretch of “Young Enough” so affecting. For the majority of “Young Enough”, the camera rightfully fixates on Hendricks as she navigates that terrain but slowly and steadily, the other band members are pulled into the frame and begin appearing with greater frequency until they’re all united at the end, hammering home a point that enlivened Guppy‘s subtext: the importance of community and friendship.

Without the people closest to us, we can become untethered and lose ourselves in the mist of uncertainty. Our friends and our communities are the bedrock of self-realization and, in our worst times, they can be genuinely life-saving aspects. Kaplan and Hendricks find a way to honor her friends, family, and closest collaborators in those closing frames, underscoring and highlighting a simple, obvious truth: Charly Bliss may have been exactly the vessel Hendricks needed to find a path back to understanding her own truth. If that’s the case, no words could possibly do the power of this clip, this record, or this band enough justice. All we can do is try.

Watch “Young Enough” below and pick up a copy of the record here.

April 2019: Three Weeks, Four Music Videos

Three weeks into April 2019 and the month’s yielded a staggering amount of good material and a small handful that’s genuinely great. Today, this site will feature a quartet of songs, a quartet of music videos (with one being a unified collection), and a quartet of full streams. A wide range of genres and styles is on display and everything’s more than worthy of some serious listening and/or watching investment. Art this strong should always be featured in some capacity, as many times over as possible. Scroll down and enjoy the riches.

Charly Bliss – Hard to Believe

Charly Bliss have taken some serious gambles in the lead-up to the band’s forthcoming Never Enough. Each of the quartet’s first two singles from the record saw the band take a running leap into more pop-friendly territory, with both “Capacity” and “Chatroom” on the fringes of spectacle. Both of those songs received attention-grabbing music videos from emerging powerhouse directors Michelle Zauner and Maegan Houang. “Hard to Believe” — a recent highlight of the band’s notoriously energetic live show — finds Charly Bliss offering a bridge between Guppy‘s sugar-rush of punk sweat and Never Enough‘s outsize ambition, while the Henry Kaplan-directed music video scales back the conceptional narrative for one of the band’s best visual offerings to date. A practice, a marble (a winking reference to another of the band’s unreleased songs), some truly exceptional editing work, subtle B-horror references, and a might-be murderer all coalesce into one of the most pure distillations of joy that 2019’s offered to date.

Fanclub – Uppercut

Shannon Wiedemeyer takes the directorial reins on Fanclub’s appealingly dreamy “Uppercut” and balances the clip somewhere between John Hughes and Jean-Luc Godard, evoking iconic imagery from decades past with a studied eye that serves the clip well. “Uppercut” itself feels lost in time, which the video wisely accentuates. Soft, hazy, and aided by a noticeable but welcome touch of the romantic, “Uppercut” is a fittingly minor work worthy of its influences.

Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else – Here Comes the Snow

“Here Comes the Snow”, the latest single from Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else, feels as if its being lovingly haunted by Mark Linkous’ gentle spirit. Unassuming and low-key, the clip’s pitched perfectly by directors Dakota Sillyman and John TerEick, who play into the song’s restraint to produce something absorbing and undeniably tender. Soft transitions, low lighting, and paper snowflakes litter the video’s landscape, steadily placing the viewer directly by some imaginary fire’s cackle in a cozy cabin during the dead of winter. In the end, “Here Comes the Snow” winds up being less of a warning and more of an invitation, to a trip well worth taking.

thanks for coming – part i: you’re welcome

A video compilation that arrives ahead of thanks for coming‘s no problem (due out in July), part i: you’re welcome tackles the 24 track record’s first six songs. Each one of those songs gets a distinct visual treatment that’s unified by a staunchly DIY aesthetic. Grainy, lo-fi, and utterly charming, part i: you’re welcome is a glimpse towards a future that demands to be cherished, something subtly underscored by the evident nostalgia coursing throughout this video project. Each of the six clips is met with a different directorial vision but they all work in tandem to create an effect that feels fleet in the moment but lingers long after the final frame.