4. Tune-Yards – “Water Fountain” [dir. Joel Kefali]
A clear case of a Song-of-The-Year contender that was recast by a brilliant video, Tune-Yards‘ “Water Fountain” draws clearly on a visual tradition that includes Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (note the animated, potentially man-eating, sofa), B-52s videos and Laurie Anderson’s video experimentation and performance art. In other words, it is about as perfect a visual analog of Tune-Yards’ sound as you could ask for; bright, fierce electro-acoustic pop that is clearly the inheritor of a certain 1980s clash of music and sound art (think the Talking Heads and Bobby McFerrin) even if its teeth come from a very contemporary sound closer in rebel spirit to Santigold and M.I.A.
Also like Merrill Garbus’ sonic creations, director Joel Kefali‘s visual is packed with throw-away genius, creating multiple, disorientingly brilliant set-pieces–a furry one-eyed monster straight out of Yo Gabba Gabba, a multi-armed spider puppet, a basketball playing rabbit skeleton, Merril herself in animated hipster TV shades that broadcast cartoon static–and then cutting between them at an increasingly frenzied pace that mirrors the songs lyrics and the overall Tune-Yards’ feel of a creative orphan at play in the empty fields left by late capitalism:
No water in the water fountain / No phone in the phone booth /And you say old Molly Hare
Whatcha doin’ there? / Jump back! Jump back! / Daddy shot a bear…I saved up all my pennies and I gave them to this special guy / When he had enough of them he bought himself a cherry pie / He gave me a dollar. A blood-soaked dollar / I cannot get the spot out but / It’s okay it still works in the store…
– Eddie STATS