Cool New Music Video: "Another Life" by Black English

Posted by Caleb Jackson on June 3, 2015 in Cool New Music Videos

Contributor Post

The new Black English (formerly known as NO) video “Another Life” is the perfect example of a bar conversation played out in narrative form, and executed perfectly from beginning to end. “What if we made the saddest music video EVER... and then everybody started crying... and then couldn’t stop watching it, and then it would make them do THIS... and then... and then...” I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet, but it’s a really fun, high concept idea with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility about sadness. The vibe is really interesting, because it feels dually like a music video and a commercial. The focus of the video is the video - which is the "product," and all the characters’ actions revolve around it, showing many interactions that visually feel like a commercial, but exploring deeper emotions that remind you that the characters are on a journey. It keeps getting crazier, and things progressively happen that maintain your attention to the end. It’s a well balanced experiment that explores one idea all the way through, and includes a healthy dose of realism and fantasy.

Director Zak Stoltz’ typical modus operandi is to combine narrative with impressive visual effects, but this project was really more about the story and concept than eye candy. However, you can see his skills come through a little bit in the custom ads for "Tony’s building company." He’s done a ton of really awesome stuff with visual effects, creating incredible worlds in Fitz and the Tantrums’ “Fools Gold” and collaborating with Daniels on the mindblowingly novel “Tongues” by Joywave. In all his videos, you can see his sense of humor shining through. Everything he does is narratively cohesive, and well executed, but always has laughs. You can see more of his humor shine through on his video for Run River North “Fight to Keep” and 80’s nostaligia fest “Wallflowers” by Static Jacks. He’s got a lot to offer as a director, combining all the necessary parts to create impressive worlds on film, and this one is no exception.

The cinematography is also really spectacular. Director of photography Andrew Whittaker made this really cool by combining his repertoire of styles in this vid, creating standalone scenes that have a brighter, more commercial feel, and other scenes with a personal point of view. The warm shots in Home Depot are so perfect - it really makes you want to go get off your ass and do something, and get the approval of “that guy” who makes you feel manlier just by locking eyes with him (More Media producer Stephen Buchanan). Whittaker also has an impressive reel, working with the likes of Zedd on “Clarity” and the uber-impressive “Timekeeper” by Lucy Shwartz. The production design is also just really fun, toying around with cardboard houses and sheds that were designed to break on camera. It has a very Sandlot feel, especially in the scenes with the crying teenagers. The art department, headed up by Jason Kisvarday, always kills it - he’s done some of my favorite projects, and never ceases to create cool stuff, whether it’s a fake penis in the “Turn Down for What” video for Lil’ Jon, or creating a scary bed that moves in Shlohmo’s "Buried." 

The band makes a pretty great cameo, and probably has the funniest moment in the whole experience. Though the name change from “No” to “Black English” was disorienting at first, this vid was shot a few years back and was released after the band changed their name this past August. That’s why in the video, the former name is still present, but the band still released it as Black English. They seem to be doing great, putting out a new album last year, and just wrapping up a tour with the Psychedelic Furs. Check out their new album NO!

Caleb Jackson is a Tucson native, Los Angeles based writer and director who spends his time pretending he lives in any decade besides this one. He tends to enjoy music videos with a little bit of narrative and a lot of bright colorful lights.

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