Not the Same Place: Review of the "Gravity" Music Video

Vienna Teng is one of my favorite musical artists, perhaps my favorite overall recently. She’s released three albums and is about to release a fourth this year. Her first music video was just filmed a few months ago and released, uh, yesterday. The song is “Gravity”, one of the more popular tracks from the first album (probably partly because it’s available for free on her website).

(I think the video will be better if you watch it before reading my comments. If you care about my comments at all.)

First off, I have to say that Whidbey Island, WA, where they filmed, is beautiful, especially in some of the long shots here. The use of color here is really great as well. And the shot of a man lying on the beach is striking from the beginning.

Which brings me to my first thought…what is this random, somewhat rough-looking man doing here? The original song doesn’t really call for this story. This bothered me a little throughout the whole thing, but the staggering nature of the shots made me decide it was OK. *grin*

0:20 is an amazing wide shot. Makes me want to go climb and jump around and explore that island.

The man’s costume is interesting, not something you’d consider modern. I think maybe that’s part of the point; he’s an anachronism. The notion of time and ancientness comes up again with the pocketwatch.

“Turning in revolutions” for a still windmill…I was hoping it would start turning slowly but no go. Guess it would have ruined the mood, and/or the filmers didn’t have control over that.

I like the condensation on the shingles.

2:26. All along I think there’s been a few too many shots from this angle, but this pan-and-stop just bothers me. I don’t know how I would have structured this shot, but I personally try to be very careful with my pans, and this one feels gratuitous. Also, I’d like to see the “story” part of the video given a little more time, too, somehow.

2:37. Dramatic! I love this shot, only wish the music had given it better support.

3:20. This shot goes with the wide 0:20 shot I mentioned earlier…it’s just a great open shot of the wilderness and then the two lone figures. Who aren’t actually present together.

That brings us to about the end of the movie, where I can note that, um, unfortunately I don’t really like Vienna’s dress. Or the black-on-black designs on the piano. But, well, whatever.

And, I know it’s not really fair to complain that you don’t understand a music video, but I don’t really understand the video. The story has very little to do with the song, in my opinion, and I’m not exactly sure what it is he found at the end. But again, this is typical for a music video.

Despite all my nitpicks, though, this is Vienna Teng, a great location, and good filmmakers (who apparently filmed about half of this before approaching her or her label). So I can’t help but like this, and be amazed by this act of filmmaking.

P.S. Vienna Teng is coming to Oakland on April 24! If anyone wants to go with me/us, comment, call, wall-post, etc. and…um…we’ll ~coordinate~.

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