By Lee Anderson
The following is a music video by Austin, Texas duo The Stone MG’s, which consists of Rodney James on vocals and S.J. Warman on guitars and bass. Their new singlw “I Need You” is a song about addiction and the many hideous forms it can take.
The beat of the song comes in like mallets pounding a garbage can. Warman’s bass pulses in, soon covered by James’ pained but unhurried vocals. “I need you,” he sings. “And everything you do.” Framed in shadow, a black and white cartoon man stares at the middle distance. His shadow self (or bandmate?) steps out from behind him, then changes into cartoon sharks, tigers, spiders, teenagers dancing, and other dangerous animals.
Color is used sparingly in each scene, if at all, and then only to highlight what the illustrator wants to emphasize: splattering blood, the plastic on a child’s bag of potato chips, a pill bottle, an alcoholic’s eyes…
James’ voice takes you off-guard at first, like it’s mixed too high. But as the beat and bassline continue, his singing gradually takes over the song, like it’s meant to. His pitch is high because his soul is hurting.
The symbolism in the video is fairly easy to interpret: While innocent cartoon characters move within a cloud of friendly butterflies, the addicted are covered in a feeding frenzy of demonic beetles. Misery swarms over everything in the shape of bugs. Scenes transition down a tunnel of lights, feeling as though we’re either being taken upwards through the galaxy—or down into the earth, deeper and deeper, getting more and more lost…
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