These videos are fascinating as they range from almost completely distorting the image (My Bloody Valentine) to showing reality with slight alterations (Lush). Now these are clearly purposeful distortions and serve to create a different tone within each piece. It is interesting then, that despite the difference in visuals, the tones don’t stray from a place of calm. They all feature electric guitar and drum sets, hallmarks of more intense genres, but the songs seem to ebb and flow, rather than rock and roll. Another feature they all share is that they tend to revel in the strangeness of their visuals. “Cocteua Twins” in particular seems to enjoy leading the viewer through a landscape of blurry shapes and indistinct outlines. In doing so it allows the viewers eyes to relax and lets them focus on the music. One would be mistake, however, in thinking that this is the only purpose of the visuals. Despite allowing the music to become a focal point, the visuals provide a narrative that can then be driven by music rather than text or the spoken word. It’s brilliant in the way that the images are left without enough direction to create a distinct story. This allows the viewer to imagine for himself what the music is really about. Some blurry pictures of a girl, a hawk, and flowing grass provide a vague outline that the viewer can then fill in.
In this way, “My Bloody Valentine” is actually less defined, in terms of a narrative, than the other two videos. The only visuals provided are fading images of several men and women. The lyrics of the song are often hard to pick out and there is little narrative to see. The artists seem to know this and want the video to be purely experiential. It isn’t a song where lyrics can be dissected, and a story can be extracted; this is a video that simply wants the viewer to reflect on how it makes them feel. It made me feel distinctly uncomfortable. I like having at least vaguely defined narratives and the only real hint of a narrative this song had, was its title.
The final music video “Lush” was the most “normal” video I saw. It had more distinct lyrics, a chorus that was relatively easy to follow, and a music video that wasn’t necessarily trying to do anything out of the ordinary. Images of the musicians contrasted with flames and swimming humans might appear odd, but when I compare it to the other videos, it seems quite mundane. It honestly made me feel safe and happy. It had an upbeat tune and allowed me to nod my head in time with the simple beat. The visuals didn’t attempt to steal my attention, but were simply a garnish on an already satisfying meal.