This is one of the quirkier music videos I’ve seen recently. St Vincent has a few really interesting videos to match their eccentric indie-pop music. Cruel’s video is very emotive, showing repressed anger, dread and vulnerability, all wrapped up into one lovely dark comedic package.
The concept of the video is quite elaborate, a motherless family spots the female lead vocalist, Annie Clark in a petrol station shop and abducts her before taking her to their home. They expect her to be the perfect wife and mother. It’s no happily ever after though, failing to fit the mould of the perfect housewife, the family bury Clark in the back garden. It has been likened to the movie Overboard, where Kurt Russell convinces amnesic Goldie Hawn that she is his wife.
The video was a little controversial, YouTube comments show complaints that by showing the family abducting her, it presents women as having no choice in the matter. However I don’t think the abduction should be taken so literally, I tend to agree with the view that it is symbolic of how women are treated in society. Their spirits are crushed when they are stuck in unhappy marriages with children and partners who don’t treat them properly. For me, what makes the video really interesting is that we learn the front door has actually been unlocked all along and that she could have left any time which leaves unanswered questions about why Clark’s character stays with the dysfunctional family.
St Vincent’s music is somewhat of an exploration of the unknown. It’s experimental, quirky and full of depth. The video is in fitting with the feminist viewpoint presented to us in the lyrics and all in all I think it is one of the best music videos I have seen in a while.