Mike Mills + Miranda July + Blonde Redhead = Rad
The video for “Top Ranking” (one of my favorite tracks on the album) features his girlfriend, Miranda July, doing “one pose per second” in front of a simple white wall. “Silently” is simply a slideshow of textual descriptions that plays out like script notes for a video that we can only watch in our imaginations.
“Impure Hair” displays a single static shot of a cloudy Los Angeles vista with a rainbow gradually appearing on the horizon. “The Dress” is a montage of ordinary people staring into the camera and crying on an isolated black background, and “23″ plays the love story from James Cameron’s Titanic backwards like Memento.
Rather than going the more obvious route of depicting the band floating in a meaninglessly lush fantasy world of clouds, Mills grabs our attention with the incongruities between his visions and the songs. The simplicity of these videos subverts the complexity of the music, separating the visual element from the music we’re ostensibly being sold. In varying degrees, the songs take a back seat, becoming subliminal or taking on the function of a forgotten memory echoing above a scene we’re watching unfold.