- Wes Duncan
5 Songs I Love w/ Sarina
Japan's rising star Sarina recently released her stunning new single and music video, ‘Yu-Utsu na Michi’ (Melancholy Roads). Her first song written in both English and Japanese, the alt-pop track plunges listeners into a bittersweet story of pursuing dreams, no matter how lonely or scary it might be. We caught up with Sarina to learn what five songs most inspire and connect with her.
Mad Tsai - Stacy’s Brother
Poor Stacy, first her mother, now her brother. This niche genre of targeting anyone in Stacy's family EXCEPT her is both hilarious and a wonderful call and response between artists. The thing I love about Mad Tsai’s 'Stacy’s Brother' is how the artist completely self-produced it. On an Instagram story, he shares how he is an independent artist and funded the music video without a label’s help. With the end result being so professional, so clean, and so fun to watch, it's exciting to look forward to what other television show-level music videos he may produce. The song is catchy, and I loved the progression of the story told both with the lyrics and in the video.
The Lumineers - Sleep On The Floor
'Sleep On The Floor' is an absolutely beautiful song. The music video for it adds an entirely new level of depth. It opens on what we assume is some kind of funeral process. A man whispers something to our opening female lead and shortly after, he leaves. We believe that she stays behind until, with a blurring effect, a version of her follows after him while another remains in the house. We then see a whole life, the two of them traveling from place to place. Experiencing life and all it has to offer. It's beautiful and heartfelt. However, my favourite part? The editing!! The editing is done in a way where every cut is directly on beat with the song. It's satisfying and easy to follow. At the end of the video, we see our female lead waking up in an empty house right back at the funeral, leaving us to wonder if the life we just saw was real or simply what could have been.
Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends
'Wake Me Up When September Ends' is an absolute classic and widely considered one of the best narrative music videos ever. I can see why. The actors are skilled and tell the story of two young lovers at the end of summer with such brutal clarity. There’s an innocence there that we watch stripped away as the young man goes to war. It's startling. The break in the music before the second half is raw, brutal, and beautiful. The girl begs him to tell her he “didn’t do it,” repeating “oh my god” in racking sobs as he screams that he “thought (she) of all people would understand.” It's heartbreaking. At this point, we don’t know what it is, only that it's something that threatens this beautiful, tentative loving future the two of them have. We see him go to war… And moreover, we see his teammates knocked down, leaving us with a last haunting line, staring at this wreckage and this once innocent boy surrounded by death, “I just want you to know, no matter what, you’re always gonna have someone here for you. I’m never gonna leave you.” The simple call back to the opening dialogue solidifies the foreshadowing from the beginning. It's beautiful, heart-wrenching, and clear to understand.
Jackson Wang - Blow
Jackson wang… where to start? His music style, music video style, and performance style is artistic, wild, dangerous, and enticing all at once. He’s all the threats, and I love that in an artist. The music video for Blow opens with a beautiful shot of a pile of bodies as they exhale smoke in reverse. We watch the smoke slowly seep back into their lungs until finally, they, startlingly, start screaming and spasming atop each other. It's jarring and off-putting, and it sets up one of the most exciting and interesting music videos I’ve ever seen. The choreography is stunning and masterfully executed, and the cinematography captures the tone and emotion of the music and dancing perfectly. The editing in how we barely notice the edits is spectacular. Technically speaking, this music video has everything. I noticed the beautiful use of rewinded shots and the fact, on occasion, Wang stops lip-syncing and focuses on his beautiful dancing. It’s evocative, it’s sensual, and it's aesthetically stunning with amazing costuming. (I’m weak to gothic, steampunk aesthetics, especially the Sexy Vampire Demon people vibe) All in all, Blow is a wonderful music video, and it made me feel inspired to try and replicate the feeling it evoked in me.
Porter Robinson - Shelter
I would have to be lying if I didn’t give the number one spot to Shelter, Porter Robinson. I have always loved animation as a medium for storytelling. There are things we can do in animation that are impossible with live action. 'Shelter' is a STORY. It is a clear-cut story with a plot, a mystery, and a reveal, all done in the span of a few minutes. The contrast of Shelter’s EDM arrangement with the gut-wrenching melancholy of this girl, all alone inside this empty world. The way we see her constantly checking for messages (which she hasn’t gotten any of in over 2400 days.) The way we see her memories start to flash in her mind. When we see this girl, this poor girl all alone for all this time, remembering her loving father and, subsequently, the end of the world. We are left with the knowledge that 1, she may be the last human alive. And 2. Her father loved her so much that he built a space shuttle just to keep her alive, just so she’d have a world that was hers, even if he wasn’t in it anymore. The lyrics of the song are later sent to her in Japanese as a final letter from her father. The words themselves in the song are beautiful and so sad. This is the music video I go to when I’m alone at night, feeling sad and in desperate need of a good cry (I don’t know why but I can’t just cry when I feel the need to. I need a catalyst for tears). 'Shelter' has such a special place in my heart because it showed me that, yes, I CAN tell a deep and full story in the span of a song. The animation is beautiful, the story is beautiful, and the song is beautiful. This music video is my secret personal goal.
Connect with Sarina on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and don't forget to stream ‘Yu-Utsu na Michi’ across all platforms today!