After being m.i.a. for a while, BANKS is back with a very NSFW video (Nudity is not graphic, but lyrics and content are racy enough to not warrant watching this in the office) entitled "F*** With Myself."
The interesting aspect of the video is the obvious provocation in which Banks flips the use of the F word three times. The entire song is seemingly a triple entendre. One could interpret the first context of the use of the word to connotate BANKS being satisfied with her own personal sexuality outside of another partner. However, that seems to on the nose even though she most likely knows that will be on the listener's mind.
The second connotation of the word would be in the new context. To "F*** with" as in to "Get along" with. She is letting us know that has reached a point in her life where she gets along fine without anyone else. This is the most clear message of the song, but there is a third meaning that seems to sneak in.
The third context of "F*** with" would be to "aggravate" or "provoke." In the end, she sets fire to this prosthetic bust that seems to be somewhat modeled after her own likeness while she sings "So I F*** with myself more than anybody else." Is she tormenting herself. Does she drive herself crazy with her antics? The meaning of a work of art can often be in the eye of the beholder and it doesn't seem too far off to assume that maybe three interpretations might make for good company when watching this video.
There is something so simple, and quite mesmerizing about this video. It's already four days old, but Francis and the Lights music video for "Friends" featuring Bon Iver and Kanye West has me revisiting it over and over again.
The minimalism is so bare that it practically punches the viewer in the gut. It's almost taunting and may as well be begging for criticism. Minimalism can almost become a cliche, especially in the world of music videos. One of the best uses of this aesthetic to this day is still Beyonce's "Single Ladies."
But where Beyonce's video gleaned with the polish of a stark white background that almost felt claustrophobic, Francis' video is so raw and open, giving the viewer so much space and room to breathe that it almost comes across as messy. The lack of an actual ceiling is clearly apparent, the step ladder sits idly in the corner as the camera moves in on Francis as the black negative space peaking into the left side once again make us feel like something is off. Francis sits somber, his surroundings as raw and naked as the emotions he's trying to convey through his harmonized vocals. When steps off of ladder and walks into what seems like pitch darkness but reveals a blinding light everything changes... he's alive only to tame himself when entering right back into the white walls. Are all of these nuances making any type of intentional statement? That's not important... this is a video where the visuals refuse to be anything more but a moving representation of the sonics that play in the background. Even Kanye's brief visual cameo speaks to his equally small contribution vocally in the music itself.
Designer Massimo Vignelli when speaking to the emotive power of minimalism, said; "Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being, it's a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance. It is the persistent search for purity, the search for serenity, for silence as a presence, for the thickness of spaces, for space as immensity. Minimalism is beyond time - it is timelessness, it is noble and simple materials, it is the stillness of perfection. It has to be the being itself, uncovered by useless crusts, not naked but completely defined by itself, by its being."