Throughout the years, the sound of Phoenix, although distinct, has evolved from the rawness of garage sounds to additions of poppy synthesizers, and to thematic albums that went beyond experimental. We’re going to take a closer look at the diversity of Phoenix’s filmography for a bit. Without a doubt, their music videos said a lot about the band’s branding, which helped shape today’s contemporary independent music scene.
Since Phoenix will be coming back to Manila on August, we’ve rounded up five of the most distinct and iconic videos (in no particular order) of one of the coolest and most groundbreaking alternative French bands of our time.
1. Trying To Be Cool
Released in 2013 from the album Bankrupt! and directed by CANADA, the video for “Trying to Be Cool” shows the band in a witty studio production similar to videos produced by Ok, Go!. The upbeat music perfectly fits the scenarios shown in the video, which ends in a massive dance number that encircles the band as they sing the song’s outro.
The song “1901” from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix topped Billboard’s alternative charts on February 20, 2010, making it one of Phoenix’s most successful songs. Its music video, however minimal in special effects and transitions, showcases the band performing the song against an artfully synced series of strobe lights.
3. Goodbye Soleil
The nostalgia that this video could bring is strong. The 6th track from the album Ti Amo, “Goodbye Soleil” heavily sounds like a song with an obvious influence from the electronic duo Daft Punk. Soleil, being the French word that directly translates to Sun, sets the video ironically; it shows VHS clips of the band and random people enjoying the sun instead of saying goodbye to a supposed perfect European vacation.
Phoenix loves to blend lots of lo-fi footages in their music videos mainly because its mood perfectly matches the band’s overall sound. The MV for “Lisztomania”, probably Phoenix’s top song from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, showcases the band exploring the Franz Liszt museum in Bayreuth, Germany. Phoenix wrote the song to describe the feeling of a massive public response to music. Lisztomania is a term coined by German romantic literary figure Heinrich Heine describing the shows of Franz Liszt, a popular German virtuoso pianist.
Words cannot express how back-to-the-80s this video is. From the discotheque electronic intro accompanied by the washed neon lights to its anti-HD cropping, the music video for “J-Boy” is an instant classic made for the 80s. It starts out with an introduction from two Italian hosts. It is obvious that Ti Amo, Phoenix’s fresh release, reeks of romance and other Italian-inspired themes. Furthermore, the video provides an escape from today’s ever-growing technological frenzy as it shows nothing but the sought after aesthetics of entertainment in the good ol’ days of new wave and disco.
Five is not enough but we have to keep it tight and precise. We hope you’re just as excited as we are to see Phoenix again this August 15th at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
FEATURED IMAGE: An artwork from a screenshot of Phoenix’s “Trying To Be Cool” music video