Michel Gondry directed a new White Stripes video (yes, this is a headline written in 2016)
If I was searching for a music video that elicits overt nostalgia with subtle imagery, I would immediately Google whether or not Michel Gondry directed a White Stripes video, and as of this week, I would be in luck. The director perhaps best known for his work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind oversaw the new White Stripes video “City Lights,” and it manages to be as casually melancholic as you would hope and expect from the collaboration. The track itself is actually an older White Stripes song originally written for their fifth studio album Get Behind Me Satan, but remained unreleased until Jack White revisited it in 2015 for the release of his new retrospective, Jack White Acoustic Recordings: 1998-2016.
The video itself features a man taking a steaming hot shower during which he draws pictures detailing moments in his life on the shower walls. As happens with condensation (and the metaphorical implication of time) the images quickly erase themselves to the gentle sound track of “City Lights.” Regardless of your feelings about the song itself, it’s nearly impossible for anyone who grew up listening to The White Stripes to watch this video without feeling a surge of nostalgia and a bit of existential angst. Why do you always have to remind us of our mortality, Gondry?!
The video feels even sweeter with the knowledge that Gondry shot and edited it without telling either members of the band first. He filmed it with the intention of surprising frontman White, and revealed it to the singer over the weekend where I imagine the men held hands and stared intensely into each other’s melancholy-stricken faces before breaking down into tears.
While this is the newest official White Stripes release since the romantically elusive duo parted ways in 2008, the ever vampire-chic White appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Friday to promote his new set of recordings: Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016.
In true keeping to his garage rock persona, before taking the stage for his solo performance White sufficiently teased Fallon for his mediocre taste in guitars, then melted into his acoustic renditions of “Love is the Truth” and “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket.”
If watching those videos doesn’t make you feel a mixture of ineffable sadness, youth slipping through your fingers but also a masturbatory joy at seeing a high-school favorite still doing his thing, then I’m 100% jealous of you.