Things get dark in sunny L.A., or is it all a deadly daydream?
What if your creepiest fantasies were your best ideas? That seems to be one of the disquieting questions posed in the video for Ward White’s “Easy Meat.”
When it comes to the songs on White’s latest album, The Tender Age, there are two things you can count on — you’ll meet plenty of characters you wouldn’t want to know in real life, and there’ll be more tantalizing questions raised than answers given. That goes double for the aforementioned video.
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter White has spent years assembling a musical rogues’ gallery of unsavory characters, and the narrator of “Easy Meat” portrayed by the artist himself is a quintessential addition to the lineup. Amid a visual vocabulary worthy of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, we’re ushered into an average-looking suburban house where a seemingly strait-laced White peers uneasily out his window.
While he begins unspooling vague-but-disturbing fantasies, we alternately see him cowering fully clothed in his bathtub, grinning sardonically as a strange, Joker-like figure, and observing a sleazy-looking specimen hanging around outside his house.
As White explains when queried, “The chorus protests too much with ‘It was just a thought I had. I would never really act on it.’ The veracity of these protestations, as well as the nature of his transgressions — if any — remains unclear.”
Is his sinister self his true identity or just an imaginary construct? Is he in denial of terrible deeds or idly exploring forbidden fantasies? What’s the deal with the weirdo out front? Once you start asking these kinds of questions, you know you’ve been irretrievably sucked into the weird world of Ward White.
Indie origins notwithstanding, the video is strikingly polished and artfully rendered, more like something you’d queue up for an art-house theater than a DIY quickie slapped together on somebody’s laptop and tossed onto YouTube. This can be connected to the fact that White’s got something of a ringer in his corner.
The clip was shot, directed, and edited by Heidi Adams. As an established commercial and feature-film production designer with an impressive resume, Adams obviously knows her way around an evocative setting. And the blend of the prosaic and the unhinged that she achieves in her visuals is the ideal accompaniment to the similar mix White serves up in the song.
And if the cocktail of tastefulness and transgression that is “Easy Meat” tickles your cerebral cortex, there’s a batch of similarly seductive tracks awaiting you on The Tender Age, lurking somewhere out there right now and just waiting to be invited in.
VIDEO: Ward White “Easy Meat”