Stop whatever you’re doing and watch this music video.
I’m one of those people who thinks of the recent post-O Brother Where Out Thou Americana music revival as being ‘just ok,’ and to be honest it can bore me if I listen to it for too long a time without a break. But the new song Poison Tree by the Milk Carton Kids is nothing short of amazing.
In fact all of Monterey, the album from which the song is lifted, is pretty great. The duo recorded the entire album live and on the road in the empty concert halls where they would later perform. The resulting acoustical reverb created in these small caverns is a sweetly mellow sound that is both sparse and haunting. And Poison Tree is by far my favorite track off the strong, strong album.
But as much as I like the song, I find that I like the Mike Venezia video even more. It’s breathtaking.
Venezia has somehow taken a song of a resigned and angry bitterness and transformed it into a musing on loneliness, specifically the loneliness that long-faded youth and a lifetime of unrealized dreams bequeath. It’s subject matter that should be heartbreaking, and in Venezia’s hands it truly is. But at the same time it’s also somehow miraculously full of hope and joy, things which flies directly in the face of the song itself. The resulting piece is a thing surprisingly rare in the world of music videos — a work of art where great music and a great visual medium combine to make something that is clearly and vastly greater than the sum of its parts.
I’ll admit it: I’ve watched it several times since I first watched it yesterday, and I’ve teared up each time.