Badlands is a 1973 classic by Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life, The New World) about two lovers going on a murderous crime spree through the blasted, stark landscapes of 1950s-era America.
It was the world's first introduction to Malick's elegiac, slow-moving style, where that gorgeous time of day known as Golden Hour seems to be planet earth's default setting.
And though he isn't credited as the director of the video for electro-pop musician/DJ PLS&TY's "Motives," it's tempting to think Malick did, in fact, helm this handsome 3-minute piece. Like his Badlands heroes, who were played by Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen, the video's photogenic protagonists are in the grip of young love's delirium, unmoored from the dreary docks of morality.
PLS&TY (Please & Thank You), whose music is as sunny and uncomplicated as his hometown of Palm Beach, has been an electronic music fixture since 2014, getting a major taste of success in 2017 when he dropped "Good Vibes," which went to #1 on iTunes US Electronic Charts. "Motives," meanwhile, recently hit #25 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic chart. It features the contributions of two other electro-pop musicians: producer Ganz and singer Nevve, and while only a dedicated connoisseur of the former and PLS&TY's previous work would be able to suss out who contributed what to the song's mix, the latter's contribution is obvious: she ably dominates the track with vocal stylings you've probably heard somewhere before: girlish, breathy, and crisped at the edges with vocal fry.
The short Bonnie and Clyde saga ends, naturally, with the mutually besotted couple busted in their highway-adjacent motel room, and we last see them passionately kissing in the back of a squad car. The viewer is advised to stay until the very end, though: capping the video is an unexpected coda, perhaps meant as a stinging condemnation of police hypocrisy. This is electro-pop with a message, folks. Best heed it.
Matt Fink lives and works in Brooklyn. For more of his work, go to organgrind.com.
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