Monday September 29 was a day for audio-visual experiences. Lakutis released a music video for the ever-adored and adorable “Body Scream” (dir. Adam Besheer), and Mastodon let out the like for the most-lauded track of their new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, “The Motherload” (dir. Thomas Bingham and Jonathan Rej). Both pieces feature long-haired men, bodily contortions, shirtlessness, gold teeth, kaleidoscopes, and delectable, weirdly pop-sensitive anthems.
When Lakutis dropped a clip for “Jesus Piece,” everyone and their family were scared for a month. Contra, “Body Scream” will more than likely have the same everyone enamored and warm. It’s the daisy-water in that backwoods jacuzzi, the meadow so idyllic it belongs in a thousand Febreze promos, the liberty of a bare chest collecting the smoke of plump marshmallows, the tropical wall in homage to Kahlo that leaves you with a cloud of tight, tangible euphoria. Apart from the artist’s customary hair-whipping, eye-rolling, jitteriness and a literal bloodbath in the final shot, there’s not much spooky about his latest — unless you want to comprehend the parallels between this and Charles Baudelaire’s “À Celle qui est trop gaie.” Lovelorn man agonizing in a paradise and greedily defining the feminine focus of his passions, describing flesh which gapes wide like a mouth, and it’s all rounded off with a sorrowful, crimson flourish. Kutis wouldn’t hurt a fly, though; he’s too lovely for that.
Some somber people have hated Mastodon since 2011’s The Hunter, the album which fell abysmally short of the bar set by its predecessor, Crack the Skye (2009), probably mostly because of “Creature Lives;” only Baroness can play swamp ballads, I guess. Once More ‘Round the Sun, released in June of this year via Reprise Records, has changed a few hard hearts and has certainly won many new ones.
That said, Mastodon does seem beyond the event horizon of the black hole that is pop metal, if only because of actual popularity and the haters writhe in anxious little pits of social media to reveal to the band their failure / success. The video for “The Motherload,” the song which almost single-handedly tips the record into a position of mainstream accessibility and therefore garners the greatest criticism, carries the weight of a hundred twerking tushies. Metalheads hate it, uninformed mediators try to defend it as a satire of trends and pop culture, I say it’s Mastodon’s essential and infinite “fuck you, we like fun.” Better yet, Brann Dailor himself says on the subject of blending butts and esoterica, “people would probably think, ‘That shouldn’t be there’, or ‘Those two things don’t go together, they shouldn’t be together.’ I wanted to just put them together because we can.”
Whatever the video is, it’s an odassey.