Like most people, there's a solid chunk of my personality that secretly loves to be disturbed on some level. I think part of that can be blamed on the fact that my mother found it totally appropriate to introduce a very young Brent to a slew of her favorite horror movies.
By the age of 10, I was just as familiar with Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger and Chucky as I was Bert and Ernie, and it’s made me a bit of a purist when it comes to the art of scaring the ever-living shit out of an audience. Give me suspense and unsettling ambiance over a ghost knocking things off a table any day.
I say all of that to set up my appreciation for this new video from Clipping.. The LA-based experimental hip-hop group has caught my ear a couple times over the past few years with their cinematic soundscapes and odd production choices, but today (February 15) it was my eye they caught with the supremely disturbing music video for “Back Up.”
Holy shit, this video is viscerally unnerving.
Hip-hop is not historically the first genre I would turn to when looking to be genuinely distraught by a music video—save for a couple solid offerings by Brotha Lynch Hung, Geto Boys and Tyler, The Creator—but with “Back Up,” Clipping. has done just that.
The aesthetic presented in "Back Up" has been done a thousand times before—the shaky, VHS-quality camera work, a spotlight being shone in a dark room filled with terrifying characters. These are the basics of modern horror cinematography at work, but the vibe behind them is much more authentic than your average October box office cash grab. It’s ultimately the execution that makes the “Back Up” video so compelling.
As the camera winds through the nooks of this unspeakably bleak room, there’s a constant juxtaposition of childlike innocence and the darkest, most wretched corners of the human psyche. Again, creepy children in dark rooms are a horror staple, but there’s a clear understanding of why those things are terrifying in this video.
DJBooth Managing Editor Brendan Varan described the video as “nightmare fuel,” and I’m pretty inclined to agree with him. If you’re looking for a harsh reset to your post-Valentine’s day love-hangover, this should do it.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube