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New Discoveries: Woodkid’s ‘The Golden Age’

I just spent several hours going through a list of this year’s GRAMMY nominees, finding videos, for each nominated song, a task associated with my day job at Radio.com. It was at times tedious but also, in many cases, fun and eye-opening. There’s a lot of, shall we say, less-than-inspirational music on the list, especially among the categories that wind up on television. But dig deep and you’ll find some gems.

For instance, I knew nothing about Woodkid, a French singer-songwriter and director (real name Yoann Lemoine) who’s probably best known for the video work he’s done for artists like Katy Perry, Pharrell, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Woodkid was nominated for Best Music Video for his song “The Golden Age” (featuring Max Richter).

Taken from Woodkid’s 2013 album of the same name, both the song and the black-and-white video are quiet, dreamy and melancholy, sharing nothing much at all with the pop of singers like Perry or Swift. Carve out a few minutes (OK, actually more like 11) and watch it below.

After an introduction that seemed to foreshadow an electronic dance experience, it was surprising to see how the song soon turned quiet and contemplative. Visually, the video is built from a series of moving, moody images involving people living, loving, playing and fighting in what looks the bayous of Louisiana. Adopting the perspective of a young boy, the video has the existential sheen of a Terrence Malick film. It’s going to take further viewings to unravel the narrative threads.

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