This article was first published in our online discussion forum. Come on over to https://vandervault.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=603 to join the conversation about this article.
Here follows a dream project, specifically my dream project for Grace to be released in conjunction with her coming EP. It isn’t armchair managing, it isn’t me trying to tell Grace what to do with her art or career…It’s just a bit of daydreaming from a single fan and nothing more. Take it for what it is…
There seems to be a trend developing in the music industry, and it’s a solid idea. The return of the rock/pop opera film.
The Who released the movie Tommy in 1975 based on their rock opera concept album that dropped back in 1969. It was wild, psychedelic and filled with star performances from the likes of Tina Turner, Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton and more. It was a visual representation of every track on the album sewn together into a trippy narrative that follows the protagonist on a post-traumatic-stress-induced inner journey…Yeah, it’s weird.
Pink Floyd released the movie The Wall in 1982 based on a rock opera concept album of the same name that debuted in 1979. Like Tommy, the Wall was a wild ride filled with mind blowing imagery and sociological commentary while also being a psychological character-study.
Enter Melanie Martinez in 2019 with her new album “K-12” and with it a 92 minute long film/longform music video Melanie wrote and directed herself that features every song on the album strung into loose narrative that plays into the aesthetic that she introduced to the world back 2015 with her debut album “Cry Baby” that I won’t even try to begin explaining. Since its release on September 6th the full movie on Vevo/YouTube has already accumulated 24 million views and helped to propel the album to #3 on the album charts behind only monsters Post Malone and Taylor Swift.
Trailer for K-12:
(warning: an F-bomb is dropped and disturbing imagery)
Also in 2019, the Lumineers, who played at the Railbird music festival as a headliner, debuted the visual equivalent of their latest concept album “III” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Rumour has it that “III“ will be battling “K-12” for best longform music video at the Grammys if “III” is released in a more broadly public manner before this coming Monday when the qualification period for this year’s Grammys ends.
Trailer for III:
(warning: disturbing imagery)
This brings me to Grace’s coming EP. If everything previewed and released post-“Stray” makes it onto the EP we will receive a special gift from Grace; her first concept album (though a short one in the form of an EP).
While I love the music video for “Waste My Time”, it isn’t really, in any way, representative of the narrative told in the lyrics of the song, and so if a longform music video were to be made of the full album a new shoot for WMT would have to be undertaken, unless Grace wants to take trippy to the next level and feature Miguel in “Don’t Like U”, “The City” and “Poseur”…hmmm.
More seriously, I would love to see Grace tackle a big project like this, and since it would be “just an EP” it wouldn’t be a full-length movie as “K-12” is, but a short film about 20 to 30 minutes long representing the tumultuous and complex romantic relationship described by the songs on the EP, in other words the budget for such a project would not be astronomical.
It would make a terrific promotional vehicle for Grace, showing off her acting chops as a nearly 16-year-old, as opposed to “Baby Grace” who will debut in the upcoming “Stargirl”. It would also allow her far more control over any other film she could make under a studio umbrella such as Disney.
I think Grace and her long-time music video collaborator Blythe Thomas could really knock a project like this clear out of the park, as could Julia Hart with whom Grace has a strong creative relationship. It would allow Grace to cast who she wants in the various roles necessary to realize the narrative on film and also let her flex her creative muscles as a conceptualist and screenwriter. If Grace could fully conceptualize the story-heavy music video for “Moonlight” at only 13 I can only imagine that what I’m proposing at nearly 16 would not be an insurmountable challenge for her.
Will she do it? Probably not, because the world just isn’t that fair, but I really wish she would.