Tales about cheating spouses have been done to death, but not many stumble down the path of dissolution as spectacularly (and gruesomely) as the troubled couple featured in indie rocker Mitski’s latest music video, “Happy”. Perhaps inspired by the retro sound of the single from the forthcoming album, Puberty 2, director Maegan Houang utilises its ’60s aesthetic to its benefit, while referencing prominent pop culture borrowed from that era.
The video is steeped in dim, shadowy lighting reminiscent of a Wong Kar-wai film, enveloping this mid-century love story in a melancholy mood. Here, a soldier returns home to his loving wife, only to turn out to be even more duplicitous and adulterous than Don Draper himself. Meanwhile, his wife grows suspicious when she finds locks of blonde hair tucked away in his clothes. By this time, the couple is anything but ‘in the mood for love’.
In a clear homage to Wong’s film, the video depicts the woman dressed in an elegant cheongsam, while smoking a cigarette and waiting for her husband to return home (Maggie Cheung, is that you?). Only half her face is lit, while shadows surround her ominously. When he returns, the matter is temporarily resolved when he pulls her into an embrace. He even leaves her a shiny new handbag the next day, but little does she know how he procured it.
Without spoiling the ending, let’s just say this is probably the goriest music video for an indie track since Broken Social Scene’s “The Sweetest Kill”. But if all grisly music videos are as beautifully executed as this one, who’s complaining?
Puberty 2 drops on June 17. Pre-order available now at mitski.com.