There are some songs that resonates in the pit of one’s soul that ceases to fade from our memories. “Grown Man Cry” from the 2012 album from Amanda Palmer, Theater Is Evil, is one of those songs. Now Palmer is back with a brand new video for the track and after 5 years, it has a whole new feel to it.
The brand new music video, according to Palmer, was created by a “collection of immensely talented Australian artists who I am only too happy to shine a light on. This is one of my favorite things about patreon: doing totally bizarre and impossibly beautiful collaborations that would make no sense in ye olde music industry…but that make total sense to me.”
The video for “Grown Man Cry” sees the theater come to life. According to the director, Steven Mitchell Wright, who asked the question, “what if the team that was working on Macbeth jammed together on using the show as stimulus to create something for ‘Grown Man Cry’ using the theatre, using the costumes and using the lighting?” That is exactly what they did. They worked with Brisbane-based Andy Green and they shot the video over two days within the theater picking up some footage from the show that including a live audience.
“It’s an interesting transfer – we played with what happened if things remain theatrical in size – how does it work when an actor is playing an emotion the size they need to in a big theatre when the camera is inches from their face? What happens when you take a scene from a theatre (where you control time through bodies in space and lighting) and add a camera into that mix – what happens to time and perspective when you completely control the eye of the audience with the camera?” Palmer says.
“The result is a music video that I think is really interesting in form – it doesn’t follow a strict narrative arc but it also doesn’t follow the very pretty but largely nonsensical party format that a lot of music videos do at the moment… I wanted to create a theatrical-video experience that worked with the song but allowed the song to comment on or argue with the video content.”
In the essay written by Palmer and Wright which was posted on her official website goes into detail on MTV and the music industry and the reasons behind her career. To read from Palmer, to gain insight from the singer herself on these details is why fans love her in the first place.
It is a beautiful statement on the reason why we have Amanda Palmer, the singer, songwriter and straight up musician icon and fans of hers can thank the wonderful invention that was MTV. “I sat for hours and hours, rotating bowls of cereal and ramen, staring up at the church of MTV and waiting to be invited into the screen, where I wanted to be.” Palmer went to a Yes concert (she straight up admits) back in 1992 for the reason to see the people behind the video “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” She became a musician right as MTV fell off the cliff and that was alright.
Her music career has seen Palmer as a lead singer, pianist, and songwriter of the duo The Dresden Dolls as well as performing solo and as one-half of the duo Evelyn Evelyn. Not to mention that she was the lead singer and songwriter of Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. She has collaborated with indie pop pianist Ben Folds (who help produced her most recent solo work, Who Killed Amanda Palmer) and has teamed up with acclaimed author Neil Gaiman for a storybook of photography that expands the ideas that were outlined in her ambitious solo album. Palmer created a 12-video DVD project to match each song on the record with help from filmmaker Michael Pop.
Amanda Palmer is her art. To see her come back with another narrative visual for a song is a delight, even if that song is one we have heard before. We will gladly hit play multiple times just to hear Palmer sing.
Music videos isn’t as important as it was back in the days of MTV when it was normal to sit in front of the television and watch the creative side of making music, to see the inventive ways to bring songs to life visually. And for Palmer, “I’d always dreamed of making a video for every song I wrote, mostly because coming up with a meaning-extending theatrical and visual backdrop for the songs always seemed like the most delicious part of being a musician.”
We hope to see more from Palmer even if it is to dive back into old music and making them new again with new extended visuals.
To watch the brand new music video for “Grown Man Cry,” check it out below.