Wolf Alice released a music video for their new song, “Beautifully Unconventional,” yesterday. The song will appear on the band’s upcoming album, Visions Of A Life, that is set for release on September 29th. Wolf Alice is a North London based alternative rock group that formed in 2010 as a two piece act. Two years later, in 2012, the band added two members on top of Ellie Rowsell and Joff Oddie: Theo Ellis and Joel Amey, who play bass and drums respectively. Their single, “Moaning Lisa Smile” reached number eleven on Billboard in 2015, and was granted the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance for the 2016 Grammys.
Wolf Alice chooses in their new video to sing about unconventionality from a culturally conventional viewpoint. Dressed as Marilyn Monroe, Ellie Rowsell, describes a girl that “stick[s] out sorely.” Her name is Heather, and she’s “beautifully unconventional.” The rest of the band looks as if it could be performing on the Ed Sullivan Show in the sixties. Donned in suits, they strum their instruments and bang on their drums in place, only allowing so much as a light sway in their movement. The vintage quality of Rowsell’s voice is corroborated by what looks like a Shure Brothers microphone from 1951, ovular and grooved. The rest of the video is relatively simple. Red lights take over as Rowsell sings the chorus, which brings the melodic verse to a boil. The opening sequence evokes a the introduction to a Hitchcock movie; the title screen reads “Wolf Alice Presents ‘Beautifully Unconventional.” The video ends with a simple, cursive, “The End.” Perhaps the idea of the video gets at how a culturally ultra-conventional icon like Marilyn Monroe is actually an unconventional individual. To be conventional would one would have to be anything other than an American icon. To be conventional is to be part of the cultural masses—going to work, raising a family, having normal things to talk about. Monroe’s life was hardly normal, and she would stick out “sorely” in a regular, everyday context. Convention is normal, beautiful unconventionality is someone who sticks out not like a sore thumb, but like Marilyn Monroe.
Ellie Roswell describes the video as follows:
“This song is a celebration of all your non-conforming friends. A celebration of individuality and the adventures that come with embracing that. For me personally I imagined me and my mate Hannah as Christian Slater and Winona Rider in Heathers albeit looking nothing like them. The video has nothing to do with the song – I just didn’t want to have a mullet anymore, seeing as lots of people tore me to pieces in our last video, so it was an excuse to wear a wig!”
So, Rowsell posits that the video and song, though intertwined, are unrelated. However, any creative output by a famous artist is bound to be scrutinized by the press.