“I’m not averse to gettin’ salt in my face/ let me marinate a week and reevaluate,” goes “Swell Content,” this euphoric-sounding jam from Speedy Ortiz, a line that seems to advocate giving yourself permission to fuck up now and again, something a lot of us need as a reminder.
It’s debatable whether or not the whole track is about that—leader Sadie Dupuis also sings the over-it line “Is it gettin’ old, sealing all your kisses with poison?” with a bubblegum smack of vitriol. But the “Swell Content” video, debuting here, is about turning your frustrations and mistakes into triumphs, specifically in art class at summer camp. Almost everyone’s had that mean-ass teacher who turned out to be the most encouraging, no? Perfection is an unimaginative aspiration and usually capitulates to someone else’s definition of it, so why not revel in your individualism, especially as a kid, even more especially in summer, this video seems to say. The song, full of the raucous imprecision that makes Speedy Ortiz sound so enthusiastic, underscores that idea with the slack way the guitars play off each other, the way no element matches up perfectly but doesn’t want to, in warring sync like a really good argyle sock. (Sorry, it’s fashion week.)
Everybody in the video wins, of course—never wrong a teenager wielding hot glass and a blow torch, as a general rule—and by the end you might wanna whip out some posterboard and a crayon and see what fun, self-satisfying mess you can inflict.
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