Let’s play a little free-association game. The word: Miami. Go!
South Beach. Sound Machine. Bass. The Estefans. Pitbull. Paulina Rubio. Marco Rubio. Thongs. The Thong Song. Will Smith on a speedboat. Clubbing. Calle Ocho.
Feel free to keep going, then watch the above video for CF beautiful person/Miami-bred Helado Negro aka Roberto Carlos Lange’s “Dance Ghost” (off his upcoming release Invisible Life). Spoiler alert/friendly reassurance: it features none of the above.
Director David W. Merten's video is straight up Miami, but a very different Miami—a Miami sans media(tion), bling, celebrity. Fewer boob jobs, more jai alai. Gorgeously shot in muted colors on an overcast day, we follow a man to work at a Downtown Miami nightclub where he preps everything for a night of partying. Our anti-hero is clearly an outsider; he moves among the crowds, yet interacts with no one, observant but ignored, the ghost of the song’s title.
Lange has positioned the video as a tribute to the invisible existence and thankless jobs of the immigrant workers that make up so much of Miami’s population. But this isn't a PSA or political statement, and the takeaway is a tad more nuanced. Like so much of Helado Negro's understated tropical synth, it walks a fine line between heartbreak and hope. There is alone-ness but not necessarily loneliness. And the last scene of our protagonist dancing by himself in an empty house is a thing of beauty and subdued happiness.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013