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“Video Reviews: Julia Holter – ‘Goddess Eyes II’ and ‘Our Sorrows'”

If I were to sum these two videos up, in introduction, I’d say they each match their subject matter — “Our Sorrows” is somber and empathetic, and “Goddess Eyes II” is humorous. Each video features the musical artist’s face en masse, so inevitably this itself becomes part of the video’s interplay.
“Our Sorrows” opens with a scene the reminds me of a humanitarian crisis — Holter’s face looking burdened and consumed by something, and a bunch of people “banding” together on the street, literally, passing along a kite reel, each taking part of the rope. They’re filed along buildings in what looks like a line to get into a soup kitchen. Inside Holter’s home is something that looks like a mortar and pestle, which made me think of crack since I’d just seen that crazy Father John Misty video.
Not to worry, though, Holter’s videos are better, as is her music. A scene in the middle finds her in a train station, and at her most beautiful, possibly because this station offers the best place from which she may “follow” someone who is far away. Back on the streets, while she’s riding a bus, it takes an intricately woven web using the kite reel and various metal beams to get her edified, and when this is done her face takes on an immense, almost male look of satisfaction that is really priceless cinema.
The whole thing makes you wonder what Holter is imagining in her mind, but then you remember that she’s a musician, not a visionary in the physical realm. In this way the video is effective — Holter’s diamond-sharp music is blended with her beauty in a way that comments on the music itself. Since the lyrics are vague, their effect is simply stimulation aided by the screenplay, a combination that in effect necessitates the music, being that it is the main draw, and the fruits of her labor.
Holter really looks different with her hair short, like another person entirely. Her “eyes,” though, in “Goddess Eyes II,” are all the titular authenticity you could ever need. They sexily shrink into themselves in a gravitational vortex, accentuating the whites, as she looks off into the distance, away from the camera. This is the primary statement of the video — Holter’s choice to look off to the side, and so draw our attention, us who see her beautiful irises still clearly.
Since the song is essentially humorous in itself, it’s fine that when Holter looks at the camera, she has a mocking expression worn optically, whereas in “Our Sorrows,” also fittingly, she has the look of the ubiquitous and sensitive L.A. person, if not the seedy “L.A. Woman” whom Jim Morrison thought up. Light, comedic tinges of “Goddess Eyes II” are cemented by the fatuous acting of another player — a woman getting strangled by a disembodied arm coming out of a wall behind her.

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