Well, my song of the summer is sorted thanks to Yung Lean (Jonatan Leandoer Håstad) who released his latest mixtape, Stardust, and a video for one of the singles, “Bliss,” featuring FKA twigs. (Other new collaborators on the project are Skrillex and Jack Donaghue of Salem, who appear alongside names already familiar to fans, like Whitearmor, Bladee, Ecco2K are back.)
It’s only April, but this Swede’s already had a busy year. TikTok resurfaced his first hit, “Ginseng Strip,” which went viral. And now Stardust drops, containing this pearl with FKA twigs, a collaboration which might be unexpected after Lean posted a photograph with Ye, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, and Drake in Los Angeles in February at captioned it “New Beatles.” Lean and FKA twigs is a fashionable partnership. She is a style icon; he’s been featured in campaigns for Calvin Klein and, more recently, Heaven by Marc Jacobs.
In the video, twigs dons a Vivienne Westwood wedding dress. It’s accessorized with layered gold chains, door knocker earrings, white socks, and green platform sandals. Lean sports a satin suit from Martine Rose with a green shirt. “We looked at this as a warped view on British weddings,” explained stylist Matthew Josephs in a statement. “It’s a total fantasy based in a very real setting.” “I wanted to pay homage to the mundane magic of British suburbs,” adds Scottish director Aidan Zamiri.
The white horse and classic car tricked out with chandeliers are obviously fantastic; more coded are the homages to the 2000s, which the twenty-somethings involved seem to have anamnesis for. Zamiri fills us in on some of the team’s references.
“One of Lean’s lyrics in the track,” explains the director, “is ‘Stockholm calling, everything hostile. Pauly D., the way I live my lifestyle.’ Naturally, Jersey Shore became one of the main references for the video from the start. We wanted to do something that felt as excessive and rowdy as early 2000s reality TV, so rather than trying to edit down and simplify (as is normally the best rule to follow when making a music video) we just kept adding: Horses, BMXs, chandeliers on the hood of a car, twigs’s wedding dress being so big that it stuck out the car door …. We let it get completely carried away with itself.”
“Matthew is always able to really elevate any idea, no matter how bizarre the project is. As I mentioned, the early ’00s Jersey Shore / Ashton Kutcher look was big for this one—you see a bit of that when they’re performing in the backyard. We also knew that we wanted twigs to wear something larger than life. I loved how her dress looked when it was all stuffed into the car as though it’s her wedding day. Lean has a really clear vision and it worked out perfectly with Matthew as they seemed to totally align on everything.”
“The car is basically the other featured artist on the track, it became such a big character in the video. Our production designer Louis Simonon and his team killed it. The whole car had wires running through it to a battery back in the trunk so that we could get chandeliers swinging on the hood. I won’t give away all of Louis’s secrets but he also had to get the chandeliers to stay on without bolting them into the car and I think they ended up using really strong suction cups. From the start, Lean was really into the idea of having the car central to the video so we really wanted it to be the most absurd and over-the-top version it could be.
The Hidden Message
Our DOP Jake Hunter managed to hit the perfect balance between a home video, an MTV reality show, and an ’80s crime movie. Of course, I’m really happy we were able to slide in a reference to one of my favorite music video moments of all time: It’s our loving homage to Nelly and Kelly. [The text at the opening of “Bliss” video echoes that in the “Dilemma” video of 2002].