Words cannot express how truly excited I was this afternoon when I got the email alert that informed me that iamamiwhoami had released her latest music video. I was even more excited when I realized that “fountain” was a continuation of the themes from kin (aka the mop monster saga), a series of 9 songs/videos that I wrote about extensively in 2012 and collectively named my Top Music Video of 2012. And that excitement was effectively tripled when I saw/heard how amazing this new video was. Thus far I haven’t posted that much in 2014, mainly because I couldn’t find all that much that really got my creative juices flowing. Well, thank god for iamamiwhoami, because I’m now ready to jump right in.
The first thing that stuck out to me about “fountain” is just how darn happy the song is. Its melody veers awfully close to Balearic dream pop territory, filled with a bright, cheerful sound that would seem out of place in the grim, angst-filled kin. There’s shots of majestic waterfalls and explosive geysers and even dolphins at one point. As you watch the video it becomes obvious that “fountain” is a joyful celebration taking iamamiwhoami’s sound in a whole brand new direction. And that’s definitely not a bad thing.
“fountain” is a song about rebirth. Like all of her videos, there’s a lot of symbolism in the video (water obviously plays a huge part) and there are two main images repeated from kin that I’d like to touch upon. This first is of the box. You see it recur three times in the “fountain” video. In kin the box was of course a metaphor for the female protagonist feeling trapped in her life of domestic servitude. Each song in the cycle seemed to pile on the idea that things were closing in on her until we got to that final image from “goods” of the black box that has entombed her. She’s literally boxed in. One of the very first things we see in “fountain” is a shot of a similarly shaped clear box acting as a fish tank (it appears right before the music starts, and I doubt that it was a coincidence). The fish is trapped in this small box in clear view of the big wide ocean right there in the shot behind it. Almost exactly midway through the video we very briefly see burning in the fire another similar box, this time one that looks exactly like the one from the “goods” video. Finally, the last image of the video is of the same fish tank from the beginning, except this time the fish is gone.
We’re left to assume that the box is burnt into the ash that she scatters from the boat shortly after that shot of the fire midway through the video, which leads us to our second repeated image from kin, dust. The mop monsters were a huge recurring image in kin and dust and dirt went hand in hand with them. Jonna was frequently covered in the dust, spoiling the white clothing she started out in (notice how the white outfits are also back?) Back in 2012 when I was watching and writing about these videos it wasn’t until I figured out what the mop monsters represented that I realized that this was what it was keeping her prisoner. But in this video the dust takes on a new, different meaning. Here she takes jar of dust/ash out into the ocean and scatters them like ashes at a funeral. That image I grabbed above of her lying in the boat reminds me also of Viking funerals, a ritual where the dead are placed into a boat, pushed out to sea and burned to ash. To me the obvious metaphor being expressed in “fountain” is that of the phoenix rising from the ashes. She’s taken the box that confined her all through kin, destroyed it, and is now reborn into a new version of herself. Like the fish that’s escaped its cage she’s finally free of her box. And now that she’s free I’m really excited to see what new directions this inspires her to take music in the future. Let’s hope there’s another 8+ videos waiting for us in 2014.