Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Some pop performers harken back to the '40s and '50s and their voices are as soft as the acoustic guitar accompanying them, but Grace Mitchell embodies the exact opposite of that. Her music is loud. Loud in a way that will drive your parents crazy as you play the track over and over again. Loud in a way that will make you feel invincible. Her latest, “Cali God,” combats everything you’ve ever thought about Los Angeles pop music.
The music video forces you to pay attention. The colorful visuals are paired with yellow subtitles, which only peripherally have to do with what’s happening on screen or in the song. That being said, the video require multiple re-watches. One for the song, one for the subtitles, and one to soak in the chaos ensuing.
The video centers on five young people talking, smoking, and drinking. Purple and blue lights illuminate their faces and the shots are so close you can see the sweat on their foreheads. A phone rings and a fight breaks out. Everyone rushes to calm the two men down except one guy, who faintly watches before busting through a door and vomiting. It’s dirty and grungy, just like Mitchell likes it.
The others are shocked that the door is open. And when the camera pans over the room you find, zip ties, burnt metal, glass, and an open window. Everything that you see in the dark, black B-roll isn’t just for visuals; it was happening in the other room. The plot of the video itself warrants a fourth re-watch. The girl who was kept in the room is seen running in the middle of the street, headlights chasing her. Who knows if she makes it?
The song itself, “Cali God,” is speaking to a whole cultural shift. It, like all her music, “takes you by the hand and leads you on a trip through space and time.” Los Angelenos "would prefer to enjoy a cold pressed juice under umbrella shade on a lethargic brunch outing,” which doesn't sound half bad. But, to Mitchell, "Hollywood makes no promises and is full of consequences. Most times you have to hustle to get what you want, and a few get exactly what is coming to them..."
Mitchell’s debut album is more like a “modern playlist.” Every song is released separately, so fans can appreciate the unique nature of each. Once the entire playlist drops, you'll find it's an “utterly extraordinary and eclectic body of work.” In Grace Mitchell's words, it's “like everything at once, and nothing at all, but most crucially, it is loud.”
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