Before I talk about the video, let me start by saying that I’m an agnostic-atheist, exactly in that order. I’m completely ambivalent about the existence of “God” in the philosophical sense. As I understand it, to be agnostic is to understand and accept that the “first cause”, which is the most simple way of saying “god”, a “creator”, or a force, can never be proven or vice versa. But in terms of deities, sacred texts, dogma, and basically organized religion, I’m completely an atheist. I’m certain that Jesus Christ, Yaweh, or Allah are a figment of the imaginations of the founders of those religions. And I understand that religion is not just about believing in unnatural phenomena and that it’s about giving society a moral compass, but morality is not as simple as “good and evil” or “heaven and hell”.
What does all of this have to do with the video? Don’t know how intentionally the video was made to comment on religion, but it definitely strikes a chord with the issue. The video is for the song-single Det snurrar i min skalle by the Swedish Depeche-Mode-sounding band Familjen. It features stock footage of a fundamentalist church preacher, a creepy Charles Manson looking guy playing an accordion, a catatonic kid playing the drums, and a robust lady being cast out a demon. All of it flawlessly syncopated to the song, repeated until turning you into a trance like state, with black and white circle images “subliminally” encoded.
One thing that religion got right, (and atheist, agnostics, and believers tend to agree) is the natural human need for ritual and spirituality. I don’t care what people say, everyone worships something. Everyone has a ritual and has had a spiritual experience in life. It could be hobbies, careers, drugs, or art. Like many, I happen to worship music. It’s a kind of addiction to the feeling of “amazingness”. This video manages that and then some. It’s kind of meta if you think about it. A commentary inside a commentary. Fundamentalist church people always warn about the dangers of popular music, with their hidden Satanic messages and all that. This video spins that idea on them, and they’re the ones that end up looking scary and even “satanic”. But at the same time, that scary imagery syncopated so cleverly to the music is so compelling managing to transfer that feeling, at least to me, that there’s something out there that’s bigger than we are.