Through the story of a woman, Buffalo, NY lyricist Chuckie Campbell opens several spiritual canals for those struggling to heal from a traumatic experience in the video for his recently released single, “Pretty Girls.”
The song, debuted off his second album, Taking Back Tomorrow, delves into the social, somatic, and psychological effects of rape and incest on the life of a young biracial woman, who ultimately cleanses herself of the anathema that coats her life, her rapist stepfather. The video, directed by Denny Kremblas, opens the scene with the young woman walking over water, where viewers feel some sort of spiritual awakening, or relief, from a harsh past. From this opening scene the timeline of precipitating events is flipped, and viewers are forced to walk backwards into her story.
Intimate close-up shots and chiaroscuro-like lighting catch details that may or may not have been planted covertly, such as the sign that reads, “Do More of What Makes You Happy” hanging opposite of the kitchen fridge, and the “LOVE” sign pictured in the full-length mirror which she pauses in front of to examine herself (an act of body dissociation or an attempt at finding self-love). Others were much more conspicuous, like the symbolism of walking on water, the white gown the actress wears (signifying spiritual, supernatural, and biblical importance), and the pouring of wine (also biblical). There are several shots of water–the boat dock, the bathtub, the faucet–which may also signify a baptism or rebirth of some kind.
There are many things done right in this video, even if they seem”by the book” in reference to suspenseful drama. On this woman’s road toward self-salvation, and maybe even atonement, viewers will find relief. And just like the rest of Taking Back Tomorrow, “Pretty Girls” is music for the seven chakras; many of Chuckie Campbell’s songs have messages that surrender us to our own energies; only through ourselves can we learn how to treat others, take control of our lives, and change circumstance. There was probably nobody more fitting to help deliver these messages than Heidi Feek, whose June Carter Cash-like, post-modern jukeboxy vocals call forth images of a lonely and deserted Wild West, where a sharpshooting Annie Oakley supports a women’s prerogative to protect herself. That is perhaps the most powerful takeaway.
Watch the video for “Pretty Girls” below, then check out the rest of the album here.