Without hearing so much as the hook, you can probably glean some meaning from St. Vincent‘s “Los Ageless” from its title alone. The track off her forthcoming album Masseduction, out October 13, for which the music video debuts today, isn’t just a scorched-earth stab at coping with a breakup—as the chorus “How can anybody have you and lose you and not lose their minds too?” would let on—it’s also an examination of a city where the relationship went wrong.
For songwriter Annie Clark, who records as St. Vincent, the city’s ugly side is the one that tries so hard to be beautiful. That’s part of the concept behind the music video, directed by Willo Perron and supported by Red Bull Music, which exposes how icky the vanity in L.A. can get. In the clip, St. Vincent sings mid-facelift and plays guitar from a plastic surgeon’s chair, bandage-wrapped nose and all, while surrounded by post-op mummified models—all with a perfectly vacant look. Of course, that’s just for show. On the set on a studio lot in Santa Monica, Clark was fully connected to her “treatments,” and fully in control. When her Dumbo-like prosthetic face was being tugged by two models, she took it upon herself to direct them. “Don’t pull that hard,” she’d say, or, “I know my sides.”
It’s not lost on Clark that there’s a certain irony in how much she went through just to show how much women feel the need to suffer in the name of beauty. From prosthetics to bandages, the singer endures all kinds of beauty treatments gone wrong in the video. “I love the idea of being the person who wants desperately to do the things that consumer culture insists upon but gets them just slightly wrong,” she explained to W. “Like: I missed the memo about butt implants and get my calves cartoonishly enlarged instead. Or I get a nose job that actually just adds a nose next to my original nose. This video was playing with the absurdity of the edicts of self-perfection culture. A slime pedicure. Yoga in gimp costumes. Expensive sushi that is actually an alien creature. Fun. Silly. Scary.”
The video does get scary with St. Vincent sitting in a dryer chair, feet dipped into a toxic-looking green foot bath, before her quest for beauty bites back and the slime begins to envelope her. “I’m a monster and you’re my sacred cow,” she sings. “But I can keep running.”
As for how the video ends though, no spoilers here.
Take a look at exclusive photos from behind the scenes of the “Los Ageless” video shoot, which are just as stunning as the visual itself, and, for those located in the beauty-obsessed city, catch the debut of St. Vincent’s new live show in support of her upcoming album on October 7 as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival at the Paramount Pictures Studios New York Street Backlot here.