I have sung Kelela’s praises before, reviewing Blue Light from her impeccable album Take Me Apart. Time to shine the light on the inventive songstress once again. If you spent your tween years growing up in the early 2000s you will feel the pang of nostalgia as you watch Kelela’s video for Frontline. The track is a break-up song, chronicling a resolute decision with a gutsy refusal to go back, or engage with the ex’s pleading. Like the video, the lyrics indicate a clean break, the relief of jumping on a plane, or in a car, and letting go.
The concept for the video is a collaboration between Kelela and her creative director, Micha Notcutt and the animation was done by prolific new media artist Claudia Maté (her website design is great too, definitely check out her work).
The video is aesthetically heavily inspired by The Sims, the game that pulled thousands of kids away from their friend gangs and threw them into a 3D world, clocking up hours of house decorating, tending to the Sims’ incessant bodily needs, and complex relationship management in long evenings after-school. From memory, making two Sims “woohoo” was the epitome of the game at the time. Well, things do not always go so well after such climax, as Kelela will confirm. Frontline’s video begins with a driving scene, a repeated trope exhibited from various angles throughout the video. If you were a fan of not only The Sims, but racing simulator games (Formula One anyone?) then you are in for a treat. She pulls up in front of a house, knocks on the door, and we are invited into an art-studded bedroom to witness a break-up scene. The singer drives off and blows off steam with her girlfriends (yes, there is a coordinated dance scene, thank you), and continues the journey through a peculiar portal, and into a a glimpse of the cause of the break-up — or perhaps its aftermath.