This article originally appeared on Portable April 5, 2012.
Jack White’s new album Blunderbuss is, surprisingly, his first album as a solo artist. White calls the album his most personal music yet, and in support of the work he’s released, here is the first music video for the single “Sixteen Saltines” with director AG Rojas.
Jack White, whose iconic videos have been directed by music video legends such as Michel Gondry and Jonathan Glazer, went a different route, and chose an emerging filmmaker to build the visuals around the music he calls, “my own colors on my own canvas.”
For White, Blunderbuss is, “an album I couldn’t have released until now. I’ve put off making records under my own name for a long time… These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression.” Enter AG Rojas. The video for “Sixteen Saltines” equally brings a style that is distinctly AG: narratives built within cacophonous and disjointed series of dystopian plots. “Sixteen Saltines” is just that, with a common thread of corrupted youthful deviance set against the chaos of guitar riffs and White’s own muted hostage interlocution (Exhibit A: screaming face tattoos; Exhibit B: crunking levitation; Exhibit C: recovered limbs).
Basically, the video looks how a bad dream feels.
“I wanted the video for “Sixteen Saltines” to be a visual assault set in Tennessee and made up of several unrelated, surreal vignettes,” said Rojas about the concept. “It’s an exploration of awkward, magical youth. Jack is the only adult in this world, so he immediately becomes the target of a crew of wild kids.”
It’s definitely worth taking a look at Rojas’ other work; his most recent video for Spiritualized follows a transvestite prostitute in the perils of raising a child while turning tricks. While his other videos are just as well-thought-out and memorable; a docu-style piece for Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx about real-life competitive female boxer and the eponymous video for Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt. Rojas’ short film CROWN, an official selection at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, is replete with that trademark visual style: trace tracking shots and perspective distorting character close-ups.