On May 9, Bec Plexus threw a 24-hour party, via livestream, to honor the release of her newest record, STICKLIP, in which she created 10 psychedelic music videos to accompany the songs on the record. The videos mimic the live performances they had prepared prior to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Road to Sound is premiering each of these videos over the next ten weeks. This is the third article in our series. You can catch up on the whole series here.
The third installation of Bec Plexus’ video release spree is David T. Little’s “Hold My Tongue.” Little, known for his acclaimed opera Dog Days and his unconventional style, writes peppy and clever music for Plexus. He implements complex wordplay and catchy, interlocking rhythms to illustrate the story of someone who’s sworn to secrecy forever. The result is a dramatic pop song with hints of ’80s aesthetics, taking crafty twists and turns with each phrase.
In Plexus’ words:
“‘Hold My Tongue’ was written by David T. Little, and that song was, I think, the most defined score when I got it. It was super extensive because in the whole transition period of the project there was this one week where I thought that the project would continue as me being backed by three drummers. I told David about that during that week, and then he made a big leap in writing his song and suddenly I got this gigantic percussion score. So I said to him, ‘sorry David, the three drummers are out, but I will find a way to deal with this.’ So, that’s why this song has a lot of rhythmical layers to it; it’s almost polyrhythmic in some way.
We once sat down for coffee to talk about what the song was about, and David said, ‘I really can’t tell you, because if I tell you, I might wreck someone else’s life. I’m sorry.’ And that’s also what the song’s actually more about — that feeling — especially with the lyrics like ‘hold my tongue / don’t let me speak / don’t let me share this story.’ The verses are also a creative play with words: it starts with a verse, and then with the second verse, he spins the words or the word order around to give it a different twist. So it starts with ‘generals die in bed / lucky spider withered web,’ and then switches to ‘general’s withered web / lucky spider dies in bed.’ And you’re just like, ‘I don’t know! Sure!’ [laughs] It just speaks to the imagination I think.
With the video’s opening monologue, we really tried to highlight the fact that this was a story that we couldn’t tell. So, the main character is saying, ‘Can we just please stop this monologue, can we stop this conversation, don’t push me, I have already decided way back I’m not gonna talk about this, I could wreck someone’s life, I’m gonna keep this to myself for the rest of my life.’ Visually, we got some really cool animations by a 3D graphic motion designer named Matthew Schoen. He gave us two elements to work with: one is a square water bed or wave field, and throughout the song the waves become more intense. And the other is images of golden cords with golden pieces of metal. You see the tension in the ropes changing, and because of that the metal moves around or drops on the floor. It’s super abstract, but somehow it resonates well.”
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