On Modern Kin’s “Abandon”
By Jeff Kuhr
This video for the song “Abandon” by Modern Kin is an homage to a scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 Band of Outsiders (Bande á part). The movie is from Godard’s early period, a time when he sought to reinvent cinema by making it less fantastic and more personal, more real. Of course, his characters in these early films (Breathless, A Woman is A Woman) aren’t so much interested in living real life, but living reel life as depicted in classic Hollywood films, lives full of adventure and romance and where things make sense and something happens. But it’s that gap - the life we want to live versus the life we are living - that Modern Kin’s video also addresses. Because like the scene in the film, the video depicts a moment when the gap temporarily closes - when “our desperation isn’t beautiful, but here it is, so let’s say it is” - when three friends enjoying a moment together with no concern what others may think about their video is enough.
Do music videos matter anymore? If that’s a question you find yourself as you watch the video that’s a good thing. If you continue to watch because you’re waiting for something to happen, then that, too, is a good thing. But, spoiler alert, nothing does. For four minutes and 8 seconds, it’s just the band (Drew Grow, Kris Doty and Jeremiah Hayden) doing the Madison dance in a café. But that’s on screen. And the subversive beauty of the video is that it’s not about what you see, but what you hear - and that’s the awesomeness of the song. You let the video play because you want to hear the song. A music video that emphasizes the music? It’s about time.
Fare thee well, Modern Kin.