A mere 10 days after the premiere of “Jo,” Goldfrapp has unveiled the fifth music video from their latest album, Tales of Us. The final chapter of a 30-minute film directed by Lisa Gunning that weaves disparate tales of love, loss, madness, and identity, “Stranger” is shot in the same gauzy, low-contrast black and white as “Drew” and “Annabel,” the dreamy, nostalgic tone initially edging perilously close to that of a Calvin Klein fragrance commercial. Like the stunning “Annabel,” which also cleverly features singer Alison Goldfrapp in a minimal role, the video focuses on a queer character (played by Irish actress Laura Donnelly) who revisits the seaside location of a Sapphic tryst with a married stranger. While the earlier clip told the tale of a young child coming to terms with her gender, “Stranger” seems to perpetuate a much thornier concept: that of the homosexual as a lethal predator. It’s one that’s been explored to varying degrees of success, from the divisive 1980 film Cruising to last year’s acclaimed Stranger by the Lake. Here, what at first seems like a symbol of remorse, her dead lover’s wedding band still hanging from her neck years later, turns out to be not a memento for what could have been, but one of many that will never be.
Annabel (#1–10 of 2)
“Annabel,” the second music video from Goldfrapp’s new album, Tales of Us, is another dreamy folk tale directed by Lisa Gunning. The song was reportedly inspired by Kathleen Winter’s novel of the same name about a young hermaphrodite forced to take on the identity of a boy in the 1960s, and the Tomboy-esque clip gorgeously captures the isolation and fantasies of an androgynous boy playing in the woods. Part of a larger film designed to accompany the album, “Annabel” is shot in the same hazy, desaturated, and slow-motion manner as “Drew,” but features singer Alison Goldfrapp in a decidedly smaller, supporting role. Tales of Us, described by the band as a series of character sketches, takes a step away from the electronic sound of their most popular releases, instead centering around acoustic guitars and live strings.