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One Video: Polymorphing by Chairlift

One Video: Polymorphing by Chairlift


It’s Chairlift’s last music video ever

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Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.

Welcome to One Video. You’ll notice that it’s just me (Kaitlyn) this week, as Lizzie is out of office for a dental procedure I won’t detail due to it not being any of your business. All you really need to know is that she didn’t choose not to be here, and if she had her druthers she would be sitting next to me right now. Regardless, as all grown-ups should readily admit, it doesn’t matter what you intend — all that matters is the result of your actions. The result of Lizzie’s actions is that I am alone.

This week’s video: “Polymorphing” by Chairlift

As I just outlined, the theme of this week’s One Video is “one girl by herself.”

Therefore the video I chose is “Polymorphing” by Chairlift, a video about snuggling bread and breaking up. This is the last music video the synthpop duo Chairlift will ever release together, as they are splitting apart following a farewell tour at the end of this month. The video was directed and edited by vocalist and front woman Caroline Polachek, who said in a statement to Pitchfork, “It’s the least conceptual video we’ve ever made; there’s no datamoshing or dance moves or foreign language translation — just a toast to our fans, to our friends, to the city, and to constant change! And yes, there is actually toast in the video.” 

It’s true.


Who is Chairlift?

You may know Chairlift from the period of “summer 2015 through March 2016.” They were pretty popular at that time, mostly thanks to the one-two punch of “Ch-Ching,” a fun and menacing song about whisper-brags and red eye makeup, followed by “Crying in Public,” a dreamy, romantic song about making a scene on the subway and calling yourself a monster. Both Polacheck and Aaron Pfenning (the other half of Chairlift) are also fairly well-known for writing Beyoncé’s 2014 song “No Angel,” though it seems like Polacheck wrote it and Pfenning just happened to be the person who already sort of knew Beyoncé.

Something I really like about Chairlift is that they originally planned to make background music for haunted houses and that’s it. This bit of trivia makes sense because the vibe of their music is “what ghosts sound like, probably,” and the theme of it is often “being scared.”

what ghosts sound like, probably

Anyway, that’s who they are, though soon they aren’t going to be anything so I don’t know if this was worth your time. Their 2016 album Moth is pretty chill, and I recommend it for the type of Sunday where you’re sitting near a body of water thinking about how over-stimulating it is to be around another human being. Also for any event where you’re hanging out with a ghost.

What’s special about “Polymorphing” by Chairlift:

Lots of things: a cat, a sparkly leotard, a man cooking an Eggo waffle with an iron. The eyeliner at play is interesting, and I envy anyone who can pull it off like it’s being pulled off here:

Similar to the previous One Video entry “Green Light” by Lorde, this is a breakup song about the part of the breakup where you decide that whatever happens next is going to be really, really good. The general aesthetic of the video is a little bleak, but the individual events in the song — “there’s something better than what you’re asking for, kid” or a woman putting on sunglasses that have beaded tassels hanging off the bottom — are happy. Variety is reportedly the spice of life, and in my opinion, it’s also the spice of music videos.

As I said, this is the last one of these for Chairlift. That fact in itself makes “Polymorphing” special, if you care about Chairlift or even if you just like experiencing empathy for strangers.

How long everyone should watch “Polymorphing” by Chairlift:

Until the ghosts tell you that you can stop. Or until Lizzie comes back. Whichever comes last.