J. Smith-Cameron stars in the latest Sleater-Kinney video, and it is everything.
“Say It Like You Mean It” is the second single off Sleater-Kinney’s forthcoming album, Little Rope, due out early next year. The song along with “Hell,” the record’s opening track, have been given the music video treatment, feeding into the anticipation of the 2024 release.
Duo Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein describe the album as “really raw” and full of uncertainties in an interview with The Associated Press. These emotions are captured beautifully in the video directed by Brownstein and starring Succession‘s J. Smith-Cameron in a stunning performance.
Every single choice Brownstein and Smith-Cameron make are spot on. The black and white cinematography is not only cinematic but elegant and adds to the angsty mood. The choreography and the cuts help to tell the story of this woman and her soulful yearning.
Sleater-Kinney expressed their gratitude for Smith-Cameron’s involvement which “truly captured the desperation and ache in the song” in an Instagram reel releasing the track. “We’re grateful she trusted us to lead her outside her comfort zone and into the world of music videos!”
We should all be grateful for this because the collaboration between band and thespian has resulted in audio/visual magic.
Smith-Cameron does the most incredible lip-syncing to Tucker’s lead vocals. It matches flawlessly and the emotion behind both the lyrics and mimicry demands attention.
“The video tells the story of a woman who’s lost all sense of what’s appropriate,” Brownstein stated in a press release. “Sick with the alienation that stems from existing in a disparate emotional state from the person or people closest to her, she grapples with debilitating loss, desires to be seen, and dares you to leave.”
Brownstein is a talented filmmaker in addition to being a riot grrrl rock legend, and brings a lot to the table for “Say It Like You Mean It,” including her own personal grief.
In the fall of 2022, Brownstein’s mother and stepfather were killed in a car accident while on holiday in Italy. “All the songs, even the ones we’d written before the accident, were dragged into the hellscape of that emotion,” she recalls in the AP interview.
Emotion is pumping through every aspect of the song. Tucker took lead on vocals at Brownstein’s request and Smith-Cameron lip-syncs the lyrics while wrestling with her character’s inner turmoil. This exudes such vulnerability and it is felt strongly throughout the video due to Brownstein’s impeccable direction, Tucker’s stirring voice, and Smith-Cameron’s devastating performance.
“It’s already a classic,” Brownstein says of the song.
I wholeheartedly agree, and the video is worthy of that descriptor as well.
Watch the music video for Sleater-Kinney’s “Say It Like You Mean It” here:
Little Rope releases January 19th, 2024 via Loma Vista.