If any artist is modern proof of finding success as the underdog, it is Kerli. Of course that success is due to her talent and commitment to it — which has led her to doing things the long and hard way, rather than taking shortcuts. With such a uniquely identifiable voice and aesthetic — one worthy of its own genre of ‘bubblegoth’ — Kerli has steadily built up an ‘army of love’ full of fans called Moonchildren.
What’s stopped her from breaking through the mainstream? Likely two factors: an aversion to Hollywood and its toxic, controlling and parasitic nature between artist and label, as well as not really caring about what’s mainstream anyway. One doesn’t have to look long or hard through Kerli’s music videos to see that she’s more focused on creating true art that pairs her vision and her to take her fans on a journey than worrying about chart positions.
The music video for ’21st Century Kids’ is no exception, and continues to be proof that when an artist is full of ambition, drive and can see that vision with perfect clarity, they will be unstoppable, even without a major record label throwing money at them to help them accomplish things.
The video for ’21st Century Kids’ sees Kerli in full pink regalia and in character JOY the Robot leading a group of fellow pink-plumed youth and celebrating the message of the song (while also incorporating fan-submitted selfies of her Moonchildren themselves!)
When looking back at Kerli’s past music, her journey continues to be one that is on a constant upward trajectory. The music video for ’21st Century Kids’ feels like ‘Zero Gravity‘ for 2023; it’s undeniably joyful and innovative like ‘Zero Gravity’, but with 10 years more polish and craft-honing. And as someone who remembers how insane ‘Zero Gravity’ felt back in 2012, that’s saying something!
Technically, ’21st Century Kids’ rivals mainstream music videos with its cinematography and editing. There’s clear artistic intent in every shot, whether it’s a close up of Kerli showcasing her intricately sculpted outfit or wide angle, fish-eye lens scenes that distort reality and give a glimpse into Kerli’s unique vision of the world. Styling in the video is, as one would expect, daring and eye-catching, with Kerli’s outfit naturally being the most grand, but without ever leaving her young co-stars looking under-dressed. Each child has their own shade of pink, complete with flair that gives the outfits personality.
Kerli and her band of 21st Century Kids offer a triumphant work of art in the song’s music video, showcasing her success no matter what life throws at her. Kerli may not have a big label behind her promoting her music and guaranteeing her mainstream success — but in all honesty, it’s probably better that way. ’21st Century Kids’ and its music video are proof that an artist with a vision can push the boundaries of pop music on pure talent alone.
Watch ’21st Century Kids’ above and stream/download it on all music platforms.
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