If you could open a door into a parallel world where you were famous enough to star on a talk show, would you turn that knob and step on through? Would you stride into the limelight without hesitation, or would you think hard about what you were leaving behind? How much are you willing to sacrifice to chase your dream? It’s a dilemma that confronts all artists at one time or another, and Belle Vex is no exception. The young electro-pop singer has been gaining notoriety at an impressive clip, and with each successive recording, he picks up more acclaim, more fans, and more devoted followers. Surely, he’s paused to consider the pleasures and perils of the celebrity he’s on the cusp of attaining – and the clip to “Cool,” his latest single, makes that manifest. With his charisma and good humor intact, Belle VEX walks into a fantasy. But he can’t quite shake the haunting memory of what he once had.
Fans of the New England artist won’t be surprised by the implications of this otherwise entertaining clip. They know that subtle depth is Belle VEX’s specialty. His music is pop of the most immediate – and playlist-ready – kind, but the songwriting architecture is always sturdy, and the lyrics are invariably thoughtful. Prior single “Something New” established Belle VEX as a budding pop star with something vital to say, and “Cool” expands on that success. It’s a slinky, shiny confection with an instantly memorable chorus, and the singer delivers it with complete and unshakable confidence. “Cool” is a summer party anthem waiting to be adopted – but it also stands up to close listening, too.
The singer has two co-stars in the “Cool” video: one is a beautiful woman, and the other is an aging and unctuous talk show host. Although they’re both given plenty of screen time, Belle VEX is only shown with the TV personality; the girl, alas, is somewhere out of reach. He’s followed his path – one that takes him through the crowded streets of Boston where he poses for pictures with autograph-hounds. As the main character of the video laughs it up on the TV set, the woman drifts farther and farther away. Belle VEX and director Boy Vano are students of modern pop, so you can be sure that all the allusions to the recent clips by The 1975 are deliberate. Just like Matt Healy, Belle VEX is a pop singer with a full and legitimate critique of the fame chase – one we all seem to be engaging in, no matter what our proximity to showbiz might happen to be.