Video Review – Caitlin Rose “Piledriver Waltz”

I know I’m late to the party here, but dammit, this video is just so damn good I must expound on it. There’s so much genius in it in fact, I can’t help but think some of it is completely accidental. And the way it plays to both Caitlin Rose’s strengths and weaknesses is wickedly smart.

Caitlin Rose is an extraordinary little riddle you are in no rush to solve. She is a brilliant songwriter with a sublime voice (when she wants to show it off), yet she can tend to come across as aloof, almost bored at times. Instead of shying away from this attribute, another excellent Caitlin Rose video for her song “Own Side Now” exploited that part of her personality by inserting her in these languid moments, laying her head down on tables and such. The “Piledriver Waltz” video takes a completely different approach, donning Caitlin in clown makeup that affects an awakening of the other side of Caitlin Rose that you always have a sense is there, though she rarely displays any symptoms of.

The setting of a vacant rodeo barn is the perfect context for a song about an impending breakup. Standing in the vastness of an empty, quiet venue, with its stark white walls and bright lights, a place usually inhabited by many people and much movement, speaks to the queer head space and loneliness a breakup conjures.

Then to take the time to develop a back story for clown #2 coming from an Elvis wedding in his little white truck screaming around the corner, and the way Caitlin’s emotional conveyance is so overt in the context of the clown getup, but then countered with the shots of her in the stands that revert to the more aloof and ambivalent Caitlin riddled with self-doubt (pursed lips, biting nails), the video takes strides in creating an addicting Caitlin Rose mythos.

Caitlin is positively adorable in the video, though at the same time refreshingly plaintive. She has this eternal sympathetic magnetism about her that preys on your empathy, and she uses this quality in heavy doses in her music, including this “Piledriver Waltz” composition which is a cover of a tune from The Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. It was released as a single as part of Record Store Day.

The tune itself is good, with Caitlin putting her signature stamp on it by means of some fuzzy guitar and elongating the verse timing, but the video is what allows “Piledriver Waltz” to take the prize.

Such depth and attention in music videos these days is too rare.

Two guns up!