Sturgill Simpson is a Grammy Award-winning music artist best known for his rock n’ roll influenced country music. With three albums under his belt, Simpson has made a significant impact on the American music scene. Guitar heavy and classic rock inspired music has helped him to establish quite the following and career. Besides a flourishing music career, the artist is also known for making appearances in film and TV. Yet still, no one could have expected the action-packed, Japanese anime-style companion video that Simpson has released alongside his latest album, Sound and Fury.
Sound and Fury, the video that shares the name with the latest album was released on Netflix on September 29th. Announced earlier this year, it was anyone’s guess on how the 45-minute video would play out. Country music and anime are not two worlds that typically collide. Yet, Simpson himself provided the plot of the animation, which is heavily inspired by his heavier new album.
From the first shots, it is clear that Sound and Fury is going to be unique. Images of a decked out muscle car are intermingled with the landscape being demolished by starship bombers. There are also parts of the full video that go off the rails from the overall story. At one point a young skateboarder in a hazmat suit is collecting trinkets from an abandoned city. And, toward the end, a man is slowly transformed into a bird using some highly unique graphics.
The remainder of the video follows a specific plot, which is where the anime influence and style come to play a part. It begins with a Japanese village being decimated by two competent villains. The powerful samurai that call this village home is even no match for the treacherous characters. The aftermath involves a father returning to the dead village to find his daughter missing. Eventually facing the perpetrators, the man barely escapes with his life. It takes many years before his daughter rises up to the now tyrants and finds victory for her lost village.
The animation itself is done with intricate detail and attention to inspiring music. Though many of the episodes are created by different animation companies, there is the underline theme driven by Simpson’s album. Aside from the sideways parts that seemingly come out of nowhere, that is. At one point, during where the climax would be expected, the whole scene turns into a dance video. It is a collection of samurai’s, half-naked men and women, and severed heads bopping around. There is not a lot of structure to the overall video, but there is a compelling story hidden without. Also, the best battle scene of them all happens to come after the credits have rolled, so be sure to stick around.
It’s honestly great to see so much effort put into this companion video, and for Netflix to provide a platform makes it extra exciting. Who wouldn’t love to see more of this? With the MTV age behind us, short music videos can be done away with, and we could do with more album companions such as this one. Could you imagine if the recent Tool album came with a video on Netflix inspired by Alex Grey’s paintings? I promise you it would be brilliant. So, despite some confusion at parts, and not having the luxury of getting to know the music before the video, I would call Sound and Fury an overall success.