First Watch: Ian Sweet, '#23'

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A still from Ian Sweet's "#23" video.
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Ian Sweet's new video for "#23" honors the sacred, as the band dreams of Michael Jordan, depressing karaoke nights and old VHS tapes. Directed by Eleanor Petry, the video takes place on Coney Island, as frontwoman Jilian Medford walks around, dressed all in white; we see her holding a basketball and passing children as they make sandcastles. While the video plays out, Medford sings about dancing in her favorite socks and trying to relate to the alienating world around her. In an email to NPR Music, Medford writes that the song comes from a place of finding comfort in things that aren't human, and the video reflects that: "I wanted to represent a sort of non-human figure (dressed in all white) interacting with something non-human as well (the basketball) in a very human setting (Coney Island and a public basketball court)."

More than a manifesto for Internet #sadgirls, "#23" is a song about survival and all the ways Medford copes. The song is perfectly executed DIY scuzz-rock, meant to be listened to all on your own, in your bedroom or in your car. It's a love letter to being alone and making it out alive, told through a gorgeously noisy wall of sound. In the video's last minute, Medford removes her white wig to reveal a shaved head. As she metaphorically sheds her insecurity, it's almost as if she's encouraging viewers to do the same.

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