Let’s start with a fun fact.
Saint Valentine is often associated with the concept of “courtly love”, in which chivalry and nobility play a huge role. That’s why the holiday bears his name. But I feel like February 14th is not the right date for it. That’s when he was martyred and buried, not for romantic reasons. So it’s not an overly pretty occasion to celebrate love, I’d say.
But what IS a totally Valentine’s Day celebration is Jen Cloher’s latest music release, “My Witch”. And you just have to see its accompanying music clip.
Honestly, I’m not that into the “hearts and butterflies” concept Valentine’s Day stands for. I’m not a big fan of the exaggerated commercial side of the American holiday, either.
But I’m all for love and romance, in all its shapes and forms. And I recognise a banger when I hear one. Especially when the video is as good as the song itself.
So when Jen Cloher dropped “My Witch” at the beginning of February, not only could I not stop listening to the tune, but I kept hitting “play again” on YouTube as well.
Jen Cloher resurfaces on my radar from time to time, for different reasons.
Firstly because she is a Naarm/Melbourne-based singer, songwriter, record producer (linked to Milk! Records) and performer. And I follow that scene pretty closely for nostalgic, “used to live there” reasons.
Secondly because of the Hit Different podcast. In September 2021, Cloher shared in one of the episodes that she was going to move to New Zealand and explore her Ngāpuhi & Ngāti Kahu roots.
And that leads me to the last point.
In November 2022, the artist released the first single from her upcoming album, I Am The River, The River Is Me.
Its title, “Mana Takatāpui”, refers to Cloher’s identification with the queer community. In Māori, ‘takatāpui’ means “devoted partner of the same sex”. And the video features a few New Zealanders who also represent the queer Māori culture.
After that, the singer dropped another song about reclaiming one’s own but nearly forgotten culture, called “Being Human”. The video features indigenous Māori performers, too.
Overall, it looks like Cloher’s plan to rediscover her heritage did bring some awesome creative results after all.
“My Witch” is slightly different from those two previous releases, though. It focuses on another aspect of self-discovery and self-affirmation, venturing into the seductive realm of “witchcraft”. And it’s probably not exactly the “love story” you’re after for Valentine’s Day. But hear me out.
Cloher’s usual terse brand of rock has gained a completely different dimension here.
“My Witch” is based on a simple, repetitive beat, amplified by more instruments as the track progresses. About one-third into the song, an electric guitar turns up the heat.
The vocals, gentle and warm at the beginning, gradually grow more confident and decisive as well. And the backing vocals certainly help create that spellbinding atmosphere.
But let’s finally talk about the scorching hot video. Cloher herself admitted on Instagram that she “had fun cooking this one up!”. No wonder.
There are SO MANY CAMEOS in it. Spoiler alert: You’ll probably want to be in that hot tub with all those amazing “witches”!
Georgia Maq (from Camp Cope) is the main seductress. But if you know anything about the Melbourne music scene, you’ll recognise the other faces. Kira Puru, Mo’Ju, Alice Skye and Lay The Mystic are enjoying themselves in the “spa cauldron” (as Cloher dubbed it), too.
This is one of those occasions when my professional journalistic objectivity goes to waste. I just can’t. Because the entire clip is just heaps good. It’ll make you sweat from the beginning till the end.
The hot tub scenario is particularly well executed. The face close-ups showing the beautiful, detailed make-up and shots of the elaborate bathing suits in the fluorescent light are just pure art.
In other cases, drinking champagne, devouring fruit and smoking cigars might be perceived as a cliché. But not in this clip. It all just makes perfect sense together: the lyrics, the melody and the visuals.
The playful tone of the lyrics is another strong point of this release. That’s exactly why the whole video fits the song’s vibe so well. Particularly when Cloher sings the chorus part:
“Honey there ain’t no shame
In getting what you want
Gotta give it a name
It’s more than a feeling“.
Out of the three new releases announcing the sixth album, this one is definitely the boldest yet, without a doubt. I so wish it was longer than three minutes.
And the bottom line is, regardless of Valentine’s Day, Jen Cloher reminds us all that it’s good to have “Your Witch” in life. Because a little romance never killed nobody.
And on that note, I’m totally hooked and looking forward to hearing the whole album when it drops on March 3rd.
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