Gazing out across the southern California desert lands, the music video for AV Super Sunshine’s “Smile” begins in as surreal as style as the song itself does, inviting us into AV’s world from a behind the scenes angle presented both as unfiltered and entirely cinematic at the same time. We’re watching a music video come to life before our very eyes, and yet it doesn’t feel as though we’re looking in on something artificial or even slightly fake.
AV Super Sunshine’s “Smile” is a postmodern piece that was tailor-made for his hardcore fans, but while it caters to a discriminating audience used to nothing but the best from his recording sessions, it doesn’t come across to the viewer as being steeped in Hollywood arrogance in the least. This is a hard video to turn away from, partly because of its imagery, but mostly because of the steady stream of enticing melodies that circle around every shot we see here. You don’t have to be a big fan of the underground to get swept away by this track, but for those who consider themselves just that, it’s another smashing release from an artist most of us have come to know and love.
There are two different versions of “Smile” out right now – the standard take, and a house remix – and while they work off of the same concept, there are some major structural and tonal contrasts between the two that make each track interesting to break down. The house remix is, as you could probably guess, a rave-starting party track, but it doesn’t abandon the balladic narrative of the original in favor of filling in the ends with eruptive beats. Instead, between the rigid but white-hot grooves that back up the verses in the remix, there’s an increased validity afforded to the vocal through the supple conditioning of the string parts, allowing for the song to feel both synthy and rock n’ roll-flavored simultaneously (a difficult balance for any artist, regardless of their talent level, to strike). AV Super Sunshine is a freak about detail, and that’s the number one reason why a lot of critics have been as enamored with his work as they have been in the last couple of years.
Though I wasn’t following AV Super Sunshine as closely as some of my critical contemporaries were in 2019, I’m definitely planning on staying abreast with his current creative trajectory in the wake of “Smile” reintroducing me to his unique sound. The music video for the track definitely has the potential to be a game-changer for his brand if it manages to find some of the same success that “Are You Happy?” did, I think there’s a strong possibility that AV could make the transition from underground stalwart to legitimate mainstream contender a lot sooner than some might expect him to. He’s put in his time as an independent artist without question, and in this release, I think he gives audiences plenty of reasons to stay tuned for more of his amazing work.