Ah, Montreal, we love you. Every fall down icy spiral stairs and encounter with a ravenous squirrel only endears you to our hearts. It's this delightful sensation of tapping into the spirit of the city through our mundane but hilarious common experiences that local artist Vincent & The Grenadines celebrates in the music video for his song, "The Ballad Of Montreal."
Vincent, real name Alexander Griffin, told MTL Blog that the upbeat song is a love letter to the city.
He wanted the video to offer a bit of a contrast to the song's pop-y vibe.
In it, Vincent's "emo" character tours some quintessential Montreal sites with hilarious disdain, searching for "shit birds" on Mount Royal and taking disappointing selfies in front of the city's landmarks.
He also "embraces the French culture" by taking part in a strike and runs away from a squirrel he made the mistake of feeding.
"The scenarios show the funny, campy, less glamourous sides of Montreal. It's part of what makes it such a fun city to live."
All this, of course, is made possible in the video with the help of a green screen, which, somehow, captures the city's scrappy soul better than actually visiting these places might.
The original idea, he said, was to go out and film on the streets. That plan, like everything else, became impossible because of the pandemic.
Instead, he leaned into the "over-the-top" effect of the green screen.
The video is clearly an expression of what the Australia native on his website calls a "deep love" for his "adopted home."
The city has also influenced his music, which "follows three strict principles — that each track should be starkly different yet feel coherent together, that English and French are both inseparable components of any record, and that no self-respecting musical alter-ego should ever take themselves too seriously."
"The Ballad Of Montreal" is the fifth track on Vincent & The Grenadines' debut EP, Knife Crime Youth Club.
The equally campy video for the French opening track, "Dépanneur 24h," premiered on August 25 and shows the eerily familiar character of a young Montrealer (complete with plaid pants) at a house party singing lyrics that describe, among other things, the experience of trying to catch an early-morning metro at Berri-UQAM.
The whole EP, Vincent writes, is "a declaration of love to the winding staircases and changing seasons of Québec’s metropolis."
That love definitely comes through.