For those of you fans of pop music living in NYC who haven't yet heard of Eric Alán, it's time to come out from under that rock and get a good look.
His “My Favorite Sin” official video premiered Wednesday on BoyCulture.com, YouTube and elsewhere, and unless you have something against rock-solid back beats, darkly driving synths, and singing that recalls everything that was ever good about the Euro-alternative scene of the 1990s, then you've got some very good music coming to you.
But the music is just a glimpse of the overall picture.
The first word that comes to mind describing Eric Alán's “My Favorite Sin” video is blood. (Well, actually, it's 'beats,' but 'blood' is a close second.) “My Favorite Sin” is an almost shockingly visceral experience in terms of both sight and sound. Its jabbing, pounding, pummeling boxing motif makes for particularly violent viewing as pop-music videos go, giving an even sharper edge to an already evocative and adrenaline-fueled song.
The song itself has a shadowy tone reminiscent of Depeche Mode's Violator record, but with house-music additions which make it far more danceable and energetic, something fans of Eric Alán won't find surprising. Alán's lyrics are worth hearing and thinking about, too. They're clearly very intimate to him in particular, but describe the feeling of civil war within us all very well, also.
Alán's theme of fighting allows for personal, profound and startling symbolism, much more so than mainstream music generally cares to indulge in, though of course the focus of “My Favorite Sin” remains the dancing, the singing, and the (ahem) undulating.
This is, maybe, the most impressive bit about Eric Alán's new video: it's catchy, it's sexy, it's shocking in its ferocity and a hell of a lot of fun to watch – but it's also meaningful, dead honest, and nakedly human (even literally). By the end of the 4.5-minute show, “My Favorite Sin” even manages to be wise.
With sledgehammer symbolism, the title bout in “My Favorite Sin” is between reigning champ, Eric Alán, and his ominous, black-knight challenger … Eric Alán. Contrary to inner-struggle stereotypes, though, it is not a battle of good vs. evil, and the video gives few clues as to which Alán the music fan should be cheering on. In fact, it's entirely uncertain which of them Alán, himself, would prefer to win, the unavoidable point being that they're both beating agony out of one another and neither of them will relent.
It's a bloodbath. There's sweat everywhere. If there are tears to go with these fluids, they're too mixed in to tell.
The song is performed by a graying Alán at center ring. He wears a dapper tuxedo and sings into a dangling bullet mic like a classic announcer of championship title fights. This Alán represents the scarred and aged Alán, the post-career Alán, the one who gave up fighting long ago, presumably because it's a destructive, brutal sport in which he either didn't care to continue – or eventually couldn't.
There's even a shot of Alán training which includes his adorable little dog (whose actual name happens to be Rocky, no less). The pup sticks by the singer and works as a kind of foil against all the carnage, looking positively innocent and joyful even as his master strives to ensure that he can devastate himself as totally as possible when the time comes.
Naturally, there's a ton of exceptional dancing featuring Eric Alán's onstage dance crew, dancing being at the heart of his music and live performances. There's also an amount of male flesh – male flesh that is literally inspirational. It's arresting. Eric trained for months to pull off the boxing character in his video, and it definitely shows.
All in all, the official video for “My Favorite Sin” by Eric Alán is a round-one knockout. Bringing sound, style, dance and even philosophy to the table in one flexing and grimacing package, it's far more than his fans or critics could possibly have expected.
It's a game changer for independent music videos and music vids in general, proving not only that pop music doesn't have to be insipid, but also that if the mainstream doesn't keep its guard up and come out swinging, indie artists like Eric Alán are going to massacre them. TKO.
See the official “My Favorite Sin” video from Eric Alán at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU5JQa1l9fU