Craxy have been making waves with their most recent comeback for their third EP, Who Am I. They have taken several unusual steps, such as dual lead singles. That is more commonly done for A-list groups or groups promoting a full-length album, so when a younger group does so, it garners attention and allows them to showcase multiple sounds. They have also released a third MV for the mini, this one for the closing track, “Butterfly”. And it was a stroke of genius, as “Butterfly” packs a punch of poignancy upon the audience.
The MV itself is as unusual as its existence. No glamour shots, no closeups, no sign of Craxy at all. Instead, we are given a video that would honestly be more accurate to call a short film rather than an MV. Animated, entirely in greyscale, with surrealist imagery designed to illustrate a mindscape, and backed perfectly by Craxy’s music, “Butterfly” tells the story of the difficulties of working artistry.
A ballerina is preparing for a show, and is plagued by doubts. A simple story, but one that is executed with a deftness and humanity that lets it resonate. The choice of a ballerina is telling as well. Most people think of ballet as pretty and graceful and dazzling, and while it is all those things, ballet is also excruciating. Every aspect of ballet is unnatural, pointe shoes will rub a dancer’s feet until they bleed, and the toll the repetitive movements takes on the body is tremendous. It is one of the most grueling things a person can do, and the average person has no idea, because the cardinal sin of ballet is to let the work show.
And all of that is merely the physical toll. What “Butterfly” digs into is the mental workload of being a working performer. The ballerina is plagued by fears and doubts. She feels trapped, she feels alone, she feels overwhelmed, and she feels helpless, none of which are out of place. Performing arts are a field where the expectation is perfection. When you take the stage, every line, every turn, or every note should be perfect. And all the wanting in the world does not make it easier to cope with the strain.
It is a strain Craxy is clearly familiar with. The lyrics show them beginning to crack under the same. The exhaustion and doubts are weighing on them. The vocals sound as if the members are tired to their marrow, at the point in their career where they have been putting in the work but not yet seeing the rewards. This is set against a haunting melody, light but chaotic, and constantly threatening to overwhelm Craxy as they attempt to push through this dark period.
And eventually, they do find someone who can break through the fears and anxieties. It is not another person, as the lyrics imply. Instead, the ballerina shows the key to surviving as a working performer. She finds salvation not in perfection or the adulation of others, but in self-satisfaction. Her belief in herself saves her when her mental state is at a tipping point, and when she finally takes the stage, the audience melts away. She dances for herself, for her own edification and her own measure of success.
“Butterfly” is an unusual MV. Unusual medium, unusual format, and an unusual message. This is Craxy drawing a line in the sand and saying “We cannot perform for you. We do it for us, and hope you like it too”. There are always people who offer only negative opinions on art, who feed the fears and stresses of those who create for a living. There are always those who treat performers as living commodities, with no awareness of the people who live under the masks of entertainers. But Craxy has made it clear that they seek their own judgment, and no one else’s, if only because that way lies madness.
(Images via YouTube, SAI Entertainment)