Daily Distraction: Dance along to new Sufjan song 'Video Game'

Joel Oliphint
joliphint@columbusalive.com
Sufjan Stevens

While Sufjan Stevens has released plenty of beat-heavy tracks in his career, he's more known for the quietly soulful indie folk found on 2015's Carrie & Lowell (one of the best albums of the last 10 years imo). But new single "Video Game," from forthcoming record The Ascension (Asthmatic Kitty, Sept. 25), is a true bop, and the accompanying video takes full advantage of the groove. 

Jalaiah Harmon, a teen dancer best known as the originator of the viral "Renegade" dance, is the sole star of "Video Game." Harmon choreographed her own dances in the video, directed by Nicole Ginelli. “This was my first time being asked to create choreo for a whole song,” Harmon said in a press release. “So I was a little nervous in the beginning, but once I really broke the song into parts and listened to the lyrics over and over, I just put moves together that connected to the words and felt natural for me to do. I think I’m still really trying to get used to this kind of success, so I can’t really define it just yet. I just know that when you work hard and you treat others with kindness and fairness, good things come back to you.”

“It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where the value of people is quantified by likes, followers, listeners and views,” Stevens said of the video and the song. “So many people are seeking attention for the wrong reasons. I think we should all be doing our best work without looking for accolades or seeking reward.

“The main takeaway of ‘Video Game’ for me is: your worth (invaluable) should never be based on other people’s approval (ephemeral). Just be yourself. Keep it real. Keep it moving. Do all things with absolute purity, love and joy. And always do your best.

“Jalaiah epitomizes all of this and I’m truly inspired by her. So I thought, ‘What if we could get Jalaiah to star in a “dance video” about not wanting to star in a “dance video?”’ I’m so honored she agreed. She clearly owns it, and her work here is beautiful, poignant and true.

“Her dance shows incredible energy, work ethic and spirit. She is dancing for herself, not anyone else. Her choreography is sophisticated, nuanced and fun. She is a star. She keeps it real. She keeps it moving. She keeps it true. What a blessing!”

Check out "Video Game" below.