MTF8’s “The Smile”: video review

Retro synth-goth act Mtf8‘s new video for “The Smile” uses a range of images and scenes to contextualize the lyrics, laying bare the trauma of the composer-singer’s experiences at the hands of the horrifically abusive cultish drug and alcohol mistreatment program “Straight, Incorporated,” which ruined the lives of so many youths in the 70s, 80s and 90s. At the heart of the song is the sense of regret and guilt the he could not protect his sister from the abuse either. The video uses found footage of Straight Inc.; scenes of the composer, at his computer keyboard, reading online survivor accounts of the trauma, statistics of the suicide rate among those who suffered at the hands of the program, and an apologetic statement from one of the staff; scenes of the composer at his synth keyboard, processing the experiences into creative expression; and scenes of the composer with his sister, a fellow-survivor of the Straight Inc. abuse.
Already an emotionally charged song with lush production by Charlie Nieland and deep layers of carefully constructed musicianship, the video adds a whole new depth and the results are powerful and moving.

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