SSION is back, back, back! A new short film, premiering on The FADER today, previews the first two songs from pop genius and video director Cody Critcheloe’s forthcoming new SSION album, O. “Big As I Can Dream” is a late-night lullaby, the kind you might sing to yourself in your head; a mantra set to music. “Comeback,” on the other hand, is a bright and ballsy singalong of a single that twists and turns from pop to industrial glam rock and back again.
“We kinda treated the song itself like a mixtape, you know?” Critcheloe said of “Comeback,” which he co-wrote with Test Icicles' Sam Mehran and co-produced with Teengirl Fantasy's Nick Weiss, in a new interview about his return to music. “Like throwing things in the pot to make it crazy.”
In the video, directed by Critcheloe himself, the two songs find sense together within a breathless past-present-future narrative that lovingly lampoons the cyclic nature of the pop machine. Critcheloe plays three main characters: SSION-the-video-director in a diner, reminiscing about days gone by with luminous tears at the corner of his eyes; SSION-the-pop-star, shaking his money maker in stretch satin and sequins with a troupe of shiny-toothed dancers; and SSION-the-leather-skinned-music-mogul, jadedly overseeing an audition to find the new SSION.
As ever with Critcheloe’s videos, the devil is in the details. There are pop culture references aplenty — the cow cover art for Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother with a SSION twist; film director Bob Fosse’s gleeful dance choreography; Tower Records — and scores of cinematic moments, including a Lynchian waitress with a grudge, and an epic chase scene. I have barely scratched the surface: you’ll just have to hit play, again and again, to soak it all up.