In Jennifer Vanilla’s “Take Me For A Ride,” a ride to the airport becomes a maximalist fever dream runway show where Vanilla and their glam friends are the center of the universe.
The track is off Vanilla’s forthcoming album Castle In The Sky, out August 5 via Sinderlyn, a record described as a “jennifreaky” journey that blends ‘90s dance music, no wave, post-punk, art pop, new age, and experimental R&B.
The video, directed by Dawn Lombardi, stars Lombardi, Robin Denzer, Aimee Grumbach, and Milah Libin, alongside Vanilla. It starts with two Vanilla fans, dressed in Y2K glam with purple metallic opera gloves, a zebra corset dress and pink fishnet tights, who are planning to give Jennifer Vanilla a ride to the airport. What follows is an addictive morphine drip of synths and art pop that define Vanilla’s world — one that feels sedating as it does exhilarating.
“I wanted to have some sort of sketch that opens up the video because I think that’s super old school and classic,” Lombardi says. “It’s boring to open music videos with just nothing. When I’m directing something I want to tell a story and add some jazz to the situation. The video to me was all about movement and energy. We needed dancers and we needed pure talent to fill the screen and that’s exactly what we achieved.”
Vanilla is the alter ego of Becca Kauffman, formerly of the experimental Brooklyn pop band Ava Luna. The project has spanned music, art ,and fashion in New York City over the better part of the last decade.
“I started Jennifer Vanilla so I could learn in front of people, and display a kind of curiosity and openness which I would probably be far too fearful to do without the cover of an alternate identity,” Kauffman says. “It’s a distinctly Jennifer kind of courage to be curious out loud in this exhibitionistic way. That’s what the process of living inside of an alias has been for me, a way to identify the vision, see where you’re at, and close the gap.”
Castle In The Sky has been in the works for over the last four years, a pivotal time when Kauffman had the realization that they were gender fluid and non-binary. The alter ego of Vanilla enabled them to have a more queer, playful public self. In “Take Me For A Ride,” we see the mythology of Vanilla come to life. By casting themselves as a celebrity with a gaggle of equally glam friends, we, too, are drawn into the lore of Vanilla. We, too, want to be a part of their queer, DIY glam world, a world of high fashion horror Mickey Mouses, gold lipstick and play.
Watch “Take Me For A Ride” below.