This video blew my mind a little bit. “Anna” has always reminded me of something Mark Mothersbaugh would have written for The Life Aquatic (“Ping Island/Lightning Strike Rescue Op” might be what I’m thinking of), and the first few seconds of the video pick up on the film’s aesthetic, with the yellow credits set against the ocean’s surface, the interior shots of a boat that seems very clean and vaguely antiquated… Emma Stone’s (excellent) performance takes the Brantley Gutierrez-directed clip to a different place — more Spike Jonze than Wes Anderson — but it still feels like the association I’d silently made was somehow extracted from my brain and given a visual form. I love it.
I’d chalk this up to Mothersbaugh having been the inspiration for the song, but Butler did an interview with a fantastic new-ish podcast called Song Exploder in which he talked about the song’s genesis and Mothersbaugh never came up. Apparently “Anna” started with a melody Butler sang into his phone about his son and developed spontaneously while he was recording in Electric Lady Studios. (Side note: The lyrics’ focus may have drifted away from Butler’s son, but I can’t think of a more appropriate verse to sing to my daughter than “Hey little Lucy you’re the one/Rising before the lazy sun.” Boy does that kid love waking up early.)
Regardless of whether Butler is a Wes Anderson fan, the “Anna” video is well worth your time, as is his whole Policy album and his Song Exploder episode — watch above and listen below.
Song Exploder — Will Butler