Artists have always approached music videos as potential events. J Soul Brothers III from EXILE TRIBE aren’t trailblazers with the clip accompanying new songs “Winter Sky,” either in the greater pop global sphere or even within the world of J-pop. Yet here they are, delivering the world not one, but two 13-minute-plus clips to accompany near-ballad cuts with a now seasonally fitting vibe going for it (wait until Thanksgiving is just starting to fade away…smart!). One long-runner is already notable, but two is just getting really ambitious. Watch the videos below.
The central story present in these videos requires a viewing of both to really grapple with — so set aside 30 minutes if you are truly committed to this — but the best way to summarize it without giving anything away is that it’s part mystery, part period place, and part time travel. The narrative stretches of “Winter Sky” and “White Wings” are spliced within the musical stretches of the clips, which appear to be unrelated to the story.
While the length and ambition of these videos is the real hook, they also bring two new songs from J Soul Brothers III with them worth zooming in on as well. Both rest on the slower side of the group’s sound, though neither reaches quite the dramatic crawl to be considered a full-blown ballad. “Winter Sky” boasts a snappy beat accented by piano notes that sound as fragile as fresh-formed ice, with strings coming in at the chorus to lift everything up even further. “White Wings” is a touch slower, but still features a pretty active beat alongside winter-ready bell chimes. Both, though, leave plenty of space for the group’s vocalists to really raise the song up with emotional words. These releases function as one big story, but they also stand alone just as music.