Which song wears the dollface best?
“I want you to know tonight that nothing will hurt me. I want you to know that I have chills in my heart (REPEAT) and just what it’s like to be me…just what it’s like to be like me.”
“Please don’t go, I want you to stay. I’m begging you please, please don’t leave here. I don’t want you to hate for all the hurt that you feel. The world is just illusion trying to change you”
Two different sets of lyrics, from two different bands: VNV Nation and State of the Union. The musicians are not affiliated, but their songs, “Illusion”, and “I Want”, both from albums released in 2008, ended up being set to the same piece of footage, an animated creation by Andy Huang called “Dollface.”
VNV Nation is perhaps the grandfather of the Futurepop genre, covering a wide range from industrial dance beats, to a more traditional EBM style, to melancholic ballads and profound symphonies. State of the Union is an American electro band, which emerged on the scene sometime later, and while they are not without a clear influence, they have still gained some of their own well-earned acclaim.
This raises some questions about artistic merit and the borrowing and recycling of ideas. It’s one thing to explore similar themes, but if both artists were satisfied with this same footage, it might suggest that the music itself is interchangeable. There is something to be said for creating one’s own content. Be that as it may, it’s quite unusual how changing the tune can both so drastically and so subtly alter the effect of the visuals.
See for yourself. Below are both versions. The first is from VNV Nation and the second is from State of the Union. Is one of them better than the other? You decide.