The Last Goodbye :: The Kills
Directed by Samantha Morton
The Kills celebrated their ten year anniversary this poignant and playful video for The Last Goodbye, taken from their most recent album Blood Pressures.
Shot in monochrome on crisp, silvery 35mm, the video reflects the beautiful simplicity of the track, with an old-school photo booth providing an intimate backdrop for Alison Mosshart’s intense and heart-warming opening performance followed by a series of touching to-camera poses reflecting the her longstanding, spirited friendship with bandmate, Jamie Hince. The video captures their chemistry by placing Alison and Jamie both in a cramped photo booth and letting them goof around.
Said Jamie of Alison to Nowness: “She’s my best friend and has been in every aspect of my life.”
The Last Goodbye is definitely in a different musical vein than The Kills usual fare, playing out more gently than rough, though Alison’s ragged voice is still present, in all its smoky, smoldering regale. It feels as if Alison is channeling Marianne Faithfull and Edith Piaf, with a bit of Patti Smith and Nico thrown in to the mix, gifting us with a heartbreaking and timelessly unforgettable song.
“It just sounds like it dropped out of the sky, like it’s always been around,” guitarist and other half of The Kill, Jamie Hince told Billboard magazine: “It sounds like one of those classic songs. That’s easily one of my favorites on the record, probably because it is so different.”
The song finds Alison unleashing her inner cabaret singer. The album Blood Pressures, which The Last Goodbye is featured on, was written and recorded whilst Alison moonlighted with The Dead Weather, Alison’s side project with Jack White, previously of The White Stripes.
Jamie told Spinner he felt that the vocalist’s time with Jack White’s outfit had given her, “a voice much stronger and more confidence vocally,” that was a bit of a double-edged sword. “For me, I like the vulnerable side of her voice,” he said. “I don’t just like the loud rock voice. To me, using that is almost like cheating. I like the vulnerability in her voice, when it cracks and wavers on words. If anything, Dead Weather made me want to steer [The Kills’ sound] away from rock. I didn’t want this to be a straight rock record.”
Jamie said of the ballad’s nostalgic piano sound to Nowness: “I wanted to make it completely different from anything we’d normally do. I used an octagon keyboard from the ’60s which takes flexi-discs with real bands playing and mixes them together.”
Said Alison, regarding the song’s meaning to Nowness: “Life goes on. It starts off being the end of the world but then ends up alright.”
Editor’s Note: I had the privilege of seeing, and hearing, The Kills perform The Last Goodbye last year at a small venue. As vulnerable and moving as it is recorded, it was that times a hundred heard live. The room fell silent when the first few notes began, and stayed quiet enough to hear a pin drop throughout Alison’s complete delivery of the song. The experience was breathtaking.