Video directed by Scarlet Moreno
The question of how many influences and references can emerge from just one song and its video has been answered by Paige Calico. The answer to the question is “close to infinite.”
With an almost twangy voice, Calico could be a country singer. But “Arm Candy” has deep echoes of 60s girl group hits. So you have something like Dolly Parton x The Shirelles. The choruses reinforce the throwback feel of the song with background vocals (which might include Calico) adding to the lyrics but also providing the “ooooo” that characterizes that period when almost every song was an ode to teenage love. The sound ranges from crisp guitar-driven rock with some keyboard riffing to Phil Spector-ish density when the wordless vocalizing chorus kicks in.
And then there’s the lyrics. The sweet and sexy airiness of Calico’s voice could lead the listener to hear a love song if they ignored the lyrics. Instead of that, it’s something of a feminist anthem. Even just catching the references to “the cookie jar” and “arm candy” could lead to the wrong conclusion. Calico’s real desire is to be independent of all that she talks about, separate from materialism and pigeonholes.
The video finishes off all this eclecticism. Scarlet Moreno video brings out a parody of Robert Palmer’s 80s revolutionary, albeit sexist, videos to back Calico’s sexy looks, a turn on the Palmer videos’ use of women simply as props. And the video incorporates more sex, just watch below.
SF Sonic had the opportunity to ask Calico about the song and video. “I wanted to create something visually intoxicating, sweet with a little sour (like candy often can be) juxtaposed with witty contemporary themes.” She obviously succeeded with that. And asked about the contrast between the 60s and today, she said “The retro vibe along with my cast of beautiful ladies, both masculine and feminine help support a wry & sharp cautionary tale about the deception of materialistic pleasures.”
Watch “Arm Candy” here: