“Smile” (single/video) by AV Super Sunshine

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin’s AV Super Sunshine have built a very large global fanbase with strong grooves, powerful dance beats and a chunk of positivity. The same goes for their new song “Smile”. One can’t help but be happy and free in this pop rock track. One can’t help but…well, you know. Smile.

The companion music video is a trippy world of a world seemed to have been forgotten. It’s as if the cast members are the mannequin dolls from that atomic bomb testing sites in Nevada. The dolls look eerily familiar to one of the key scenes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Within an abandoned motorway inn, is a restaurant, with an antique lot adjacent. Overhead shots, closeups of the dolls and lots of retro blues, aqua greens and yellows, the cinematography of “Smile” is something to witness. Perplexing is that it’s also a show within a show, with the camera following the cameraman at times.

So much of “Smile” reminded me as a listener of songs from yesteryear – vintage guitar hooks, embellished with modern sounding murmurs. The psychedelic percussion is a bit subdued. The song makes you feel like you’re a wildly submerged into a lava lamp, at the same time singing along with the chorus: won’t you smile with me, a great big smile, then we all can see, my baby’s smile. I also liked the line so if you got the smile you saved, can I borrow it from you. This made me think of social media for some reason. Folks are always posting inspirational stories, and the lyric made me think of all the times that I’ve “shared” or “borrowed” (um, stolen) one of those uplifting messages. Spread the love, AV Super Sunshine seems to be preaching. Save it for your own sanity, but share it with others.

The vocals are a bit deeper sounding. The male vocals are unique and in a sense, reminded me of The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. He really stays in his vocal range. Peppered alongside the music bed, “Smile” is bursting in strong musicality and upbeat-to-mild tempos. There’s variations once the bridge hits that gives the song some interesting twist and turns. Reaching and reaching, these song tentacles scurry into different areas, leaving worlds of imagination for the listener to explore with a smile, of course. I really liked the paths this song took me and it never felt forced or contrived.

I think the point of the song and the accompanying video is that life’s too short. Smile and if you can’t get through the day without a smile, then reach deep within your reserves to find one. Maybe the commentary of the mannequins is that if we don’t smile, we’re just hollow. We’re empty. I think after listening to “Smile” I feel full, I feel revived and refreshed. This song isn’t a head banger or a pulse starter, but it’s a reminder to always think that the glass is half full. We’re not empty humans.

Zachary Rush