Rachel Goodrich: Light Bulb 2010
"Ten Greatest Music Videos of 2010" - IFC
"Best Music Video of 2010" - Miami New Times
IFP Center, 2015
Glasgow Short Film Festival, 2014
Key West Film Festival, 2013
by Milton Garcia
The simplistic lyrics of "Light Bulb" by Rachel Goodrich are a paean to a child's worldview. Joy is expressed through the acknowledgment of things most adults don't notice in their day-to-day existence: blue skies outdoors, rooftops and light bulbs indoors. More than acknowledgement, gratitude to these basic objects is expressed, and when coupled with an awareness that all of these objects may no longer be around one day, we realize the speaker is all too aware of her and her world's mortality. Despite addressing the inanimate items directly, we begin to suspect the speaker is either a particularly precocious child or perhaps not a child at all. By the time she expresses gratitude for the halo over her head, and even the demons she "hopes will never come out," and with it a self-awareness of innocence that no child possesses, we realize that the narrator is an adult attempting to speak in a child's voice, and the song becomes about yearning for a lost innocence that may never be regained.
Upon first listen it is easy to enjoy the song on this level, reveling in the whimsical sounds of the kazoo and charango and perhaps even be transported to the state of childlike innocence that the speaker yearns for. To do so, however, would belie the important underlying social message of the song. Rachel Goodrich is an active member of Miami's young artistic community, most of which is based out of neighborhoods like Little Haiti and Wynwood. Despite the influx of artistic activity, these neighborhoods are predominantly populated by immigrant families of low socio-economic status. It is impossible to exist in these neighborhoods without being overwhelmed by the poverty and its impact on the children of the community.
Just as William Blake created Songs of Innocence and of Experience to express his dismay at the loss of childhood innocence in turn of 18th century London, Rachel seems to have created "Light Bulb" to express the same sentiment. Blake's work, while written with a childlike simplicity and joy, explores the loss of virtue through the exploitation of the industrial revolution. Rachel's work comes in a similar package, replacing London with 21st century Miami, but still exploring the theme of urban youth stripped of innocence in the shadow of a different sort of economic boom. By highlighting the ugly stereotypes of popular "hood culture" that denigrates the youth, we are metaphysically witnessing the cause (the video itself) and effect (corrupted children); the action (lifestyle of the children) and the reaction (Rachel's song).