An admission: we are almost always behind the curve on the graph of awareness of videos. It’s the music that matters. But sometimes the videos are worthwhile, either because they work so well with the music or because they have an attraction separate and apart from the music. The special ones fit both those descriptions.
Typically, when you wake up in the middle of the morning and need a method of stopping your mind off the things that need to get done, an effective approach to returning to sleep is to turn the television to the Palladia Channel and let the videos play. Last night, it quickly became apparent that one exception is when the video is “Free” by Rudimental (featuring Emeli Sandé).
The "Free" video stitches together three aspects of a man’s life. Two of them take place while he is a boy, as (1) he is bullied and (2) he explores an attraction to the freedom of a falcon. The third aspect is his ability to achieve that freedom as an adult. Despite the differences in time and attitude, the three aspects are fit together seamlessly using techniques such as duplicating the tilt of the boy’s head as the switch is made to his activity as an adult. But our favorite feature of the video is the timing of the instrumental build of energy as the three-minute mark is approached, followed by the man launching himself as the choir hits with force.
Special recognition goes to stuntman Jokke Sommer, who plays the role of the man who climbs the mountain.
The other video is by Sons & Lovers, which is also a London-based band. The song is “The Only One.” The value of this video is its fit with the song, although we certainly appreciate the song for itself. Interestingly, the band explains that the video came first.
The video is four minutes and 40 seconds in length, but is effectively divided in half. For the first 2:24, the man is alone. Clearly, he has troubles. The lyrics reflect this fact. But at the 2:24 mark, the son appears from behind the door. The man’s perspective on life instantly changes. The change is reflected in the song - while the music within the first half is haunting at times and angry at others (for example, during the punching bag scene), the music is melodic and orchestral during the second half. More importantly, the change is reflected lyrically. The lyrics are troubling in the first half, then positive in the second. Most significantly, the second leads and ends with:
You’re the only one that keeps,
The wolves back in the shadows.
You’re the only one who makes
The fever burn away.
I’ll never let you face
The same storms I’ve been facing.
And I can be the lighthouse
That guides you right back home.
The sentence about being the lighthouse could easily be the words of the boy, rather than the man. In the video, it’s the boy who functions as a lighthouse in guiding the man to the space where he wants to belong.