Wednesday, October 17, 2012

O.N.E. - Yeasayer

This 2010 single from Brooklyn based band Yeasayer is a song that beautifully straddles the line between pop and art.

I recently discovered that this song was written as a study of alcoholism discussed as a relationship; leaving one is just as hard as the other. When given that insight, the lyrics have an entirely different weight.

One's not enough
I won't stop 'til I've given you up
Here, right as I am, it's hard having fun
It's much easier said than it's done

The genius of the writing here by Christopher E Keating, Anand Mathew Wilder and Ira Wolf Tuton is how perfectly adept it is at virtually any form of addiction. Love, drugs, alcohol, television, gambling, etc. Yet, it's presented in a way that is completely unique to the person experiencing it.

The video, directed by Radical Friend and shot by Kevin Phillips, is an astounding manifestation of all of these themes. The main character, driving recklessly and discontent with anything being broadcast from the outside world, arrives at dawn to an unassuming and decrepit building who's only life is a (assumedly) homeless vagrant. His face is distorted and unclear, lacking definition of who or what he is. However upon entering the psychedelic orgy of color and light and fantasy, he is clear. And his only goal is to play the game. He loses and is abandoned and as he walks out, his face once again distorts and the lack of clarity is all at once consuming him. To what destination, in the even brighter light, who knows.

The idea of separation from what was once a vital portion of this mortal coil relates to any person who has ever held anything dear, knowing it would eventually kil them. With love, it only happens when one surrenders themselves to another person; a finite being who's own emotions are completely held within their mind and who's trust is only held with someone who may or may not feel the same. Alcohol, for the temporary release from whatever dire situation the person consuming is in. The potential for death (emotionally or physically) is just as great in either case. Yet, removing the potentially deadly element can never be as easy as logic would dictate.

The idea of this being a semi-pop song is all the better. It has all of the appeal of a radio song with the catchy programming and melodies, yet the themes keep it around years after the fact. The visuals are obviously very well crafted and convey the feelings of isolation and altered states. As it is with most addictions, nothing is exactly as it should be and the delusion of what "reality" is cannot be understood while in the fray.

The work done here should be kept for years to come.

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