February 16, 2010

Seen: Bear

It's rare that a song's music video relies on the viewer to understand the other tracks from the parent LP. But The Antlers' Hospice is essentially a concept album about a relationship that withers away -- every track is an entry in the same story of emotional and physical wilting. Seen in that context, this video for "Bear" makes a lot more sense.

This is more an endorsement of the album than the video, but Hospice is one of the most involving, depressing, and beautiful albums of 2009.

Pitchfork's Ryan Dombai had the same thought I did the first time I watched the video -- "I'm not even going to pretend to understand what this video really means." But Hospice's intricate lyrics explore a terminal relationship; in the case of the video, the mysterious black orb the girl is carrying can be seen as emotional baggage. The album is one long process of letting her -- and her baggage -- go. The band does just that in the video, placing the damaged weight back in her cart and leaving it up to her to carry the load.

If you like lyrics that reward close listening, you'll like the album.

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