“Anti-genre” indie rock tricksters SeepeopleS (which includes Tim Reynolds of Dave Matthews Band and members of Mophine, Paliament/Funkadelic, Spearhead and Lynrd Skynrd) are back with a video by Pete List for the song “Shame.” In the melancholic colorings and tone of the song and the situation of what’s clearly a family splitting up. A father is shown arguing with a mom with the child looks on, fire bursting from the father’s mouth depicting the kind of heated rhetoric that happens sometimes when a relationship splits in the not at all amicable way. A tender guitar riff runs through even as the song reaches an almost orchestral climax. The song unfolds in slow blooms of melody and the vocals are regretful and introspective spelling out the ways one can become disheartened. Lines like “with every passing moment I struggle to believe in love” and “someone’s always crashing the bus, you get used to the horror, the pain” hit hard but then there are them moments of realization such as “Life is not a game or a labor, living isn’t waiting for an angel or a savior, it’s insane.” And the choruses that include the word “shame” use the word as a mantra as a reminder that being able to feel how you know things don’t have to let fear or the heartache color every moment of your life even when it all feels like a chain of misfortune and tragedy. One could take the line “Don’t be afraid because you’ll be dead soon anyway” as a resigned, cynical but the video puts it in a different kind of context. The kid seems to have absorbed the angry ghosts that had gathered around him and turned into an animal that goes on the run from his troubles only to find himself facing down an armored military faction from which he and others of his have to run but only escapes by turning into himself and witnessing what looks like his own funeral but it’s a meta moment as the animal spirit waves goodbye to the kid as if setting him free from the shackles of his own anxieties after a dream conflict of epic proportions. It fits a song that really is a journey through dark, existential realizations that seem to hit us as the absolute truth in those low periods in our lives when everything seems to pile up and seem completely insurmountable. But the song with this video shows us how we can build the monsters in our minds better than anyone else and dissolve them as well and we can take on the real world as it is once the internalized melodrama fades. Shame in this song serves many rhetorical and symbolic roles including our conscience, our ability to take on psychological baggage because of our cultural conditioning and an assessment of the world we see and what it shouldn’t be but too often is. It’s a catchy pop song but has unexpected depths. Watch the video on YouTube and follow SeepeopleS at the links below.
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