As I drive MANY MILES each day, and listen to this thing they used to call the radios, it’s like a blind taste-test for music. You usually don’t know the name of the singer or band, so your reactions are honest.
My reaction to this song on the radio was “play that again.” Put a gun to my head and I would’ve sworn this was some kind of European electro-dance thing, and the singer was maybe somebody like Ellie Goulding.
So it was a shock to learn Selena Gomez sings it. It’s a cut off the new album by Kygo, a Norwegian musical genius.
Let’s take apart why the video works so well with the song.
You care, right away
The trouble with most of music videos is there’s no attempt at making us feel, because the musicians are too busy trying to look cool, tough, rich and/or glamorous while singing about themselves. Nothing is really at stake and there’s no story told, so there’s no reason for the audience to care. It’s just a song, no matter how much gets spent on directors, dancers and the set.
This video has two characters you can relate two, right off, and an actual story with real stakes. You feel bad for this young man in a coma after the motorcycle crash, and you sympathize with the young woman sticking by his side at the hospital. You want him to be OK and for them to be together again.
The inner POV is trippy and beautiful
Loved it when the video switches to the point of view of the man in a coma.
They got truly creative with what it might be like to be trapped in your own body, aware but not awake. The lighting and effects are creative and well done. Impressive.
Genuine setups and payoffs leading to a beautiful ending
There’s a real sense of joy when she starts dancing and puts the headphones on her boyfriend. There’s a contagious sense of joy when she dances in spite of the situation. You can see in his inner POV that he hears the music, that he’s dancing, too, giving you hope that maybe he’ll make it and wake up.
It’s a great bit if storytelling with song that builds up to a classic closing image of him opening his eyes.
One final note about the costumes: this is the opposite of most videos, where singers try to show off insane outfits or as much skin as possible. They use crazy costumes for the inner POV sequences, which fits, then everyday outfits for the real life scenes. I was far more impressed with the simple joy of a singer rocking out in T-shirt and jeans, in this video, than all fancy choreography, skimpy costumes and backup dancers you find in other videos. Well done.
A creative music video with a great song and an actual story with a beginning, middle and end. The dream sequences are a special bonus.
TL;DR: I have seen many, many music videos, and this one is special. 10/10 would watch again.