February 4, 2013

Love is a constant push and pull. Even when it looks perfectly realized from the outside, it’s typically fraught with moments of despair that arrive as suddenly as they disappear. The new video for Rhye’s “Open” captures that exquisite ballet of emotion in a gorgeously realized piece of cinematic poetry.

Director Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen, also behind the Los Angeles duo’s previous record-holder for the most depressingly realistic depiction of romance in recent music video history, “The Fall”, plays on that emotional binary with the opposing metaphor of the ocean and a burning hearth, following a young couple on what appears to be an idyllic beach house getaway. The burning passion writ across the couple’s faces and in their body language as they embrace is only matched by the chill in their eyes as they pause momentarily, lost in reflection, before pushing each other away. One moment they’re here, the next they’re somewhere else.

Where that somewhere else is in the young woman’s mind becomes clear. In a surprising twist toward the end of the video, Kragh-Jacobsen returns to the older couple whose own sad falling apart we witnessed in “The Fall” as she looks in on what appears to be a perfectly content, loving family. From her vantage, alone, outside in the cold, that’s exactly what they are. From closer up inside, we know that’s not necessarily the truth. (She does bear a striking resemblance to the object of misplaced obsession in “The Fall”, but it isn’t the same actress).

“I wanna make this plain, oh, I know your faded. But stay, don’t close your eyes. Oh, stay open,” vocalist Mike Milosh sings in his heart-breaking Sadeian croon.

Still, both sets of couples here, and in the previous video, and in every other instance of love recorded throughout history, keep on in this same tragic imbalance, pushing, pulling, hoping for something that they don’t have, overlooking the beauty of the things they already do. One of these you’ll probably figure it out.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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