TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2015 |
Posted by: Alana Solin
Future Islands's understated yet emotionally overpowering video for "A Song for Our Grandfathers" starts with tone-setting shots of marshes and blades of grass making delicate silhouettes against the sky. This rural simplicity continues throughout the video, which intersperses shots of the band writing music in a cozy living room with shots of a family reunion. Many of the shots are slightly slowed down, making them feel sweet and almost sticky, like honey.
Both the video and the song ache of nostalgia; they practically ooze it. As much as this song is about home, it is also about the loss of home and how the reality of home can change so much from its original form that it is barely recognizable. Herring sings of how the crops have become fallow fields and clear-cut barren weeds, showing how history has clung to him even while he clings back, desperate for old times.
"I heard the ghost whisper/And those old eyes watching me/But I feel safe/I feel safe," Herring sings at the end of the song as his family watches the shadows of their bonfire flicker against the fields. Above all, this video characterizes the safety and love that a family provides while also wisely pointing out that the price of that love is loss. What makes this video exceptionally beautiful is how obviously and intensely personal it is to the band members. This video gives only a glimpse into the eternal cycle of loss and love the band sees in their families.