THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2016 |
Posted by: Don Saas
They say you're not a real New Yorker til you cry on the subway. Well, I haven't managed to do that although I shed a couple tears on my walk home from work one day after a sudden and unexpected break-up. Does that count? Crying in public is a big deal. Our society is sociopathically invested in having folks repress their emotions...not just in public (but especially there) but in all aspects of our lives. And then we wonder why the United States fails to handle mental health issues to such a staggering degree.
Chairlift handle that idea of "Crying In Public" in their video/song of the same name, and it is a warm and empathetic and subversively beautiful spin on the notion. The video starts out in the studio but before long, it transitions to Union Square in the Village and then a ride on the G train (although Caroline Polachek is standing on a station as an F train goes by in the video and I might be wrong but I don't think you can catch the F or the G at Union Square/14th St.). It's snowing and Caroline Polachek has fake tears glued to her face.
It may sound silly and artificial but like all of Chairlift's best work, they use that artifice to transcend the source material. Crying on the subway or in the snow outside in Union Square Park isn't anything new. But Polachek's airy and ethereal vocals paired with the surrealist touches sprinkled throughout the video add a layer of the...for lack of a better word...supernatural. It's campy and oversized, but that's always been the point from a band whose only official video for "I Belong In Your Arms" is in Japanese.
It's intimate and theatrical. It's not an easy bridge to cross (and sometimes it's an area where Chairlift fail) but on "Crying In Public," Chairlift make it look effortless.