One of the quietest, most unassuming records of 2014 also turned out to be one of its most memorable. Intentionally muted, S‘s Cool Choices still allowed for a bevvy of personality to slip through its cracks; flowers bloomed in between the pavement. Since that record’s release, Jenn Ghetto has died and resurrected as Jenn Champion. Opting out of the former for reasons of sensitivity, the songwriter (who was also a part of the sorely missed Carissa’s Weird) made a conscious decision to be recast as something approaching a stand-in as a small beacon of hope for anyone who’s experienced a meaningful rejection.
It’s that same spirit that helps characterize “Remember Love” the latest clip from S, which headlines a very strong pack of music videos which included memorable outings from Deerhunter, Dan Friel, EMA, Weyes Blood, Foals, and The Big Moon (who very nearly earned this post’s feature spot). In the end, though, this post’s focal point fell to S for much of the same reason the “Losers” video earned a spot in this site’s list of last year’s best music videos; its humanity.
Director Jimmy Bazan and Champion construct a world that’s at once relatable, despairing, and intimate in a way that feels painfully honest. Ostensibly about the impact an ex can have after a relationship, the skeletal metaphor winds up extending deeper and carries an equal, if not greater, amount of heft touching on the purest moments of heartbreak- the moments you forget for a fleeting moment that a loved one is gone.
Shot in an incredibly effective verite style, “Remember Love” allows death to linger around its every corner, even while featuring a skeleton front and center. It’s a deceptive trick that rewards investment and the effort of thematic exploration. Taken as a statement on the messy endings of a failed romantic entanglement, the metaphorical aspects of the video come close to seeming excessive but, driven further into an actual death, reels back towards feeling slight. As an open-ended possibility that accounts for both, it’s a sublime middle ground that winks at both scenarios.
In either case, the sense of loss is palpable and Champion effortlessly evokes the kind of hopeless nostalgia that’s unfailingly heartrending. As Champion retraces stubbornly held onto memories with a skeleton (played with a surprising amount of verve by Arwen Nicks, who also came up with the video’s concept), the clip finds its home striking a tonal balance not too dissimilar from Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine. An exhilarating joy is balanced with a brutal sadness and fondness is met with regret. As incredible as everything that precedes it is, the video’s final shot of Champion is unforgettable, extending S’s unlikely winning streak with a moment of total devastation.
Watch “Remember Love” below and pick up a copy of Cool Choices from Hardly Art here.