Music Video Spotlight: “Summer Nights” by SIAMÉS
Music videos are one of my favorite forms of art—-despite being shorter than a movie, or even a single episode of a television show, they are still able to convey complex and developed stories. The fact that music videos are short can actually be used as an advantage; because it …
Music videos are one of my favorite forms of art—-despite being shorter than a movie, or even a single episode of a television show, they are still able to convey complex and developed stories. The fact that music videos are short can actually be used as an advantage; because it isn’t too long, it’s easier for viewers to watch and digest what’s happening. Additionally, there’s a lot more creative freedom with visual effects that normally wouldn’t be appropriate for movies.
I see music videos as three separate works of art: the video by itself, the song or music, and then the combined experience of both. A song’s lyrics may offer a slightly different story than its music video, but together, they become one of the most profound forms of artistic expression.
Today, we’re looking at “Summer Nights” by SIAMÉS.
“Summer Nights” is one of my favorite songs for a multitude of reasons: first, it’s fully animated with a gorgeous aesthetic. Second, it’s a work of art that brought together multiple different artists—-Ben Dougan and Moses Murphey who created the original song, SIAMÉS, the indie-alternative band who made their own unique cover of it, and RUDO Co., the studio that produced the music video. Together, a single cohesive story is born.
If you were to look at the lyrics alone, maybe you’d think that the song is about two lost lovers and their mistakes. It feels like there’s a conversation going back and forth, and SIAMÉS’s version of the song features a male and female singer. It feels regretful, like these two people ended on bad terms, or met at the wrong place, wrong time. However, the music video tells us a different story, offering another interpretation.
The music video depicts four friends who go to an abandoned building together. Three of the friends have a star on their body, representing the friendship that they share. However, one girl does not have a star, suggesting that she forgot about their friendship, or drifted away as they grew older. However, once she rekindles that bond they had, they’re all transformed into kids again, and she remembers their friendship—-finally reclaiming her star.
There is one shot that shows the girl’s three friends cheering when her star appears. Synced with the beginning of the second chorus, I am not exaggerating when I say that this scene gives me the chills every time I watch it. Something about it feels so melancholy, but at the same time, overwhelmingly happy.
To continue, the majority of the video is animated in a slow-motion style, like everything is swimming through molasses. This quite literally conveys the haziness that comes with trying to recall old memories. Also, the color scheme starts darker but gets brighter and warmer as the video goes on, especially when the four friends become kids again. When they’re entering the abandoned building, it’s nighttime, but by the end when they’re entering the old treehouse, the sun is just about to break over the horizon—-a new day.
Whether you’re looking at the lyrics or the video, or both of them together, there’s this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. The song has a very heavy, melancholy tone, but at the same time, it feels hopeful and introspective. As the music fades out, one of the final shots is a window with four stars; one of them is faded but redrawn anew.
Music videos can be works of art; “Summer Nights” is one of them.