Video Flashback – Straylight Run

My recent post about Band of Horses’ new video for “Knock Knock” led me on a music video streaming expedition that lasted hours. Old and new, cool and silly – my search was unlimited, and it gave me the opportunity to stumble across a few old gems. There is one video that I always come back to, one that has been around since 2004 and which I first saw about five years ago. I am sharing this now not because the song has ever been a particular favorite of mine, but because the video is unique and imaginative.

Straylight Run’s “Existentialism on Prom Night” video is intriguing partly because it was filmed in a fairly mundane setting. Yet after watching anonymous train passengers contribute to the song in their own ways, it’s hard to imagine the narrative coming to life anywhere else. What I like most about this video is its creativity. While some bands use film as a way to bring new stories to life with the featured song functioning merely as an inconsequential soundtrack, Straylight Run makes very literal use of their lyrics from start to finish. Often, the characters sing along to the music; other times, the camera finds snippets of the lyrics on advertisements inside the train or on passengers’ crossword puzzles. Most exciting is the couple using American Sign Language in a corner of the car (they too are signing along – if you know ASL, you can mute the video and still understand how the song is progressing, simply by reading their gestures).

All in all, it’s a cool video, and it takes a few repeats to catch all of the lyrical incorporations. On an unrelated note, the young ballerina dancing between the seats as the train rumbles along has incredible balance – I know I could never pull that off.