Covered in Grace by The French Wives.
A symbolic decomposition of the music video.
Have you seen any interesting and inspiring music videos lately? We have! It is a video by The French Wives, a brilliant folk/indie-pop band from Glasgow, filmed for their single “Covered in Grace”. It certainly has not had a million dollar budget, or the cutting edge technical equipment to shoot it, yet it definitely had a vast amount of creative spark, wit and a lot of heart put into it.
The video does not only serve as a visual medium to showcase the band’s fantastic song, but it also promotes some of Glasgow’s most spectacular places, and above that through its symbolic layer and underlying message constitutes food for audience’s thought.
“Covered in Grace” video presents a metaphoric portrayal of one's worries and everyday strife being shackles for one's life, and a sudden turn in life signalling an opportunity to get through obstacles and restore stability.
Problems are portrayed as beings draped in black cloaks, wearing Venetian-like masks and present at every step of the way of the main character in the video. Their appearance is very mysterious and threatening, sending a clear message to viewers about their role in the story - to loom over the main character, make him miserable and depressed, so that he is feeling no way out from the situation at hand.
The video starts when a man is being woken up by an alarm clock at 9 am in the morning. As he puts on his bathrobe, the cloaked persons symbolising troubles awaken as well. The man washes his face and once he looks in the mirror, we get to see his face, which constitutes a blue-grey mask, covered in deep groves of worry lines on his forehead. The man sighs and his shoulders drop, manifesting abandonment of hope and deep misery. Afterwards, we observe the dark figures admiring themselves in the mirror - they are very cocky, confident and imposing – and which sends us a hint the scene is a reflection of the man's spiritual state, symbolising the strength of negative emotions building up in the his soul.
Further in the video, we notice the masked persons take a great part in the man's part, as they never leave his side. The man continues his daily chores, finds out he run out of milk and then browses through the mail, where he finds a blank envelop hiding a mysterious note - a collage of colourful letters, composed into a message: “follow the balloons”. The man is baffled by the letter, and ponders the idea of going out - at the time he longingly stares at the door, the cloaked figure instantly looks at him, panicking the man would go and break away from him.
The main character finally decides to leave the flat and directs his footsteps to the local shop, where he buys a pint of milk. The worries are present at all times, watchful of every move that he makes. The turn in the story happens when the man suddenly spots a figure standing in the distance - a silhouette of a woman clutching a bunch of colourful balloons in one hand. She is too wearing a blue-grey mask with deep blue streak marks symbolising tears, and is staring hopefully into the distance. Upon reading the note he received earlier, he decides to follow the girl, who starts walking away. The cloaked beings are conferring and desperately try to take a hold of the man, but he manages to break free. Unfortunately, the woman with balloons disappears, and the main character is searching for her all over the town, until feels defeated and sits down on steps in the park.
Two boys walk down and, concerned about the state of the man, ask if he needs any help. He explains them the whole situation, and they in turn assure him all will be well - the man starts the search again, looks very confident and ready for a challenge of finding the woman. The scene may signify that even in the deepest of oppressions one is never alone, and there is always somebody who will offer a helping hand. As the night creeps in, the man finally catches sight of the girl, but while running towards her, he bumps into a stranger and loses sight of her again.
Resigned, he sits down again, and we see how the girl is walking past him in the background – on a symbolic level, the scene presents us how opportunities might be available at the stone’s throw, but how easily we miss them, falling into spiral of misery and sadness. At this point of the video, the worry figures are content of the turn of events, and take place at the man’s back. In the end though, the girl appears in front of the main character, who starts walking slowly towards her, only to be tackled by the cloaked beings. We witness they also attack the woman, who fights bravely to shake them off of her. But right before our eyes, a transformation of the man begins - from doubtful , weak and sorrowful, never believing in own inner-strength person, to one reaching for his dreams and aspirations, brave enough to tackle obstacles and help someone else to get back on the right path to success.
With the worry men still observing, the reunion of the pair is finally achieved. The woman wants to take the man's mask off, but he stops her hand and instead is doing it himself, proving his strength and determination to achieve happiness. The balloons drift away, symbolising hope, renewal and new beginnings, as the pair stand facing each other in the dark of the night.
As the video is rich in numerous symbols on different levels, and we could probably go on forever analysing it, we would like to decompose one last, very strong symbol, to bring this article to a close. The masks worn both by the main character and the woman, may possess as multitude of metaphorical explanations. They might represent everyday emotions robed into a pose - so as to appear different for the outside world, to disguise our true feelings and opinions.
On the other hand, masks may signify layers of certain emotions accumulated over a certain period of time, altering and/or influencing our perception of life, affecting personality and general outlook on life. Also, they may be adopted or accepted over a long period of time as our own 'face', as we get used to the kind of emotional position in life we have been placed in.
We feel the message woven into the video for “Covered in Grace” is very loud and clear, although each and every one of us might perceive a slightly different shade of it and take in whatever it says at the time of receiving it. In our view, it calls for assessing one’s spiritual life, finding inner strength to fight against difficulties in order to achieve personal goals. It also offers hope and comfort, as it proves there is not a problem without a solution.
We highly recommend you find out more about The French Wives - look up their MySpace page, LastFm channel and BandCamp site. Also, like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter.
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