There’s relationships that don’t work, and then there’s the ones that seem as though all parties involved have made some colossal mistake that can only end in disaster. It’s the latter kind that gets explored in the new video for Alice Merton’s latest single, “Blindside,” premiering exclusively below on The A.V. Club.
It’s an enormously appealing song, groovy and filled with little rhythmic pops, as though Kate Bush stole Paul Simon’s backing band and took them out to perform last call at a disco. But the slinky, lithe dance vibes belie the darkness of the lyrical content: It’s “something I love doing when writing songs,” Merton tells The A.V. Club of that combination of light and bleakness. “[Blindside] is so earnest and dark but at the same time so fun and uplifting to listen to. It mixes such a serious topic with such a fun feeling.”
And the video captures that same combination of horror and absurdity, fitting for a track about the struggle to realize someone has wronged you. “Sometimes you meet people that don’t treat you with the same respect,” Merton says of the song’s themes, “that make you feel it’s all or nothing, and you can’t find the voice inside to stand up for yourself.” In the video, a man and woman are seemingly ending their relationship, only for him to quite literally turn into someone other than she thought.
In creating this iconography, Merton explained to director Sander Houtkruijer that it needed to represent how she “had felt inferior to someone I had spent a lot of time working with in the past. I never felt like I was treated with the same respect I had offered, and that I was constantly being given ultimatums,” Merton reveals. “We came up with two characters whose relationship to each other is very complicated and perhaps incomprehensible to the outside. It displays a very dark and dominating feeling that overshadows the love they have for each other. We wanted to then make the characters quite obscure and add a little bit of an Ingmar Bergman esthetic.”
If that was the goal, it succeeds. “Blindside” is the latest single from Merton’s upcoming album S.I.D.E.S., due out June 17 via her label Paper Planes Records. The video is below, and the album is available for pre-order now.