I had to watch the video for LOVER‘s “A Better Man” several times before I knew what to make of it. A continuous shot of a lone figure dancing to the backdrop of the plains of Africa, the dingy city streets of some unkn0wn location and a riot of luminescent colors does not make for easy analysis, but that does not mean that each shot of the video is not entirely purposeful.
The song itself outlines a conversation between lovers which is extremely relatable and hopelessly ungratifying. Words are left unsaid and feelings are impossible to put to speech. The dancer continues her motion, alone and isolated. Animals maul at each other in both violence and ecstasy. Images bleed into each other just as thoughts can sometimes become lost in translation.
None of this is immediately apparent in the video and it is likely that few viewers will put in the sort of time necessary for the metaphorical richness of the piece to be appreciated. But it seems likely that the band didn’t create the video for the viewer. Like the song, it seems that this video was a moment of catharsis. Putting to light words unsaid, everything that is impossible in the conversation becomes solid through art. Even if it is still difficult to understand.