Music

David Bronson - "Song of Life" (video) (Premiere)

What is the meaning of life? David Bronson's collaboration with photographer Ben Goldstein on "Song of Life" just might have the answer.

Questions (2015), the new album by New York-based singer-songwriter David Bronson, is shaped by 11 songs. Midway through Bronson's collection of superbly crafted tunes, however, is the album's glistening cynosure, "Song of Life". From the opening line, Bronson creates a setting that evokes the tranquility of nighttime and becomes more vivid through each layer of instrumentation. His voice quietly climbs the scale during the chorus, gripping the listener and guiding them into the "night dream" of the song lyrics. The atmosphere is enhanced through guest appearances by vocal legend Robin Clark (Simple Minds, David Bowie, CHIC) and her daughter Lea Lorien, a familial pairing that underscores the sentiment behind "Song of Life".

Of course, several interpretations can be drawn from the lyrics but Bronson explains the song's genesis as "giving oneself over, and into, another. Essentially creating family, and through it, meaning. That's what those lines are about, and to me it's kind of the heart of the album, and the centerpiece of life, actually. Which is why, after debating whether or not to keep a title that's that kind of grandiose, I decided, of course."

Bronson has already filmed videos for several songs off Questions, including "Connect the Dots", "Songbird", "Life Is Long", and "Day By Day". The artist has taken a different approach in translating each song to film. The video for "Song of Life" is no exception. It marks a collaboration with photographer Ben Goldstein, whose extensive work includes portraits of notables ranging from Jay Z to Amy Poehler to Anderson Cooper. Bronson continues, “Ben is an old friend. We went to art school together. I gave him an early copy of the record, and a few months later he called me and said, ‘I can’t stop listening to this song. I think I have to do a video for it.’ It was a done deal. He told me his idea was to film real-life couples. I thought it was brilliant. Extremely clear, simple, and kind of obvious in that after-the-fact way, like the best ideas always are."

Goldstein's vision captures alternately playful, affectionate, and poignant moments shared between couples as they stand against a white backdrop. “I’ve been describing it consistently as a ‘portrait of relationships’ but it’s really more a portrait of couples," says the photographer. "It’s been interesting to see how different couples interact with each other. There’s a sort of trust you need to reaffirm with your partner during the filming, because it’s quiet and you’re somewhat exposed. So each couple handles that differently, and relies on one another in different ways. It’s not that dissimilar from building trust at the beginning of a relationship. So I would say it’s about coming together and the process of becoming a couple.” Goldstein's portraits also encompass how relationships reflect the cycle of life, from a couple embracing their newborn to a woman holding a framed photograph of a departed loved one. In conjunction with the video's premiere, Goldstein has uploaded a gallery on his website that includes a selection of stunning photographs he took during the video shoot.

Amidst footage of Bronson singing and playing guitar, and the different expressions of love documented by Goldstein, music icon Carlos Alomar also makes a cameo standing between Robin Clark and Lea Lorien. Following their appearances in Bronson's videos for "Songbird" and "Connect the Dots", the trio truly represents one of the great musical families of rock and R&B.

Ultimately, "Song of Life" is but one of many moods David Bronson explores on Questions yet its impact transcends the seamless 41-minute experience of the album. Goldstein's video is the perfect companion to the statement Bronson has made with "Song of Life". Through the lens and between the notes, love is the true meaning of life.




Splash and thumbnail images of Bronson by John O'Boyle.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image