“LOVE SONGS FOR BUDDY”
November 30, 2005
Hello again! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, honored to be working with the amazing Headlights again. Over the past five years, it’s been our great privilege to help spread the word about Champaign, Illinois’s most luminous pop band. During that time, we’ve watched Headlights grow from a Postal Service-like semi-electronic recording project into a full band capable of levitating concert halls with their glorious sound. We were amazed when Tristain Wright and Erin Fein dazzled us with the ornate Kill Them With Kindness, and “TV”, its madly-catchy single. When Headlights re-emerged as a stripped-down pop quartet for the beautiful Some Racing, Some Stopping, we recognized it for the bold move it was. And now, Headlights have reinvented themselves once more, releasing Wildlife, their most mature, thoughtful, and fully-realized work. Call us pleased, but not astonished: we know how marvelously protean Headlights are, and we’d never want it any other way.
Wildlife continues the move toward pop simplicity that Headlights began on Some Racing, Some Stopping: most of these recordings are first-takes with minimal overdubs. Erin Fein’s lovely voice is often unadorned; she addresses the listener directly, singing with newfound conviction and clarity. “Love Song For Buddy”, the band’s newest video, examines loss, and the long shadow of death, with the band’s characteristic poise and sweet pop touch. Reviewers have been impressed: Erik Adams in the Onion’s A.V. Club praises Wildlife as “gorgeous and heartbreaking”, and lauds the intimacy of Fein’s vocals. “The album is an emotionally powerful, melodically rich work that adds a new dimension to Headlights”, raves Tim Sendra in the All-Music Guide, “Wildlifehas a tenderness that the band may not have been able to convey in the past, a bruised heart that they haven’t displayed before.” Yes, Headlights have always written about communication difficulties and relationship trouble — but they’ve never done it so artfully, or so persuasively, or so succinctly.
The clip for “Love Song For Buddy” is refreshingly direct, too. It’s an animated video, but the cartoon characters don’t lessen the impact of the narrative — not when they’re drawn with such empathy. The protagonist of the clip is a childlike circular figure. He sees a beloved elder tumble from his chair and collapse on the ground; the paramedics arrive, but it’s too late. The grief of these animated characters is palpable — not just in the tears they shed, but in the simple sadness of their gestures. There’s no miracle resurrection waiting, either: instead, the child wraps himself in his grandfather’s sweater, and sinks into the couch, lost and alone. Strikingly, all of the characters’ eyes are marked with Xs — the traditional cartoon sign of death. It’s a stark, poetic reminder that life is short and that we’re all marked, and that we must make our connections with those we love while we’re still here.
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For info about Headlights’ “Cherry Tulips” video, click HERE
For info about Headlights’ “TV” video, click HERE