Of Monsters and Men’s “Empire” Showcases Emotionally-Satisfying Video

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Deciphering anything Of Monsters and Men does can be an uphill battle. A quick glance at the YouTube comments on their newest video will attest to that. The video for “Empire” off of their newest release, Beneath the Skin, tells the story of an androgynous, tuxedo-wearing female outsider. The protagonist silently watches a party from the outskirts and falls into a tryst with the older woman who appears to be at the center of the action.

If nothing else, this is a spectacularly made music video, from the cliché-in-certain-contexts-but-not-in-this-case choice of black and white to the stunning cinematography, with examples of well-framed shots at 3:16, 3:36, 3:55 and 4:19. Director Tabitha Denholm is not new to the game and it shows. Denholm previously made videos featuring strong female characters for artists like Florence and the Machine and Jessie J.

Denholm claims the story she is telling is one of forbidden love, but her work suggests more than a simple girl-meets-girl affair. The young woman and the old woman are one and the same, the latter just a projection of the former’s hopes and dreams, which are prevented from coming to fruition by her own introversion. The opening lyrics talk of “feel[ing] the ocean as it breathes,” and “shivering teeth.” This speaks succinctly and effectively to our protagonist’s journey and her desire to finally have those extroverted experiences that she’s been avoiding, despite her tentativeness.

So, while a music video that’s difficult to interpret isn’t always a good thing, in Of Monsters and Men’s case, it only means that there is more than one interpretation.

Interpret for yourself- watch the video below and tell us what you think!

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