Thursday, August 20, 2015

Music Video Interpretation: Be Your Everything - Boys Like Girls

Towards the beginning of my blog’s history, I began to offer interpretations to music videos. I completed two: “Blurred Lines” and “Clarity”. My goal has been to do this third installment, but it has been continuously sidetracked – until now, that is.
Boys Like Girls has been a rising band, and there is probably not a better song of theirs than “Be Your Everything”. (Here is a lyric video link: the song isn’t hard to understand though.) The song is good in and of itself, but the music video really puts a unique spin on it. (And the music video:
Let’s set the stage. You have to pay attention to the background settings to realize exactly what is going on. It took me a few times, but the song is so much richer with it. The couple, the only two people in the video besides the other members of Boys Like Girls, are separated in a post-apocalyptic area. It looks like a nuclear warhead has been detonated, or some other war has decimated their unknown location. We see a ravaged ghost town and its outskirts with destroyed automobiles. Everything is grayscale, dusty, and hazy.
The song starts within ten seconds. First seen is Martin Johnson, the lead vocalist of BLG. He, in tattered, dirty clothes, walks through the smoky wilderness outside the town. Low plant growth (the first vegetation to grow after an environmental disaster) and dust cover the ground.
“Four letter word, but I don’t have the guts to say it.” An assumed reference to love. “Smile ‘til it hurts, but let’s not make it complicated.” So often there are subtle hints dropped instead of legitimate feelings shared. This leads to overanalyzing situations when it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Now the female side of this friendship comes briefly into view. Actress Allie Gonino plays this role. (For a former Disney actress she is quite attractive, but that is beside the point.) She too wears a rag-tag outfit, as well as a head covering.
“We’ve got a story, but I’m about to change the ending. You’re perfect for me, and more than just a friend so we can just stop pretending now, I gotta let you know somehow.” It is soon clear that these two are well-acquainted with each other. But Johnson’s character wants to make an alteration to the friendship; that is, more than friends. Both are traveling, but it is unclear how much distance separates them, until they both go past the same cross not too far apart in time. We also don’t know what else separates them. Notice Johnson looking at pictures, doubtless of the two of them (and they’re Polaroid). He then puts them in his vest. He just has to let her know how he feels, somehow.
The band is seen in contrasting color. The chorus comes and offers contrasting views that speak for themselves, and to the name of the song: “I’ll be your shelter; I’ll be your storm. I’ll make you shiver; I’ll keep you warm. Whatever weather, baby I’m yours. Be your forever, be your fling, baby I will be your everything.” And then to the “baby I wi-ill, baby I will, baby I wi-ill be your everything.”
During the first chorus, Gonino walks a lonely path while Johnson rides a motorcycle. The motorcycle is the one working vehicle of transportation, as the two pass ruined cars, busses, and even a helicopter. Eventually Johnson gets off the motorcycle and kneels down. Again he is seen looking at the photos.
It gets better. “We used to say that we would always stick together.” Again, a reference to a long friendship. During this line, Gonino walks into an old dusty school bus and runs her hands across the seats as if she is reminiscing. The symbolism to their school days is obvious and beautiful. “But who’s to say that we could never last forever.” While Johnson gets back on the motorcycle, Ganino places her head on a seat of the bus and has a distant look. “Girl, got a question, ‘Could you see yourself with somebody else?’” They are close friends, who else could she see herself with besides him? (That, and there is less to choose from after whatever disaster has happened – but let’s not ruin the romance.) He arrives into the desolate town while she continues to reminisce in the bus. She is warming up to the idea of them being together. “’Cause I’m on a mission…” As he continues to walk through the town, she too arrives there. “…And I don’t wanna share, I want you all to myself right now. I just wanna scream it out!”
As the chorus comes back in, the coloration is becoming a bit lighter. Johnson continues to walk through the town while Gonino stands against a building, still deep in thought. He seems quite upbeat as he strolls along, even pulling at things, while she seems quite reflective.
Then the bridge. “No matter what you do, yeah…” Johnson grows in energy, pacing around and pulling at things more fiercely. Gonino, for lack of a better term, finds herself in front of a heap of trash. “…Girl I’ll be there for you!” Johnson and lead guitarist/backup vocalist Paul DiGiovanni share a moment at the microphone apart from the story line. Gonino bends down next to the trash pile. Johnson again looks at the Polaroid pictures. “And every time you close your eyes…” The action continues to accelerate. Gonino hastily digs through the pile of trash. Johnson walks up to a shrine-esque display he has set up, complete with candles and cloth. “…I will be by your side!” Gonino digs through the pile even quicker. Johnson picks up a picture of Gonino that is the centerpiece of his 'shrine'. “’Cause every time you make me sing, ‘Baby I wi-ill be your everything.” Other than a brief shot of Johnson looking up from the photo, the focus is on Gonino for these lines. She continues to dig until she is down to a few plastic bottles. She finds something as the song transitions into the final chorus, quieter with less instrumentals. Gonino places her hand over her heart out of shock as memories flood back.
Johnson walks through the town reminiscing. It is now apparent what Gonino has found. It is a flower, seemingly insignificant but of great symbolism. It brings color to a fairly dull background. It shows that something could bloom in this environment. And just as a flower bloomed in this decimated world, so too can their love. She gathers it into an old glass jar.
The second half of the chorus picks back up from the contrasting lull in the song with an awesome quick turn-around by Johnson (apart from the story line). This focuses a lot on the band itself. But by the beginning of “baby I wi-ill…”, both sides of this soon-to-be-more-than-friendship are seen. They make eye contact, with serene, unsurprised faces. Johnson seems eager while Gonino is more solemn. They both knew it was coming, and it is right.
“Baby I, baby I will – I’ll be your storm! Baby I will, yeah!” The song wraps up as the two meet. Behind them, trash rains down, the new confetti in this world. Things begin to get lighter as Gonino takes off her head covering. The two just look at each other, Gonino with an understanding half-smile. (He’s out of the friend zone!) They realize they both share feelings for each other, and are ready to take their friendship further.
“Baby I will be your everything.”

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