An interpretation of Vancouver China’s new single and music video
From occupying the guise of a lifeless masked figure to exuberant, care-free dancing in a green wig, Vancouver China balances heavy weighted introspection with care free relief in his new single and music video “All Time”.
I first listened to “All Time” without the video and was struck by its inventive production. The song comes across as pristine, while simultaneously sounding textured. Dreamy synths are met with off-kilter beats and a hypnotic vocal performance, alongside lyrics that speak to a conflict that may not have a resolution.
And then that bass line kicks in.
It really anchors the chorus, striking me as something that would be heard on a Tame Impala record and I was happy to see he included two of their songs on a playlist of his influences for writing “All Time”. I have to admit it’s hard to understand every lyric that’s said in the chorus. Even so, it hooks me in every time.
The music video shares a sort of “Eternal Sunshine” kind of vibe that his previous video for “Maybe It’s For the Best” had, in which hypnotic and often misleading visuals create more questions than answers. What separates “All Time” from his previous effort is the fact that there were some truly alleviating moments to counteract the darker ones, like unapologetic dancings and standing around a bonfire with friends. Even as “All Time” occupies an unsettling and confusing space, moments like these make it enjoyable as the video doesn’t take itself too seriously.
If I can’t be free, and you hide beneath, and I can’t be me, why would you build me up?
It wasn’t until I watched the music video that I felt like I could get a grasp on the meaning of the song. Listening to the music on its own had me thinking the lyrics were directed from one person to another, but the video has me feeling that the song is much more introspective.
Both the video and cover art for “All Time” feature Vancouver China dawned in a black domino mask with streams of cloth covering his face.
With this context, I think the song reveals itself in the end as a reflection of inner conflict when Vancouver China masterfully combines the pre-chorus and chorus melodies into one, call and response section, creating a dialogue between two halves of the same character.
This was a challenging song/video to write about. There are no clear answers here.
But thats okay, because the one thing I can say for certain is that Vancouver China has written a banger of a tune here. The production and performances are top notch. The song writing is inventive, and if you want to think about it on a deeper level, the video presents you with every opportunity to do so.
On the other hand, if you just need a catchy song to make you feel better, “All Time” is the perfect song for that as well.