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Music Video Review

Vancouver China’s visual telling of their new single “Maybe It’s For The Best” is a visceral vortex of love and self reflection.

We see two lovers looking at each other from outside an all brick building with warm light escaping, as if to suggest that this home is a haven from the cold, thick air outside. Within a matter of one frame, everything changes and Tawaine Noah stands by himself within an open space. Already, the window into Tawaine’s visual and auditory spectacle Maybe It’s For The Best, performed under the project Vancouver China, is one that flips everything we know on itself.

“Maybe it’s for the best. We started on shaky ground at best”

A painful sentiment that we have all heard and used as a mode of comfort. As vignettes of a blissful past life play before us, we sense the love that used to be shared between the characters. Moments of hindsight give evidence of the pair’s selfish and distracted behavior through doubled figures, sinking beds, and blurred out backgrounds.

I am a musician and a writer, not a filmmaker. Yet, as an appreciator of storytelling, I marvel at the cohesiveness between the music and the film with this piece. So often music videos are an extension and boost of an artist’s ego or a context to experience music at an arm’s length. Not so with “Maybe It’s For the Best”. The music and visuals work together to manifest an emotional trip that grabs hold of the viewer and won’t let go until the bitter end.

The music is masterfully written and produced. With a run time well under 3 minutes, every beat, modulation, and repeated line is laced with purpose and intent. This is a song worth listening to on its own and is only enhanced by its accompanying film. Vancouver China doesn’t just rest on one aspect of the music. Every part, whether it be the off-beat guitars, pulsing electronic claps, or Tawaine’s shifting vocal tracks, all serve to tell a painful and turbulent story.

I’m trying to make things right. Tell me how you really feel when you say it’s fine.

Tawaine’s home serves as the set, which looks like it could pass as its own floor at the St. Louis City Museum, and creates a backdrop that can only be matched by hallucinogens or meditative memories. Plastic drapes, mosaic shapes, and luminescent shapes surround every move these characters make. They try to make each other feel appreciated and heard, even through their shouting matches. As they run around in circles trying to catch and understand one another, I feel there’s some kind of impending loss waiting them. All this exquisitely captured by Director: Dustie Carter, Director of Photography: Mike Dalton, alongside the entire creative team behind production company Stolen Sun.

In the inside you already know. You already know.

Despite these moments of reflection, whether rooted in logic or longing, we already know where the story ends. Even so, what I find beautiful about this piece is that the journey feels like something I’ve already lived. Maybe, you will feel the same way. I suspect as much because Vancouver China created an experience that is simultaneously unique and universal.

As Tawaine stands alone with nobody to stare back at him, I am left wondering what lies within the brick between the two windows I saw at the beginning of the video. Was it all that played before my eyes? Or, is there more story to be told? While the answer may never be found, Maybe It’s For The Best is a stellar effort in production and composition that is worth watching (and listening) over and over again.

Guitarist (Lumet) and writer based out of St. Louis, MO.

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