Seattle-based singer, songwriter, and producer Seanu has a voice that makes you want to drive down a highway with your hands out the windows, a bright shock of nearly alabaster hair atop his head, and a playful ease to his music.
If you listen to his released singles ‘Family Time’—out as of June 1—‘Sequoia,’ and ‘Waiting for Fools,’ it would be easy to imagine Seanu as a musical composite of Ansel Elgort and John Mayer. Soothing guitar and playful synthesizers give his music the trademark creativity that has allowed him to create playful, yet imaginatively self-sufficient films with cinematographer Henry Slater.
Though in the music video for his most recent single ‘Family Time,’ there is a marked difference. Both music videos for ‘Sequoia’ and ‘Waiting for Fools’ unravel with the rustic, omniscient camera of a documentary film, catching hidden glimpses of Seanu at his desk working on music or on a commute filled with phone calls and passersby. While Slater, who again acts as cinematographer for Seanu’s third music video, delivers the trademark omniscient view of the singer, the mundane (yet somehow enchanting) performances have been stripped down to a doll-like idea of the singer, reminiscent of Stromae’s ‘Papaoutai’ music video.
The film allows viewers to travel through fragments of a seemingly empty house before breaking to a more familiar scene of Seanu dancing in a neon-lit walkway, over a bridge, down an empty street, before ending in the exact room the video began.
Seanu’s music is strong enough to stand on its own, but his accompanying music videos were always a creative extension, allowing fans to see what he most likely pictured when writing the song. If Seanu imagined a prison-like monochromatic, empty house when writing ‘Family Time,’ it certainly doesn’t show in the song itself.
Whether a metaphor for returning to what built you, or the emptiness of a childhood left behind, the abrupt change in creative direction seemed off; in fact, the part of the video where Seanu is seen dancing and singing in the night felt like a breath of fresh air. Though an empty house, the setting seemed quite suffocating—but not enough to stifle a promising career.
Review by Madison Obermeyer