“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”
Within each person exists the potential for great light and great darkness. This duality of dark/light (a slightly less judgemental derivative of good versus evil) has been explored by artists since the beginning of time and remains a fascination to many. It’s a dichotomy that is explored everyday in music, in television, in film and in literature. Where balance is always the goal when light and dark collide, imbalance tends to be it’s nature which sets up the idea of an ongoing internal power struggle.
With Adam Lambert’s latest music video for “Better Than I Know Myself”, the gorgeous lead single from his upcoming 2012 album: “Trespassing”, he and director Ray Kay explore this eternal inner struggle that in some capacity we all face everyday.
We start out with a leather-clad Adam, his trademark guyliner and endlessly flawless hair completely in check. (P.S. I’m SO jealous of that hair!) He seems to be sporting some strange yellow (hazel-esque?) contact lenses and a cold/blue filter on the footage really plays with complimentary colors to make those eyes pop.
The “dark” Adam is self-destructive, hot-headed and defiant. He seems like he feels trapped inside this space and in feeling smothered he lashes out. Dark Adam does some bad-ass things, like consume tequila (right out of the bottle), dump said tequila out on the floor, tear up books, plays with fire and most disturbingly – slaughters the world’s most delicious fruit: the pomegranate, with his bare hands.
We’re also introduced to light Adam, who seems to represent the image that Adam has been putting forth in this album campaign in many ways. He is a more down to earth, confident and balanced Adam who seems more than happy to be within his space (and his own skin) than his dark counterpart. It is certainly a little more “homey”. The “light” space is warm with gold and yellow tones (again complimentary to how the dark side is represented). There is sunlight and it seems that light Adam may have a green thumb. His eyes here, are blue as Lambert’s are naturally.
Light Adam does very calming and responsible things like yoga, some light sweeping and steeping some delicious (probably herbal) tea. He does, however, seem to have some concerns about air quality and has some high tech ventilation monitoring system in place. We also see these tanks in the dark Adam’s room and realize that they share the same oxygen.
With all this talk of “sides” it is important to note that for much of the video, we have a split screen. On the left hand side, the dark Adam and on the right, the light! I find the arrangement interesting when considering political standpoints and traditional stereotypes of what it’s like to be a “left” thinker versus being “right”. At first I think this is a coincidence, but I truly believe that nothing in this video is coincidence.
The two Adams exist side by side, confined to their own spaces (there are no doors) but able to interact with eachother through a window. They seem to resent eachother as each watches the other with a certain disdain.
It becomes clear that we’re looking inside of Adam’s mind. The video serves as a visual representation of the ongoing struggle within as the dark Adam goes too far and lights a chair on fire in his chamber; because the two share the oxygen this action symbolizes an act of self-violence; a breaking point. As the oxygen is burned up by the fire, the light Adam collapses.
Wikipedia notes “Yin yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.” This video is about recognizing that your dark and light – like yin and yang – should not be opposing forces. As Gaga tried to get across in “Marry The Night”, true balance is attained when the light “marries” the dark. The triumph here is that dark Adam sees that he is harming the yin to his yang and we see him break the glass that seperates the two sides indicating that he’s had what Oprah would call an “aha!” moment and he’s decided to marry his own dark and light to truly attain the balance we all seek. He reaches through the broken glass and places his hand on his light’s shoulder and the shot fades to black.
In the end we see Adam walking down a street towards us as a single whole. As he gets closer, we see that one eye is blue and the other hazel/yellow, symbolizing his two sides combined.
Interestingly, the sides are inverted from the viewer’s perspective. This could be for one of two reasons: a.) simple physicality: where the left was blue internally (from Adam’s perspective in the fantasy scenario), in the end shot Adam’s left eye is physically on our right and vice versa, hence the “switch” or b.) it signifies that both sides have reached a compromise and was intended to be noticed and not just a sign of the fact that I’m analyzing this FAR too much!
“Better Than I Know Myself” is pure Pop Heaven. The best video of Lambert’s career to date and one of the best so far in 2012!