Britain’s premiere prince of carte blanche soul – Will Young – consistently delivers with his music videos.
‘Jealousy’ – produced by Richard X – is the first single from his forthcoming studio album Echoes and while there’s all this buzz about Will sashaying into the dance music realm, the evolution here has been subtle and respectful of his style. ‘Jealousy’ recalls the charmingly bittersweet nature of the best Will Young tracks with the added allure of phosphorescent dance beats. In other words, it’s a genius synergy we can all get behind and I’m instantly shortlisting it for single of the year.
The spunky Pop Idol winner is known for his quirky and cinematically inspired music videos [check: pregnant Will in ‘Hopes & Fears’]. Here the inspiration is taken from the 1950s film Trapeze, featuring a smouldering love triangle situation, and because he’s not one to typically play it safe in his videos – the man is about to let you have it with some figure-hugging lycra action. That’s bravery right there.
Here are three thoughts I have about the ‘Jealousy’ video:
1) Lycra and body talk.
The white lycra body suit isn’t everyone’s best friend but what’s refreshing about Will, as not just a young male pop star but also an openly gay man, is his ability to give fuck all about bowing to photoshopped ideals of what we should look like. He is not the buffest, tannest or most stylised male pop star in the game and he doesn’t have to be. He will rock that lycra outfit with every inch of realness he was born to deliver and that is just what I want to see. I want to see a man who’s comfortable enough with his figure to know that if he has to show skin or wearing a figure-hugging outfit in a video, it doesn’t have to be sexualised exhibition. You know what I mean? It’s saying, ‘this is my body. I care for it to the best I can but I’m not in the business of looking a certain way and using my body in a certain way to grab your attention.’
On a side bar praise, I think Will has consistently made music and videos that are heartfelt, authentic and thought-provoking without being provocative. You know, some artists live for the drama while others have a different but equally effective means of making a statement.
2) Mirror, mirror.
It’s kinda like that freaky moment in Black Swan where you realise the mirror reflection isn’t really reflecting the actions of the subject facing it.
3) The love triangle.
On the surface, the love triangle theme fits in nicely with the song but as with all good video narratives, there’s always a little more it. When you’re swinging mid air in a trapeze performance like this, you really gotta trust in your partner (and team) to know that they got you. It’s about team work and putting your faith in others [Editor’s note: Dick Grayson taught us that much from the Batman movies], which can be a scary thing. Notice the shots of Will hanging on a ladder by himself and being a figure of solitude around a team linking arms and taking a leap of faith together. Perhaps, the idea here isn’t so much that he’s jealous of the chemistry between the male and female trapezist but rather of their ability to trust others.
Will Young will release ‘Jealousy’ on 21 August in the UK, a day before the album Echoes arrives.