The much anticipated official video for ‘Bear,’ a powerful track off of Hospice, a record that has caused quite the incredible commotion beneath the floor boards of the music scene for much of 2009 – skyrocketing The Antlers to the forefront of SXSW and the indie music world, has officially been released and can be streamed on Pitchfork – or below, or both – whatever works best!
On the surface, ‘Bear’ seems to follow a couples’ struggle and the toll that it takes on their relationship; old enough to make their own decisions but not to deal with the consequences, the process of a blossoming romance coming to a halt, lovers becoming a strangers within an instant and how to deal when you find yourself isolated and detached from a world that has now become foreign to you.
However, the video depicts the song through a different view point. First off, the video takes place in a forest during the dead of winter – a sure way to call my attention! The woman in this video is wheeling a barrow which is carrying something extremely heavy and throughout her path, she struggles. The men of The Antlers (who are looking quite sharp, might I add) witness her stumbling and race to come to her aid but are too late, for the gigantic black weight taking its toll on her frame has fallen from the barrow, onto a rock and cracked, exposing a black ooze, left dripping against the Earth’s mass. The woman is not freed however, for Silberman helps to lift the mass and places it back where it has fallen from and the woman continues on her journey towards wherever she was going while the band remains and looks on.
Perhaps, that black ooze is meant to represent the cancerous mass that seems to plague Hospice’s heroine throughout the entirety of the album and although the narrator can exert himself and do his best to help her cope, he can never free her from the looming weight that she is cursed to carry, all on her own?
I suppose under whatever specificity of terms you interpret the meaning of this song to be, the one thing which it calls to mind is the idea of an unexpected and haunting burden, the desire to be freed from it, but the reality of our human wants being too weak to overcome the inevitable plans of fate.
P.S. On a more personal note, the Sheep went out to graze almost two days ago and has not been back since. She left all of her belongings, including her favorite bag of citrus treats and her neon yellowish-orange headband at the barn, which leaves me with hope that she has not gone too far. If you happen to see her out there though, mistaking orange trees and sunny beaches for farmland and prairie fields – just put a leash on her and guide her home. Thanks!