In romantic relationships, there is a fine line between infatuation and love. This isn't to say that the two are mutually exclusive: you can be infatuated with someone and love them, but at the end of the day it's still blind obsession that's only been heightened. In his debut single, "Cold Waters," Hong Kong Boyfriend creates a landscape for himself to discover what the line is for himself, and the emotional spiral that follows.
The video, directed by Aamir Khuller, is a cinematic montage. Following Hong Kong Boyfriend, a couple, and a group of friends, we are able to feel each emotion that is exuded through multiple perspectives. As the song starts with bright synths and breathtaking strings we are introduced to the main couple of the video during a moment of intimacy: lighting the other's cigarette and holding each other closely. As Hong Kong Boyfriend's vocals are introduced, the listener is enveloped in a feeling of anchorage: the desire to hold onto time as it passes. The sorrowful acceptance that the vocal holds carries the song as he sings, "Let’s hold each other’s noses and / See how long it takes to drown / I don’t ever want to come back up." These lyrics speak to unhealthy co-dependency that he seems to be aware of, but doesn't want to put an end to. As he sings "drown" the sentence "Learn To Breathe Deeply" flashes across the screen alluding to emotionally taxing changes that are made to accommodate someone else's needs. The finger-picked acoustic guitar paired with the distorted background vocals sonically produces the feeling of floating under water.
As we reach the chorus Hong Kong Boyfriend becomes introspective. As he sings about feeling submerged in the cold waters, he spirals. He realizes that the feeling of spiraling is similar to that of his relationship. As the second verse starts we see the main couple get into a fight that is accentuated by the use of the song's percussion. The lyrics continue to detail his downward spiral, which is what Hong Kong Boyfriend says the song is ultimately about, “When I was young I met with a girl who played cello and talked a lot more than me. I had a flip phone and a single speed bike. I wouldn’t say we were in love; I would say we were obsessed with each other’s lives.‘Cold Waters’ is a song about spiraling.” During the last chorus the couple makes up, as we are left to grapple with what we're willing to do for love.
We can expect to hear much more from Hong Kong Boyfriend very soon.