Relationships are hard. But what's even harder is pretending that you're happy, in order to save face, when behind closed doors you can't even look your partner in the eye. Despite how bad a relationship might be, some still have a hard time leaving, not wanting to envision life without the person that they've created their life with. Ben Kessler and Lizzy McAlpine delve into what an unhealthy relationship looks like from the inside, when what the rest of the world sees is a perfect couple, in their new video for "False Art."
Kessler and McAlpine transport their audience to live action picture frames. The video seems to be bordered in order to give the effect that each shot is a framed picture hanging on the wall, that has come to life. During the first verse, Kessler is the only one moving as he sings his side of the story, "And when I'm wide awake, it takes all of my energy / To tell our friends we've never been this happy." Simultaneously, McAlpine is frozen in time with a stoic expression on her face. As we reach the chorus, she comes to life, but only for a moment as she tosses a glass of water in his face, throws popcorn in his lap, and smacks a cake against his chest, as he sings about how he doesn't want to fake being happy anymore. Listeners are taken on this journey right along side them as we see the pair transition from faking their happiness, to putting action behind their feelings.
During the second verse we hear McAlpine uncover her side of the story, while Kessler remans still. The contrast between her delicate vocals and the heaviness of the lyrics as the song continues, speaks to just how fragile the relationship really is, as she sings, "The glass house will come down / Just waiting to hear that crashing sound / Waiting for the right words to tell you how." The roles then become reversed as Kessler comes to life, tossing a pillow and napkin at her, and smashing cake into her hair.
It's during the second chorus that the two come together to say what they've both been feeling. Kessler explains, "'False Art' is about the kind of relationship where you put up a facade to cover up how bad the relationship truly is." It's during the final chorus that the audience gets to see that neither Kessler or McAlpine wanted to hurt the other as they clean up the mess they've made, with some of the scenes even playing in reverse in order to go back in time. The pair exemplify that even though it can be hard to walk away, it's better than staying to fake a love that is no longer there.