Visuals paired with music work best when the imagery complements the tone of a song. In the video for “Afraid,”off of the Neighbourhood’s I Love You, these visuals work with the song lyrics to create a sense of paranoia and discomfort.
The aptly named “Afraid” opens with a “viewer discretion advised” warning and delves straight into disorienting images superimposed on a blinking eye. The stark, black-and-white backdrop enhances the sense of dread in the lyrics, which focus on a fear of the meaningless and a lack of personal identity. The nudity of the band also helps to demonstrate the vulnerability that the song invokes.
The slowed-down video also features jarring jump-cuts designed to invoke a trippy sensation, leaving the viewer with a visual hangover. The result — a druggy atmosphere — is exaggerated by the slowed down transition toward the end of the song, with a shift in tone to create a hazy, purple ambience. This splash of color is darkly appropriate to the thematic content of the Neighbourhood’s single, which stands by itself as a top-notch recording.
“Afraid” also appears to appropriate images from Christopher Nolan’s excellent “Memento,” which itself explores themes of hopelessness and paranoia, and this enhances the power of the song’s visual representation. “Afraid” is ultimately an enjoyable visual experience emblematic of the typical Neighbourhood experience: bleak, but catchy.