Enter the realm of James Blake’s mind in ‘Mile High’

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 4:46pm

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As it begins, the music video for James Blake’s “Mile High,” starring Blake and Travis Scott, doesn’t make much sense. The lead single from Blake’s Assume Form is ethereal and dark, but the very beginning of the video provides a stark contrast. Blake is seated by himself in the “Mile High Cafe” and is soon joined by an overly enthusiastic Travis Scott, who begins to question his high-octane lifestyle, ludicrously declaring that he is considering not using a cellphone anymore. As he says all of this, Blake stares at a cup of tea and begins to zone out. The camera position changes from third person to first person, shot through the pupil of James Blake. As the song begins, an image of Blake falling through space is overlaid with a crooning Scott.

The remainder of the video finds the two men firmly planted in Blake’s mind as the camera seemingly floats from Blake to the ether and back to Scott. From this point onward, the video and the song begin to synchronize. By itself, the song details the ponderings of old relationships; however, with the music video, these thoughts seem so much more critical because they take place in the depths of Blake’s mind. Blake and Scott are essentially two parts of Blake’s inner voice, and the music video details the conflict within Blake. Scott embodies the inner voice of Blake that wants to hold on to an old relationship, but as Blake sings, he tries to convince himself that, at this point in his life, it will never last.

As the video comes to a close, James Blake wearily exits the recesses of his thoughts. As he returns to the Mile High Cafe, a concerned Travis Scott attempts to get Blake’s attention — he waves his arms in front of his face and genuinely asks, “(y)ou all right?”