Video Review: The 1975 “Somebody Else”

In black-and-white, Matthew Healy opens the door to his house, wearing clown makeup. The audience claps. Some people laugh when he takes off his hat. They “wooo” when he takes off his shirt.

After missing the coat hanger, he lets it drop on the floor and he gets his suitcase. At the sink, he puts water on his face, removing the makeup. He wipes his face off with a towel. The audience laughs and then claps as he stares at himself. He grabs his suitcase and sits down next to his mute girlfriend on the couch, who refuses to look up. He opnes his suitcase and puts on a shirt, which causes the audience to clap. He puts his hair up in a bun while the phone rings.  Some people “boo” when he puts shoes in his suitcase. Then they laugh. He looks at her again and then closes his suitcase. He leaves the couch, looks at himself in the mirror again and then opens the door. The audience cheers him when he leaves.

In color, he walks down a kelly green lit fire escape. He counts, using his fingers, as stands in room. Forlorn, he looks at himself before he leaves.

As he walks down an ocean blue lit hallway, he puts his skateboard behind his head. He sobs in the corner. Lit in a neon admiral blue, he sits in his car. He brushes his hair back as he walks through a storage area.

On the street, lighting strikes as he holds his skateboard. He then skateboards and then falls on the ground.

Sitting in a diner, he tears apart a piece of bread, tears stinging his eyes. He puts the packet of sugar to his forehead and fills his coffee with it. A woman watches him, befuddled by what he’s doing. Her boyfriend turns around and tells her not to pay attention. Healy cries.

He stops at a bar and orders two drinks, downing them. Afterwards, he puts on his sunglasses and performs karoake. The people in the back booths whoop and holler. The young woman sitting with him stares at him and smiles. He puts his sunglasses on top of his head and takes in the moment. The group watches him leave. He steals another guy’s pitcher. He comments on how empty it is. The guy shouts at him to knock it off.

He walks back down the street and hears a guy calling out to him. He rolls his eyes and turns around. The guy shoves him while another guy punches him. He sees the young woman smirking at him. He throws his skateboard.

Next, he decides to go to a strip club. There, he examines the damage to his face in the mirror and cleans himself up. He orders another drink at the bar. One of the dancers sits down next to him and gets two drinks. They down shot after shot.

Inside the private room, she gives him a lap dance. Security footage shows them leaving together. He kisses her in the parking structure. He opens his car door and beckons her to join him in the backseat. They have sex.

The video returns the previous scenes. In each one, he views himself as other people see him: pathetic and lost, an easy mark that won’t remember how he got punched in the morning.

Outside, he uses the wall as a punching bag, hitting the board with his fists. He dances in the parking structure alone. He orgasms by himself in the backseat.

Rating: 4/5

The beginning seems like a prologue. However, in its television show format, it doesn’t follow the rest of the storyline in the video. He’s viewed as a good-looking man, with some humorous mannerisms, and noted for his strength when he decides to leave his unresponsive girlfriend.

Then, it’s onto real life. He spends his day crying at a restraurant, getting drunk and then punched. He ends the day by sleeping with a stripper. During the closing, the video questions its own reality, as he is alone in each place. He’s imagining being wanted and adored by people. An awful day for anyone else is a semi-decent one for him.

The second half of the video projects Healy’s isolation as a void he can’t fill. His imagination no longer can provide company for him. He has to create his own reality and force it to happen when he’s out. He is one of those characters who will be found in his apartment dead, a week or so after by a landlord after an another tenant complains about the smell. It’s the inevitable tragic end for him.

Nonetheless, the first half of the video is superflous exposition. The 50s television show atmosphere does offer a glimpse into Healy’s psyche of what he would like his life to be.It clogs the story with far more information than needed. However, the heartbreaking second half is gutting, given he seems like a good person who has been rejected that other people have become paper dolls to him. He has no other choice but to live in his head.

Director: N/A  Year: 2016

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