The power of some songs to figuratively transport listeners to a different place is one attribute of music that transcends the boundaries of genre. It has remained evident throughout the evolution of melody and tune and is perhaps the main reason for music’s enduring popularity as an entertainment medium. In today’s audio landscape, though, the attention given to easily digestible songs outweighs that afforded to records with any abstract meaning. These superficial records dominate the charts but often lack the qualities which make music a visceral experience. To reveal the cause of their abundance is another discussion, but the main result is that there’s little room left for the consumption or creation of “cinematic” music. The most notable recent attempt at breaking through this cursory noise came from The Weeknd and his album “DawnFM”. His previously acclaimed albums and status as a generational musician bolstered the project’s commercial success, that’s a given. But, aside from any streaming statistics or sales reports, “DawnFM” was one of the most vivid interpretations of a setting we are unfamiliar with and proved music with “transportive” qualities isn’t unusable.
The Weeknd’s not alone, as other artists are attempting to build careers by sharing similarly “cinematic” records. Take the talented subject of this article, Scotty Apex, for example. The singer & songwriter recently released a new single, titled “Supernova”, accompanied by a music video. In addition to showcasing Apex’s talent as a musician, the audio and visual remind us that music can be more than just a catchy tune. It can take listeners to another world and create an unforgettable experience.
The “Supernova” audio is where this experience begins. One of Apex’s frequent collaborators, producer VVDSOUND, provides an immersive composition that allows the singer to approach each line freely. With this flexibility, Apex shines and delivers well-paced melodies throughout. He seamlessly threads spacious layers during the lone verse and under each chorus and bridge, creating a hypnotic listening journey. The record evokes feelings of ambition, demonstrates Apex’s strong songwriting and singing skills, and proves his mastery of the previously mentioned “transportive” audio style.
With the assistance of directors Kye Popham and Zia Kaylan, the “Supernova” music video personifies the ominous spirit first established by the audio. For instance, the video contains no standard performance of lyrics. In a unique creative decision, Apex instead avoids addressing the camera head-on. When his eyes do find the lens, though, he stares into it with an eerie intensity. By limiting his acknowledgment of the camera, each time Apex recognizes its presence becomes much more captivating. Popham and Kaylan also do their part in reinforcing the “transportive” nature of the audio within the music video. Shot entirely on Kodak film, the video shows Apex in striking indoor and outdoor settings. He stumbles and stands under a massive light apparatus in a small white room serving as the indoor backdrop. When outside, Apex is pictured in a desolate landscape dwarfed by large wind turbines, electrical towers, and a surrounding, distant mountain range. It’s a truly otherworldly viewing experience.
In addition to its picturesque imagery, we believe the directors and Apex remain focused on a central concept during the “Supernova” music video. From our perspective, it’s a metaphor for a “bump in the road” in Apex’s life. At first, we watch him regain consciousness after presumably crashing his dirt bike off the road. In our eyes, the bike represents his life, while its crashing refers to a momentary break in focus or passion. We then see him get up and begin to recover, trying to find his way while roaming around the bare countryside. Eventually, he gets on the dirt bike and straps up his helmet, revealing his recuperation. The final frames show him riding the bike back onto a paved road, representing his regained focus and return to pursuing his goals. These specific plot points, coupled with the repetition of lines like “I wanna fly” and “I see the light”, help us form our own understanding of the “Supernova” music video. However, its ambiguity allows for each viewer to have a slightly different interpretation, which we believe to be the intention.
Although the most recent example, “Supernova” isn’t the only illustration of Apex’s capability to create exceptional art. In addition, his last album included the release of nine music videos for each of the nine songs on the project. Like the one for “Supernova”, the “Data Bend” videos enhanced the transportive sonic spirit and presented cinematic feelings that fans of The Weeknd yearn for.
Now, we, unfortunately, can’t force you to press the link to Scotty Apex’s “Supernova” music video, but we hope it’s clear that we strongly encourage it. We’ll continue to watch as he pushes music’s boundaries and, once you’ve taken a look for yourself, expect you’ll do the same. Let us know what you think!