11 September 2016 | Rodrigo_Amaro
A genuine and pure classic
A pavement. Shoes walking. Distant sound of violins in the background. They stop. The camera pans back and Richard Ashcroft appears. A certain hesitation from the man but the music continues. He walks, the music goes louder, with power, the most elegant and harmonic sound you hear, drums showing that this is not a classical piece. The long walk begins...and that's "The Verve: Bitter Sweet Symphony", first single of the successful "Urban Hymns", the song that brought them to a wider audience back in 1997. One of those songs most folks remember the sound but not the name. To me, it's just one of those musical explosions that happen once or twice a year (lately), an eruption of the senses that never fades away. Every time I hear it, it feels like the very first time. And the video? Pure magic despite the lack of special effects, "story" and all that appeal most videos tend to bring against one another.
With apathy and some perseverance, he goes and make his way. Striving through the crowd, just simply strolling his way to somewhere, the lead singer of The Verve goes out, causes some disturbance with the strangers he meet but nothing affects him while he does this long walk lip-synching the song. Minor altering on the way, from most of his stroll he bumps into people, shoulders hitting other passers, at times they don't care and other times they look back and don't understand what happened; one woman even lost her balance and hit the ground; Ashcroft even jumps a car to continue his path to later on be confronted by the angry female driver who purses him, on foot, to spew angry words we (and Richard) cannot hear...and the song continues, powerful lyrics all the way. "No change, I can change, I can change but I am here in my mold".
Pretty much like "Radiohead - Karma Police" (albums and songs released the same year by both Brit pop scene), the video takes simple unaffected imagery to create deeper and somewhat mindblowing reflections to show a portion of what life is all about. You may want to ask me, what was Richard's goal in the video? Not gonna tell. But let's just say that it fits the whole idea, the whole walking and was worth seeing it despite being obvious.
A true classic of the 1990's that holds importance today. A breath of fresh air amidst the pollution, the filth (both sonorous and visual) and lack of simple themes that came after this masterpiece. All those words are not an overstatement. I dare you to pick a music channel, watch the first clip from the moment and try to write or just gather some thought on why it works, why it holds relevance and in lesser degree...why you like it. To me, "The Verve" clip is one of those unforgettable images of the era, something that won't be washed away easily from my past, both visual and musical; and despite a certain pessimism from the song (I might be wrong) though revealing life as it is with no hidden meanings or anything, but the imagery feels positive in an awkward way. Character has a goal, goes through some unorthodox methods to reach it, bothers a lot of people on the way but conquers it. Those were cinematic terms to all that has been launched to me. Yep, one day I dare to go through a crowd like Ashcroft does in here. Heck, the very first contact with internet I had was with this song!!!
Inspiring and iconic in all possible ways, this has everything you need to hear and see from The Verve - of course, they have better songs, Rick is a genius, also with an outstanding solo career. As for the band, has to be their finest video moment along with "Lucky Man" (that gorgeous morning sun!). Thank you Walter A. Stern for making this amazing video. 10/10