What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with Cadenza, a beautiful song about a breakup? People in relationships will cherish what they have, and the single ones will be glad they don’t have to deal with a headache.
Cadenza is performed and written by Sonny Zero, hevel, and DASU. It is the second track of their EP Places We Knew released two weeks ago. The song expresses so well that moment when you are fed up with your partner’s behavior, and there are more lows than highs, and you hardly remember the time when you were happy together. The storytelling is full of details that make the song even more relatable.
Cadenza‘s music video not only brings a visual to the song but also tells its own story, as if the music, the lyrics, and the music video each have something to say about the failure of this relationship. We often say that there are two sides to every story, but with Cadenza, there are three. Let’s see what the music video has to say!
Music video director: ARCHIVE
Creative director: DUCHAMPS
Color: NOISY MIND
When A Relationship Is Coming To An End
In music, the cadenza is often an improvised section played or sung by a solist who can thus express himself more freely. The cadenza usually occurs near the end of a piece. It is an ornamental passage (in Italian “cadenza fiorita” litteraly meaning “flowery cadence”), which means that it emphasizes the dominant feeling of the final without being essential to the piece.
What do the song and the cadenza have in common? First, both signal that the end is near (the end of a piece and the end of a relationship). Then, as I said before, a cadenza is performed by one person; it is the moment when an artist can give free rein to his creativity. The same goes for the boyfriend in the music video who releases all the anger and frustration that were silently waiting to be unveiled. However, the song takes the point of view of the person being yelled at:
Go ahead and tell me that u hate me and the shit I’ve been making isn’t that
Finally, the cadenza is described as a “cadenza fiorita”, which is why the music video features several flower motifs.
Flowers can express love and passion but also something broken that cannot be fixed. The floral tablecloth hanging on the wall seems to be a decoration that hides something, perhaps a crack in the wall; liquor bottles are spilled on the table, but there’s also one bottle with a flower. Placing blooming flowers amid this toxic environment is a way to represent how the couple keeps denying the severity of their problems.
Sometimes there is a contrast between what we hear and what is shown on the screen. For example, we hear:
A couple of nasty messages
We be saying what we don’t mean
As they cross the tracks dancing hand in hand.
By the time I’m out the door our stories’ over
As they leave a store holding hands and with a smile on their face.
I can’t see the path no more
While a few shots later, we see the couple running down the street hand in hand.
During their happy days, we see the boyfriend steal money from a diner and a checked shirt from a store, which indicates he would do anything for her. But what seemed cute at the beginning of their relationship became a source of conflict.
I trynna get us a bag
so you don’t work hours
U don’t appreciate that
so we get mean
Linking the past and the present emphasizes the degradation of their relationship. We see how happy they used to be, and we hear how their relationship is falling apart.
There are two chapters in the music video:
- Places We Knew (which is also the name of their EP),
- and A YEAR LATER.
Both parts use a yellow tint, which tends to blur the line between past and present. However, the yellow color does not have the same meaning in each timeline.
In the chapter Place We Knew and the scenes related to their past, the yellow tint symbolizes an idyllic time. It evokes warmth, sunset, and sunrise, while it expresses madness or nostalgia in the present.
Inside the diner, it is not clear whether it is day or night. The same light is used when the couple runs away during daylight and when the boyfriend goes back home at night.
The diner place seems timeless. It is almost like the robbery didn’t happen a year ago. The name of the restaurant (Paradise DINER) also evokes being in a place disconnected from the world. When people are in love, they are in their bubble (at least before things get tough). This bubble is an illusion of perfection (hence the name “paradise”), but we’ll get to that later.
Reflexion & Introspection
The music video begins and ends with a cover of Let Down by Radiohead:
One day I am gonna grow wings
A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Motorways and tramlines
Starting off and stopping
Taking off and landing
Emptiest of feelings
Clinging onto bottles
When it comes it’s so [disappointing]
The song has different meanings depending on the listener’s life experience. To me, it’s about someone reflecting on his failures and disappointments and how meaningless life can be. In the music video, close-ups suggest a simlar closeness with the characters, and colors symbolize their different states of mind.
There is a change in the screen format when the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen slowly disappear, suggesting that this is no longer a third-person narrative but that we are diving into the boyfriend’s thoughts.
This sequence is interesting because it takes place between the moment he gets behind the wheel and the one he seems lost in thought at the restaurant. It is not an ellipsis because there is no time jump. Instead of showing us the ride to the dinner, the director chose to reveal what the boyfriend was thinking about when he was driving.
When we remember the past, it becomes a current event in our minds. We feel sad when we think about a sad event. We see a similar phenomenon in the memory of the karaoke room where the couple seems very happy, and there is a succession of lights of different colors that symbolize various postive emotions such as:
- harmony and complicity (green),
- intense love and passion (red),
- passion and sexual desire (purple).
The succession of close-ups on Timafey’s face also represent the emotional stages he went through. He shows several facial expressions. He is crazy, angry, happy, teasing, and everything in between. The extreme close-up on his eyes emphasizes his introspection.
Internalizing Behavior & Bottle Of Cadenza
Emptiest of feelings
Clinging onto bottles
Radiohead, Let Down
The two characters take refuge in alcohol, but only the girlfriend shows signs of addiction. Unlike her boyfriend, she never loses her temper. She drinks in silence and rarely lets go of her bottle of Cadenza.
The music video doesn’t tell us why she drinks so much. However, I have two theories:
- the first one is that she was feeling down and depressed before she met her boyfriend;
- the second one is that she didn’t feel good about her relationship for some reason but never addressed the issue.
Sometimes when we are struggling with depression or going through rough times, it is hard to fully commit to a relationship. We may find happiness in a relationship, but the pain never really goes away. That’s why in the chapter “Places We Knew” presented as a time of happiness, she puts the bottle down only for a moment and then picks it up again.
The only times we see her without the Cadenza drink is when she is experiencing an intense feeling, such as the thrill of robbing the diner or walking through the tracks knowing that a train could come at any moment. She needs to feel something strong to forget her pain. But her boyfriend can’t take it anymore, hence the fight in the car.
The bottle of Cadenza is just a way to drown her sorrows.
When the boyfriend puts ketchup in his cup and stirs the water with his finger to dilute the sauce, it reminds me of the girlfriend drowning herself in alcohol. She is bleeding inside but tries to weaken her pain with alcohol.
We can see from the start that the couple has some communication issues. The dialogues are in French, English, and an unidentified language, which is not German. They keep asking, “How are you?” but neither of them answers the question:
Boyfriend: How are you?
Girlfriend: Comment tu vas?
Boyfriend: Comment tu vas?
Boyfriend: How are you?
Girlfriend: Je suis contente de te voir [ =I’m happy to see you].
The lyrics also address these communication issues:
- Don’t start a fight if ur gonna ignore me
- I get it ur ignoring me whenever u picking up
The boyfriend looks at himself in front of the mirror twice; it may suggest a narcissistic tendency which would explain why he doesn’t notice that his girlfriend is in pain and why she doesn’t open herself to him. On the contrary, the girlfriend often looks away; she constantly avoids conflict.
The car refuses to move when the boyfriend wants to leave everything behind, including her girlfriend who is sitting unconscious. He then finds a bottle of Cadenza on the pedals. The bottle of Cadenza symbolizes his girlfriend’s pain, but in his hands, it may represent his guilt.
The first time I watched the music video of Cadenza, I watched it as a tourist. I was like, “Okay, I like the song; let me see the music video.” But the visuals are so beautiful, and the poetic subtlety of some details seduced me. I had to write something about it. This review is based on my visual experience. Feel free to share yours. Happy Valentine’s Day! 🌹💘🌹
Want to know more about hevel:
– Spotify: hevel
– SoundCloud: hevel
– Instagram: @hevvvel
– Twitter: @80proofgirl
Want to know more about Sonny Zero:
– Spotify: Sonny Zero
– SoundCloud: Sonny Zero
– Instagram: @sonny_zero
– Twitter: @sonny_zero
Want to know more about DASU:
– Spotify: DASU
– SoundCloud: DASU
– Instagram: @wellmadedasu