Just like everything else frontman Awsten Knight directs, this video is delightfully weird in the best way.
“I just cried into a shirt I could never afford last year” are extremely telling words about fame. This entire song, actually, showcases that “Lowkey as Hell” mentality where maybe you have a lot, but there’s also a lot that you miss. Awsten directed this new video, and spontaneously released this first new taste of the yet-to-be-named album era recently. With this new video premiere having dropped this morning, parxies (the name for Waterparks fans) all over the globe are, well, high-key and low-key freaking out.
As the last concert I got to see last November before the pandemic hit, I’m glad to see Waterparks are continuing to produce thoughtful and entertaining music. In the midst of uncertainty, distractions like this really help. This video and concept speaks to a large quantity of people, in all walks of life.
Although I personally have never really understood or particularly liked the phrase “lowkey as hell”, I’ve heard it plenty of times before. The general understanding is that it refers to a slang sort of vibe indicative of comme çi, comme ça (“like this, like that” in French when asked “how are you”).
The video takes this general concept and brings it to a place of greater depth. Well, as much depth as can be gleaned from the shrunken band members chilling in an Alice in Wonderland garden, and then being dropped inside a flowerpot by a giant woman. From there, they somehow escape the flowerpot and walk down the street. In what I like to call goth Santa Claus costumes, drummer and guitarist Otto and Geoff respectively kick and punch random people walking near Awsten. The deeper meaning behind this might be how Awsten depends on his friends to protect him even from things happening (quite literally) behind his back.
Electrified guitars and techno-laced effects weave in and out of the almost-rapped lyrics. It’s poppy and tense, but so deep. My favorite lyrics are probably “I want cool shirts / I like cold rings / I want a big house but I’m hiding”, as they’re a thematic parallel to the lyrics in “Watch What Happens Next” (“I like cool shirts / I like cold rings / I want a big house / I want nice things”).
Additionally, I couldn’t help but wonder if the wall of flowers behind the band that opens up the video might have been a parallel to the flowers that explode out of the closet door in the “Not Warriors” music video.
The setting for this video is an almost-animated suburban neighborhood that seems bright and cheery, but also a bit dark. Like the utopian street of Edward Scissorhands or those creepy Dr. Seuss adaptations, this video showcases an idyllic place that is actually quite off-putting. In the literal sense, it’s an interesting commentary about fame and the way life can still be really difficult and isolating, even in the light of success. Even Knight’s hair seems to mirror this, as it’s multi-colored and frenzied (just like the rest of this video).
What Awsten seems to be commenting on the most, is the inescapable feeling of guilt he may be experiencing due to having obtained success – but then also feeling frustrating with the exhausting and isolating effects of it. Maybe he even feels a bit aggressive about cruel criticisms and judgements of his creative license. That could be why there’s also spontaneous violence in this video (nothing graphic though, it’s more slapstick). I guess it’s lonely at the top, swinging in the pink skies amidst the cotton candy clouds.
Watch the bizarre yet aesthetically-pleasing concept video for “Lowkey as Hell” HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3LjwKVgX3I