Ah, high school dances. Some fondly reminisce "nights to remember" with starry eyes, while others cringe over hellish social scenarios that they would much rather forget. With its video for "Julia (or, 'Holy to the LORD' on the Bells of Horses)," Philly punk outfit mewithoutYou chooses to paint an oppressive, dystopian experience.
Directed by Michael Parks Randa, the video opens with a quote from George Orwell's 1984: "Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." The video then launches into a replica of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance scene from Back to the Future.
"For how heavy the music is, the song has a certain gentleness, so opening with an intimate slow dance felt oddly fitting," vocalist Aaron Weiss tells NPR Music. "As a proof of concept we laid the song over some Enchantment Under the Sea Dance footage from Back to the Future — it worked. And since the lyrics contain an Orwell reference, some dystopian element seemed appropriate. Over time, the 1984 theme grew more prominent, and eventually took a certain precedence."
References to 1984 are made throughout the song's lyrics — which is itself titled after the novel's character Julia — and matching dystopian imagery sinisterly unfurls throughout the visual treatment. "Big Brother wins the day, an old friend joins the Thought Police, and George and Lorraine's bliss becomes Winston and Julia's betrayal, with unfortunate consequences for the house band," Weiss says.
[Untitled] is out now via Run For Cover Records. mewithoutYou is on a U.S. tour right now.