Can exes remain friends? Can all the heartache and residual bitterness evaporate, leaving only sunshine and friendship bracelets in their wake? Well, let’s refer to These Animals‘ new video for their single “Oak” — off of debut album Pages — to un-query that query, shall we?
“The song is about breaking up while trying to remain friends,” singer Greg Baldwin told Hive of the sweetly sad slip of a jam. “There’s also a sense of skepticism about whether or not it would work.”
One of the band’s more personal tracks, “Oak” was written after one of Baldwin’s own romantic relationships fell apart. While the song itself is lazy and dreamy almost — in some ways reflecting the fragility of a relationship you don’t want to lose — the lyrics themselves reflect the inevitable harshness inherent in any breakup: “You have learned your turn is over/But all of our friends they’re still here/ It seems we have ended/ We’ll find just what you’re made of.”
The video — directed by Samuel Aaron Bennet — reflects the bittersweet situation with off-kilter visuals: a room spinning around as the band stalks through the scene — Baldwin singing into the camera with a slightly “off” look on his face — as a girl scrawls on page after page of discarded paper.
“[It’s] an interpretation of the girl’s point of view,” Baldwin said. “It depicts her attempting to write a letter back to the singer, but she keeps scrapping each draft until she is literally consumed by them.”
At the end of the video, the situation is still unclear — the girl is mired in papers and the band has exited the action, leaving her wondering on the floor. The question — whether everything can be mended — hangs in the air.
In real life, however, Baldwin said that the situation ended a bit differently with his past paramour. “I did in fact remain friends with her! She’s heard the song and likes it!”
Well, that’s a ringing endorsement if we’ve ever heard one.
Pages is out now on The Rick Room.