Neil & Liam Finn's 'Anger Plays a Part' Video Is Anything But Child's Play: Premiere

Russ Flatt
Neil & Liam Finn

Despite its young cast, Neil and Liam Finn’s new video for “Anger Plays a Part” deals with grown-up problems in the real world. 

In the clip, premiered below, a pair of intense young actors dress up as adults, and, along with their fancy clothes, inherit a full set of adult concerns. Despite their comfortable lifestyle, their disenchantment with each other and their middle-class burdens weigh heavily upon them.  

The guitar ballad is on the father and son’s new album, Lightsleeper, which comes out Friday (Aug. 24). It’s their first musical collaboration. Fans of Neil Finn’s Crowded House days will recognize the beautiful melodies, while Liam Finn fans will appreciate his more experimental approach.

The Finns approached directors Anthony & Alex about helming the clip and “immediately got into a conversation about how the seeds of bad behavior and unhappiness can be planted very early,” Liam Finn says.

“We really wanted to interpret melodrama through the imagination of a child, and see what they could add to it,” directors Anthony & Alex said in a statement. “It was one of our favorite shoots because the children got it immediately.”

For Neil Finn, the video makes a broader social statement: “It’s an uneasy pairing of childhood innocence with social conformity, an acknowledgement of how under the surface of Western middle-class living brews a frustration and detachment that sometimes spills over into anger, an unmistakable warning sign that there’s something wrong with our societal values.”

Liam Finn composed the tune, which is more about general frustration than the weary disappointment expressed by the couple. “I wrote the song while living in New York - amidst some frustration and anxiety over the writing process,” he says. “It doesn’t make you the most positive person to be around, and the ones closest normally cop it the worst. I guess along with self-awareness comes the opportunity to better yourself, and break the cycle, all the while acknowledging that feeling that frustration and anxiety passionately can be an inspiring impetus to express yourself.”

While the Finns have played isolated shows together, including at Los Angeles theater Largo on Aug. 18, Neil Finn’s plans to tour with Fleetwood Mac this fall prevents them from doing a full run…for now. They add, “We’re fitting in little bits and pieces around the Fleetwood Mac tour, and next year we want to play these songs to as many people as we can. We're really enjoying performing together, and we feel like we're reaching new highs every time we do it and we’d like to share that with the rest of the world.”

Given their hectic schedules, there was never a thought that the Finns would appear in the clip, but they couldn’t be happier with the results, even if they have used a little creative license to imagine the young couple’s next chapter. “We love it. Although we feel like there is a redemption within the song itself, we were quite happy the video ended with an unresolved glass of wine to the face,” the pair said via email. “It didn’t seem true to have a happy ending, and he was asking for it. We’re happy to report they eventually worked it out and are currently vacationing in India exploring their newfound peace.”