Everyone has taken something for granted. Henry Jamison did so with a past love, and he turned that feeling of regret into his latest song, “Still Life.”
In the video for the track, premiering on Billboard today (Feb. 28), Jamison becomes the star of a still life photo, posing alongside a bowl of fruit as he sings, “I was trying to write a song so articulate/ I could write my wrongs but I wrote it wrong/ This is not it, it’s just a field day for a therapist.” It may sound a bit extreme, but it’s exactly what Jamison experienced.
“‘Still Life’ was written after months of touring and going through a breakup,” Jamison tells Billboard in a statement. “It’s about my failure to value what I had, and also tries to address its own failure as a song to make the situation right.” He says the song went through several versions because of how strong his remorse was. Yet, “I also had a clear feeling that the song didn’t really have the power to undo what had happened,” he says, which he drives home in the second verse and bridge.
Jamison wanted to further amplify those themes with the “Still Life” video, particularly when his lover feeds him pie and caresses his neck while he remains emotionless. As Jamison explains, the video shows him “in a dreamscape of my own illusions about masculinity and domesticity.”
The video ends with an elderly version of himself sitting in the same chair, still on his own and still unexpressive. Though Jamison admits “Still Life” is “a pretty bombastic take on my failure to value what I had,” the song and video are a poignant metaphor for how people can act one way in the moment, and then feel the total opposite in retrospect.
To make the song even more impactful, Jamison recruited Joseph, an all-female folk trio who provide angelic harmonies to the singer’s mournful tone. Jamison agrees: “They function within the song as my therapists and as angels.”
“Still Life” is the first track from Jamison’s forthcoming collaborations EP Tourism, which also features Ed Droste, Darlingside, Lady Lamb and Fenne Lily. Due May 15, the EP is Jamison’s first via Color Study, an independent label started by his longtime manager Spencer Kelley. He’ll be performing Tourism tracks at three special shows in June: Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles on June 3, Bowery Ballroom in New York on June 10, and Lafayette in London on June 17.
Watch the “Still Life” video below.