When you hear the word “emo”, chances are a few things come to mind: sadness, your old Hot Topic skinny jeans, and undoubtedly the color black. Chances are the color pink is the furthest thing from your mind when you hear the word emo (after all, pink symbolizes happiness and love), but what if we told you that blackbear‘s video for “Anxiety” – which is done almost entirely in cotton-candy pink, a slightly more vibrant shade than his hair is on the Cybersex album cover – is the most emo thing you’ve seen all week?
Of course, it helps that “Anxiety” (which features FRND) is a pretty emo song: technically it could be described as R&B / trap, but if you take a look at the lyrics (which detail how worried and anxious he feels about love), they could be right out of anything sold on the record shelves in the golden days of Hot Topic: “Every time you cross my mind, you get right under my skin / Am I crazy out my mind the situation I’m in / And it gets harder just to breathe, feel like the walls are closing in / But all I need is some closure”). The video opens to a series of pink balloons that spell out “BLACKBEAR FT. FRND”, before cutting to blackbear waking up and wiping his eyes. Still in bed, he’s tangled in strands of lights, and when he gets up, it’s to scrawl the words of the chorus (“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I get anxiety”) in large letters over a painting on the wall. Whether popping balloons, smoking a cigarette, or staring at his phone, it’s clear that blackbear is having a hard time with his feelings.
From start to finish, there’s a hazy, trippy quality to the camerawork in “Anxiety” that feels slightly disorienting. This is only increased by the fact that everything is one color: with a strong, solid hue, it’s never clear what time of day it is, nor are we given hints as to where the events of the video take place (are we in the middle of a densely populated city, or far out in a small, rural town?). Seeing such a clear depiction of heartache and worry fleshed out in a normally “happy” color is an unexpected jolt to our systems; perhaps pink can be emo after all.
If you haven’t heard it already, you can listen to Cybersex below. Be sure to follow Substream on Twitter so you don’t miss an update on all things blackbear!