Minimalism has never felt and sounded more cinematic than it does in the visual for Savannah Conley’s “Surprise, Surprise.” The music video, premiering today on EUPHORIA., takes us on a somber, intimate walk with Conley as she sings about the pain — and depending on interpretation, the impostor syndrome — that comes once one has fallen into the grasp of love.
Conley’s stroll in the video isn’t heavily embellished, instead thriving on near silence; it’s no secret that existing in a state of quiet allows for one to dive into their own thoughts, but Conley’s tearful realism in the lyrics of “Surprise, Surprise” in conjunction with the visual’s soft, uncluttered landscape gives way to four minutes of pure, heart-wrenching and romantic reflection for viewers.
But the walk alone — in complete darkness, no less — bleeds with fortitude. Though Conley sings about the ache of love, the simplicity of her walk (and eventual swing) interrupted only by bold imagery of the sky provides an essence of bravery. Perhaps most impressively throughout both the song and video’s duration, Conley makes solitude feel powerful, and it’s one of her greatest artistic strengths.
The cosmic shots near the video’s halfway point are a bright break from the subdued nature of the rest of the video, taking a once entirely dim sky and bringing it to life with fiery pink and purple glow. It feels like an appropriate scene intercut with Conley’s reflective state; in some ways, the shots seem to reflect the way that the track illustrates love. It burns, undoubtedly, but it’s alluring nonetheless.
In a similar but more subtle contrast to the nighttime background of the visual, Conley wears the red jacket that is becoming synonymous with this era. The red peacoat also appears in the music video for “Being Around You,” a song with an edgier sound that feels like the musical inverse of “Surprise, Surprise,” which thrives on dripping, bittersweet emotion versus a more upbeat yet apprehensive approach to walking away from someone you care about.
But the similarities between “Surprise, Surprise” and “Being Around You” visually are not coincidental; “Surprise, Surprise” marks the second part of the narrative’s continuation, transitioning from frustration to exacerbation to heartache over the course of just seven minutes. Conley brilliantly succeeded at interweaving two tracks that feel divergent in nature, a move reflective of her skillfulness and polish as both an artist tailoring a track list and a creative developing a compelling and whole story.
“I look at you and I cry/ Even when I see the love in your eyes/ I feel a pain in my chest/ ‘Cause I know that no one will love me best.”
“I’m a very experience-oriented writer,” Conley said in an interview with American Songwriter earlier this year. “And all of my writing is pretty narrative [driven]. I’ve gone through periods where I’m like ‘selling my diary’ but that’s just my author’s voice. And so that’s how it’s always been.”
If “Surprise, Surprise” is proof of her ability to write deeply and personally, let the visual be evidence of Conley’s repertoire as a well-rounded creative. Though it is only the second video from her EP, let’s consider it foreshadowing; whatever comes next is sure to be as enthralling as this visual’s explosive, otherworldly look at the night sky.