New Zealand indie mainstays French for Rabbits’ lockdown-inspired song “The Tunnel” is a stirring expression of isolation and togetherness.
Listen: “The Tunnel” – French for Rabbits
The world is very upside down at the moment. Our daily life grid shifted from busy subway commutes to quiet walks in our respective neighbourhood to the local supermarket, our faces covered in masks. Whilst the once busy streets seem quiet, almost dead now, our minds are louder than ever. The fears and the doubts about the current situation bring us to tears and to a state of hopelessness. Even though this new “normal” might seem to have taken over our lives overnight without our permission, there is a spark of hope: There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “The Tunnel,” the stirring new single from New Zealand indie folk group French for Rabbits. In the past, French for Rabbits have toured the world several times, performing alongside the likes of Lorde and Marlon Williams. In premiering the band’s sophomore album The Weight of Melted Snow last January, Atwood Magazine praised the band for bringing “to life a breathtaking array of powerful, stirring, and poignant emotion” through an “intimate record that weighs on the mind, body, and spirit.”
“I wanted to write a song that would act as a reminder that whatever we’re going through – it’ll pass,” Brooke Singer says of the new song. “I don’t think the song is any kind of masterpiece, but it is simple and sweet, it’s about isolation, togetherness and keeping hopeful.” “The Tunnel” reminds us of the fact that we are all in this together and we need to hold our heads up, despite the circumstances.
For the music video, the band worked together with the filmmaker Martin Sagadin, who created a gentle and calm visual vision of the song.
“For this video I found myself looking through scraps of old 16mm footage that were never used,” Sagadin tells Atwood Magazine. “In lockdown a certain amount of introspection tends to result in looking back in time. I was interested in using up old material, to recycle it and find new meaning in it and then let it bleed seamlessly into the present. We filmed Brooke’s performance through a reflective computer screen – which is how a lot of music performances have been happening recently. The human performer behind a barrier of a screen or glass is a familiar sight. But the degraded video-call quality still carries through a feeling of hope and an imminent new connection. This is a video full of small moments and small hopes past and present.”
This is a video full of small moments and small hopes past and present.
When the first piano chords of “The Tunnel” appear, the video shows a calm autumnal scene in nature. Everything is untouched, at its natural best it seems, but a touch of grey adds a certain depth to the visual experience.
The opening line of the song is, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel that we’re in,” which works as a repetitive mantra throughout the song, telling the listener that whatever we might be going though, no matter how hard it might feel right now, there is still a spark of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel, that helps us going through this. In-between the calm nature shots, you can see the Brooke Singer’s face behind a window. Combined with the heartfelt lyrics and calming melody, it feels like you would watch her singing at her windowsill. Once the camera’s lens captures the singer’s face, she sings,
and it glows all the night
from a mile I can see it
Do you see it too, where you are?
It’s the same bright stars…
Even though the liberating end might not be reached by now, there is still that tiny spark of hope that keeps us going.
It’s the hope that keeps the positive alive, the kind of hope that ties us together closer than ever before. The new sense of togetherness is something beautiful, which results of the shared feeling of hope. Musically, French For Rabbits’ strong lyrics are accompanied by a calming and simple melody, getting straight from listeners’ ears to their heart.
When the reality seems to be too dark to be faced, imagination offers a great escape to keep the hope for positive alive:
Dream something, Gloria,
even if you don’t believe in it.
Dream something, Gloria,
even if you cannot see it
Sometimes, it is not about what is true or untrue, what is real or not, what matters is how your daydreams make you feel. Visually, the lyrics and melody are underlined by 35mm nature stills, showing untouched magic with a calm vibe. Even if you are not able to visualise a better future in your head now, it will be there one day. The song closes with a sense of positivity and reassurance:
There’s a light at the end of it
I know, I know, I know
The closing lyrics of the song repeat the mantra for one last time, which feels reassuring. Although some people might struggle to find hope right now, there is a guiding light at the end. The light we want to see so badly. By singing “I know,” the listener, no matter where they are right now, will feel understood in such troubled times.
“When I wrote ”The Tunnel”, I had just watched a film about a young girl and her father escaping from a zombie epidemic spreading the country,” Singer tells Atwood Magazine. “The ending contained a poetic scene where the child walked out of a dark tunnel to safety. Despite some obvious exaggerations, the film seemed to parallel our current circumstances, except instead of zombies we have COVID-19!”
She continues, “We’re working on a new French for Rabbits album at the moment, so it’s been fun to take a break from that larger body of work to create this little transitional piece of music for a transitional moment in time. Once I recorded it, I sent it along to my friend Martin Sagadin who is a wonderful filmmaker based in Lyttelton, New Zealand and they created the most gentle, autumnal video for it. I hope people enjoy it – I’d recommend listening in the evening with your headphones on turned up nice and loudly, so it all seeps in.”
The music video’s intentionally degraded visual quality transports a feeling of hope and new connection; in these troubled times, “The Tunnel” is a simple and universal song which gives everyone the feeling that, no matter how they feel right now, they are not alone and there will be better days to come. Stream the new music video exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
Watch: “The Tunnel” – French for Rabbits
? © Ebony Lamb cover art © Amy Van Lujk
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