The thump and snap of Maths Time Joy’s “Only You” ft. JMR inspires us to turn heartache into hope and find strength in unity.
Reading about the current state of immigrant civil rights in our country feels like immersing oneself in the pages of a dystopian political thriller. Migrants are fleeing from their homes to escape atrocities like (but not confined to) gang violence, malnutrition, rape, and crippling poverty to countries like the USA who, they think, will protect them and their families. They are guided to our shores by the beacon of freedom shining from Lady Liberty’s torch, all the way from the New York Harbor. As these parents and guardians put their feet on US soil they are thrown into federal prison, while their children are unceremoniously whisked away to tent villages. The weary are left to cry confused, lonely and fearful tears until they fall asleep heartbroken, each night.
And while words are not expressive enough to describe the pain this situation evokes, furious citizens, students, politicians, and artists are desperately trying everything to get the world’s attention. That’s just what British beatsmith and producer, Maths Time Joy and Nashville native, singer/songwriter JMR are doing with their release, “Only You.” The closing track off Maths Time Joy’s latest EP Sunset Motel (June 1, 2018), the song “is about an unrequited love with the statue of liberty.” explains JMR.
Watch: “Only You” – Maths Time Joy ft. JMR
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for Math Time Joy’s “Only You,” featuring JMR. Unrequited love indeed, the opening lyrics say it all:
You saw her light cast on the shore
and hope proved growth through grief
to find a better one
to provide a better one
But she soaked the wick that once had lit the golden door
to be now a kind of barrier
reminder of where you were
JMR’s delicate and smooth vocals over the thump & snap of Maths Time Joy’s electro-soul, sings to the push-me-pull-you of hope turned heartache. The golden door they sing of is the very one featured in Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus” (1883). This poem, which hangs inside the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, enunciates the ideals of our county’s forefathers:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse
of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
That lamp by the golden door was once a goal marker for many seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Now, however, that lamp seems more like a dream or a mirage. High in the sky it beckons to the weary and needy as it has for generations. Just as they approach freedom, the golden door itself becomes a dead end barrier. Turning the light of promise into the still, lonely, darkness of despair.
Was it a dream
Did you rely
on the elite
to supply your right to carry on
to only be left in the dark?
Upon hearing “Only You,” three Italian dancers were inspired (not commissioned) to choreograph a piece which visually represents the symbiosis of strength/weakness, hope/despair and fight/flight. As Medy Mouika, Christiano Benussi and Pietro Brazzo allow Maths Time Joy’s beats to move them with staccatic flow through the snow, we can see the footsteps of those who came before. Or, perhaps they are the dancer’s own footsteps, leaving a clear map of a cyclical journey which eventually leads them right back to their starting point. Like displaced migrants fleeing the clutches of evil, right back into, the clutches of evil.
You pulled from your own sacred well
your father’s father’s fathers built
to find it run dry
You prayed and knelt before a host
|of radicals kind of like those on the other side
The quality of movement and depth of expression that this trio’s choreography achieves along with the spot-on artful eye of Director, Smokey Media, came across immediately to Maths Time Joy. Moved by their work, Maths Time Joy decided to use it as “Only You’s” official music video.
“I’ve seen many videos that people have created to accompany my tracks, but this one stood out as exceptionally beautiful and a great interpretation of the emotion of the track.” Their heart, hard work and creativity earned them Maths Time Joy’s attention and admiration.
Medy, Christiano, and Pietro start out as solo dancers with movements that reflect the lonely fight for survival. The music’s cyclical rhythm mimics the lonely perseverance of an internal struggle. A struggle intensified by the necessity to protect oneself from external danger at the same time. As the music gathers intensity, the dancers begin to connect like magnets finding their match. First as a duet and then finally a trio, their movements, similar not the same, support and compliment each individual journey. Now united, they are able to turn inward and outward without being vulnerable and afraid. Together they are safe and strong.
Our country was built on the ideals that human beings, no matter where they are from, are stronger when united. Throughout our history we have opened our golden doors to protect our fellow humans from evil and hardship. This human union was what George Washington set his sights on in the very beginning of it all. In a letter written to Francis Van der Kamp in 1788, George Washington spelled out his dream,
“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”
The dancers stand together at the end of “Only You,” warm smiles of accomplishment spread across their faces. It’s as if they have internalized the message that through unity we will find strength. Let’s work together to help open Lady Liberty’s door, once more.
Don’t miss Maths Time Joy’s “Only You” feat. JML and premiering video; it’s a big step in the right direction.
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📸 © 2018