It’s not very often that music videos are shot in one take. With today’s technology, why would they be? Justin Timberlake’s new song “Say Something,” featuring Chris Stapleton, was made in one take at the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles (if it looks familiar, that’s because it was part of the Maze Runner set). The audio was recorded live in one take, with the help of two vocalists, 17 instrumentalists, and a choir.
The video starts off with Timberlake making a beat and then walking through a hallway while playing an acoustic guitar. The camera eventually pans to Stapleton, standing on a balcony—in the context of this video, his mysterious and rustic demeanor becomes sophisticated and smooth. Compared to Timberlake’s quick movements, Stapleton’s are slow and steady. His hat is majestically propped on his head, hanging over his face while the camera zooms in on Timberlake’s expressions. They are the perfect combination—the pair’s intrinsic differences make the collaboration extremely intriguing.
Another juxtaposition is that of the location and the type of song—“Say Something” is stripped-down and rustic (at least on Timberlake’s standards), yet the video takes place in an ethereal, intricate, and dark building. It gives the lighthearted, repetitive song a deeper meaning. While the song itself is comprised of the same few lines repeated over and over, the camera is always moving in the video. Timberlake and Stapleton walk up and down intricate staircases, ride in old-fashioned elevators, and turn corners in dimly lit hallways, all giving flow to a song that can sound like a stuck record. Timberlake knows that this song, and the way the music video was filmed, is special: At the end of the video, Stapleton laughs while he mumbles, “Holy shit, that’s one way to get a response.”
The video itself has no plot, but its simplicity forces the viewer to fully listen to the excellent music—two musical legends playing acoustic guitars and recorded live is an event that only comes around once in a blue moon.
Featured Image by RCA Records