Following a recent viewing of Michel Gondry’s excellent Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, my friend and I debated over whether it was a healthy post-break up film. I argued for it: Jon Brion‘s soundtrack is the sweetest form of melancholy, and the dialogue relatable for anyone who has fell victim to a doomed relationship. She argued against it. She maintained that it justifies keeping an ex-lover fresh in your mind, and proves a point that rather than doing things to forget, you end up “chasing your own tail.” Therefore, the real cure is actually forgetting and letting go of your past lovers.
According to the story behind Seashore, R&B vocalist Steven A. Clark takes my side of this debate. Apparently, Clark holed himself up in a warehouse and watched Eternal Sunshine on repeat to get over an ex. Though this might sound partly unhealthy, it helped birth one of the best, most visceral R&B songs of 2012. Is holing yourself up and feeding your ego a bad thing? Psh, no way. The most recent example is Bon Iver‘s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago which came out of a similar respite taken by lead singer Justin Vernon.
Audibly replicating the scenes of Eternal Sunshine…, Seashore has a frigid cold, solitary imagery. Its lyrics also describe the mission of Joel Barish (Jim Carrey’s character); to recapture fading memories:
I tried my hardest to keep you / That’s what these dreams are for And now they’re floating away / So I wait by the seashore.“
The lyrics mount to the mourning of a dissipating love, though the song’s upbeat pace rejects any notion of pessimism or somberness. The optimistic guitar solo pays off towards the end, sneaking up and oscillating in modest funk righteousness. All of the instrumental elements of Seashore are beautifully restrained, pleasing the modern listener instead with fluttering effects on everything from the vocals to the synthesizers. With all its likable factors, Seashore pleasantly proves that it’s possible to transform a failed relationship into a seed of inspiration.