I didn't think Said the Whale would top their great music video for "Lines" (a loving Back to the Future tribute that was one of my favorite videos of 2011), but this one for "Big Sky, MT" from their recently released album Little Mountain is somehow even better. It's an unfair comparison, since they are so different, so let's just say this video is also awesome.
The song is a personal ode to a grandfather – the member who wrote it had similar experiences at his grandfather's place in Montana to those depicted here. It is incredibly beautiful, yet not overwrought or excessively sentimental. The better word is powerful. The lyrics are inspirational, loving, and hit on big life themes as well as small details. The music is big, perfectly suited to the wide open wilderness the video evokes. Much like a person's life, it's dynamic; things shift and change over the course of the five minutes it lasts.
The relationship is captured in a very graceful and poignant way. I like that we get things mostly from the young girl's perspective, and that without words or even really seeing the grandfather figure, we get a strong sense of the close relationship. This is high-level filmmaking & visual storytelling. The death is sad, sure, but it's also celebratory when the flowers are dropped into the river. There is a strong element of nature and the life around us we are a part of, and this memorial tribute brings everything together.
"Big Sky, MT" hits me hard because I am very close to my grandfather. He happens to also enjoy fishing and certainly has imparted wisdom on life and love, just as the lyrics in the song go. It's impossible to put into words the impact he has had on my life, the rest of my family, and countless others who have met him. Not that I'm unaware of it, but this song is a nice reminder of how fortunate I am to have spent so many years with my grandfather, who has been one of the greatest role models I can imagine, and I look forward to as many more as I will have with him.
Said the Whale have made videos for every track from their new album Little Mountain, which came out in early March. You should search around for them or visit their website to see them (linked above) and be sure to buy their album.