Last summer, teen heartthrob and newcomer Shawn Mendes released the official music video for his latest single “Stitches,” the second track off of his debut album Handwritten. Without a doubt, this track is one of my favorites on the album, and I was even more impressed by the music video than the song itself.
While “Stitches” has somewhat of a repetitive melody, its lyrics are unique and cleverly-crafted, unlike many other pop songs in today’s market. Shawn sings captivating phrases such as “Just like a moth drawn to a flame / Oh, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain” and “Your bitter heart cold to the touch / Now I’m gonna reap what I sow” that engage the listener and invoke curiosity about who is he is referring to.
After listening to the song a few times and learning the lyrics, I assumed the music video would, unfortunately, be stereotypical of a teen heartthrob and figured that Shawn would be chasing after a female love interest, as per usual. However, I was greatly surprised by the deeper and more artistic direction this video took. Seemingly filmed in one take (although this is not the case), the “Stitches” music video follows Shawn as he arrives in a deserted parking structure, exits his vintage car, and attempts to make his way across the empty lot. The key word in that last sentence is attempts. With every few steps that Shawn takes, an invisible force throws him onto the ground and prevents him from moving any farther. No matter how hard Shawn is knocked down or how far he rolls across the parking lot, he gets back up and continues walking (eventually running) but is pushed down time after time. This happens for a majority of the video until the invisible entity smashes Shawn’s head into one of the car’s window and shoves him so hard that he falls through the parking structure to the level down below. Overall, the video has quite a deep and fairly dark undertone, but I was one hundred percent engaged for the full four minutes.
The only parts of this video that I feel deserve major critiques are the editing that occurred between shots as well as the progression of the makeup-induced bruises and scratches on Shawn’s face that increased each time he was knocked down. In general, some of the cuts in this music video seemed quite choppy, and I found myself wishing that I could have seen a more encompassing view of the entire scene rather than the same front and side angles over and over again. Also, the progression of the bruising on Shawn’s face seemed highly unrealistic. In one shot he would have one bruise on his forehead and then, in the next, there would be five more bruises and his lip was cut in two different places. Yet, despite these faults, I was pleasantly surprised by the video and truly enjoyed its content.