Today Glass Animals release a touching video for ‘Agnes’, the closing song from their second (Mercury Prize nominated!) album How to Be a Human Being. The song itself is one of the most touching Glass Animals have released thus far and is frontman Dave Bayley’s favourite from the record. Each of the characters from the front cover of How to Be a Human Being is said to represent a song, ‘Agnes’ being the young Indian man at the centre with the camera, which perhaps shows that ‘Agnes’ and the grief that surrounds the song is at the centre of what it is to be human which is what the album explores. The camera also seems crucial, it obscuring his face, as memories become obscure when you lose someone, there being a bittersweet irony that Agnes documents everyone yet wee don’t get to see what he looks like.
The video for ‘Agnes’ was inspired by the grief that encapsulates ‘Agnes’ and aims to give a physical manifestation of those feelings. Dave Bayley goes through a human centrifuge to try to get the feeling of ‘horrible sinking, tugging heartache that comes only with complete and overwhelming sadness’. The centrifuge put a great force on the human body, making movement difficult and everything weigh more. Ultimately it made singing ‘Agnes’ just as physically difficult as it is emotionally difficult, which is made clear in the video with sweat dripping down Dave’s face and struggle for basic movement as the centrifuge works.
The video takes a scientific turn, trying to find a way to replicate a feeling whilst the song is the opposite, it takes references from biblical passages. The difference is intriguing, showing how this deep sorrow transcends the boundaries of science and religion. Have a listen of How to Be a Human Being here and watch the video for ‘Agnes’ above.