This “surprise album” thing is really getting popular. First Beyoncé, then Drake. It was only a matter of time before it drifted more into the indie community (Radiohead, of course, has also had a knack for surprises). So, it’s not completely shocking that indie pop duo Wye Oak picked up this tactic for their new album — though if you want to pick it up on CD or vinyl, you’ll have to wait until its physical release date on August 5.
Along with the album, which is titled Tween, came a music video for the final track “Watching the Waiting.” The video centers on a mirror that doesn’t quite act like a mirror — more as a rabbit hole to other worlds and moments in time, lending credence to my personal theory that everyone wants a portal to their own wonderland. The video, as videos with mirrors and/or portals are wont to do, focuses largely on the concept of identity, specifically that someone can have multiple spaces, places, and ideas inside of them, while still managing to hold one unchanging face. The idea that becomes apparent while watching is that these spaces, places and ideas can cause internal conflict, waging war against each self-perception but ultimately forging acceptance within. In a statement, Wye Oak divulged this is also the topic of the song, revealing that “Watching the Waiting is probably one of the most image-conscious songs I’ve ever made. At the center of it is a long-standing struggle to see myself as I really am—not just physically, but also emotionally and psychologically…This song is about learning how to understand and accept who I truly am, and present myself more honestly to the world, without any illusions or pretense.”
This emotional struggle detailed in “Watching the Waiting” is a struggle almost everyone has faced, which is what makes the video and song both honest and easy to understand. More than that, it makes the listener feel understood in a concept that, regardless of its wide spread, is difficult for most people to verbalize.