The best kind of music video complements the song, providing a visual that goes along with the feel of the song. It doesn’t have to be crazy elaborate, and in fact that often takes away from the song itself (case in point: any of OK Go’s videos).
But Bleachers’ new music video released Tuesday, “Rollercoaster,” is one of the perfect videos that adds to the song without overpowering it and stays consistent with the vibe of the song, much like “By Your Hand” by Los Campesinos!, “Dog Problems” by The Format and “Bullet” by Steel Train.
The song “Rollercoaster” is an ’80s-inspired anthem, detailing a fast-paced, thrilling love affair. Sonically, Bleachers’ lead singer and songwriter Jack Antonoff told Pitchfork, the song always felt to him like “driving on a highway.” So he went to the video director, Richard Shepard, with the idea of the band playing on top of a moving car.
The video begins with the band driving down the highway in an old ice cream truck with “Bleachers” painted on the side. The members sleep in the back until a honk from a passing car wakes them up. With this Antonoff looks out the window to see a blonde girl driving by, the “killer queen” the lyrics describe. Of course the only thing to do when your band sees a pretty girl driving is climb up through the sunroof and start playing on top of the car, so the band does just that.
The lyrics (“it was summer when I saw your face”), lens flare and sunny highway all make this part of the video feel like summer, a metaphor for the good parts of the up-and-down rollercoaster relationship the song describes.
But as the song draws to a close and night falls, Antonoff and the girl are both outside of their cars, walking toward each other on the side of the highway. “Why don’t you come a little closer,” he sings, and she obliges, leaning in about to kiss him, when she pulls away, shoves him over and starts kicking him furiously. The video ends with Antonoff curled up on the ground while she walks back to her car, the low part of the rollercoaster affair. But as Antonoff sings earlier, “a rollercoaster, I don’t say no”: the tumultuous relationship is thrilling and addictive and not something you can say no to, even when it leaves you beaten on the side of the highway.