Unwrapping the Visual of Kelsey Lu's "I'm Not In Love"
By Sarah Sunday
Enter Kelsey Lu; an artist who gathers much of her artistic inspiration from the motion of water and seems to spin out music thoughtfully and deliberately, much as someone would unravel thread from a wooden spool. Her tones are slowly and deeply hypnotizing. A cellist by trade, the non-shaving and gender-open 26-year-old carries the aura of an individual wise beyond her years.
In her newest cover of the song “I’m Not In Love”, Lu has honed in on the concept of ‘haunting’ and takes the meaning to a deeper level. In a music video co-directed by Lu and producer/designer Alima Lee, the pair has recreated the 1970’s classic, originally performed by British band 10cc. The video stretches to a near seven-minute length, double the amount of time of the original 10cc video. Mimicking over-exposed film and the scratchiness of a 90’s home video, the fuzzy and grainy shots flicker in and out.
Feminism is potent in Lu’s images as she switches between various gender nuances. In one frame she prances around in a sunlit room, dressed in child-like pajamas, and in another frame, she rolls and writhes around in bed under satin pink blankets. At other moments she smokes cigarettes against harsh red stained windows in an inexplicably masculine manner, and then she does push-ups and lifts weights, all while topless. The whispered line, “Big boys don’t cry,” takes on a new meaning as Lu repeats it eerily. The way she carries herself in the video, swinging her heavy braid through the air and later cutting it off and discarding it on the bloody bathroom floor, swings between tones of femininity and masculinity.
The video carries a tone which eludes to the feeling of ‘redrum'. In a house scattered with instruments - a white grand piano, a standing cello and a harp wearing a wavy, black wig - an ambiguous twin figure of Lu sits motionless and turned away from the camera, with similar pajamas and a long, matching braid, adorned with embroidered frills. Although much of the video takes place during the day time, with strong afternoon sun filtering into the large windows and onto the interior white walls, the vibe is undoubtedly chilling. A bloodied, motionless body is seen being dragged across the floor, and although the body is never fully seen, the brown legs match Lu’s own. Plastic sheets are laid out on the carpet, covered in pools of blood. The entirety of Lu’s naked backside is seen coated in a layer of blood.
The video is lulling, yet also jarring; beautifully soft in its visual touches, yet startling in its connotations. Heavy with underlying tones of self-destruction as well as rebirth, Lu and Lee’s work points to self-reflection. A lilting hymnal siren, Kelsey Lu brings light to the idea of strength in individuality and independence, all with one eyebrow expertly raised into an impressive side-eye.
Watch the music video here.