John Grant’s Solitude

From what I know about him, John Grant generally keeps to himself. His albums (specifically his latest effort Pale Green Ghosts) are the kind of exposure that he’s more comfortable with. He addresses love, loss, and anger along with his HIV-positive diagnosis, which, since it was divulged at a Hercules and Love Affair show, has become one of his identifying attributes, whether he’s comfortable with it or not.

It’s probably one of the loneliest albums I’ve ever heard, and the video for “Pale Green Ghosts” is the perfect visual for that. Grant is by himself the entire time, but his presence is so captivating that he doesn’t really need another person in any of the shots. It’s kind of weird to describe someone as having a definitive presence, but Grant reminds me of Orson Welles in a lot of not-so-subtle ways (and it’s not just the beard).

The video for “Pale Green Ghosts” is hard to interpret, but the shots of Grant opening a trunk and walking with a shovel seem to imply that he is burying demons. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, but in a way that fills you with dread instead of longing. Images of Grant’s face flash by time after time with the same sorrowful-but-determined expression that almost overshadows the scenery of the video, and Grant on his own is sad, but still communicates self-exile, which is a lifestyle that Grant appears to lead on his own.