Empathy Is Too Much For You

Love the use of fulcrum shots in this Tove Lo video. The fixed nature of the camera creates this disorienting effect, where the background appears to move rather than the subject. It’s heightened by match cuts swapping out locations, clothing, and fellow revelers/lovers, Lo’s face the sole constant as she’s propelled along by her surroundings. These cuts intensify in the back half, the image of Lo sobbing in a bathroom a frequent, key interjection. The video tracks the singer’s day-long recuperation from a night of grief-fueled debauchery (“Gotta stay high/all the time/to forget I’m missing you”), on through a brand new night to start the cycle over again. Moral crusaders upset at the explicit sexuality and drug use of “Habits” posit Lo is setting a “bad example,” or that she “needs help” if this is how she deals with loss (specifically, the song’s about a breakup, but the self-destructive reaction is also common in the wake of a loved one’s death). Apparently, it never occurred to them Lo, the video’s director, or anyone else involved in the production of both song and video might have already considered this? Or that there might be some point here?

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