Shakai Mondai’s “Bad,” off last summer’s debut EP of the same title, is an unearthly affair. With a quietly pulsing bass, a subtle wash of shimmering synth, and her soft, high voice, the song exists more in the bleary realm of dream, in which everything is a little out of focus and colored in a shade of unreality.
It is odd, then, that she should opt for what at first seems like a very earthly music video. Shot in the woods and a garden, mostly in the rain, it emphasizes tactile experiences: a leaf bending under the weight of the rain, fingertips skating over tree bark, two foreheads pressed together. Like “Bad,” the video tells a love story through the lens of two objects relating in space, placing a man and woman in shifting relationships to each other, sometimes holding hands and walking, at other times alone or looking in different directions.
Like the song, though, it also deals in a more nebulous trade. “I don’t want to be bad anymore / Feeling’s hard but I will never do like I did before,” Shakai Mondai sings about the emotional push and pull of a relationship and the desire to make up for poor behavior—ethereal feelings that, despite its materiality, the video captures with quiet poignancy. Every so often, the vivid shots of greenery slide out focus or twitch with double vision, adding a slightly hallucinatory quality. Ultimately, it is a landscape as dreamy and delicate as the song.