Unsatisfied romantics will dually find validation and challenges to their sometimes obsessive traits within AlunaGeorge’s cotton-candy spun “Superior Emotion.” Soft, femininity juxtaposes the harrowing and emptying feeling of pouring yourself into non-reciprocal relationships. Yet, what if they never desired to be our vessel? What if the drama we create in seeking to connect only further underscores how much we’re trying to fill a void within ourselves? Many divination tools haunt her internal landscape: readings for her astrological sign that urge real inner work, sage to clear out bad spirits and crystals to call in new strengths, a crystal ball that highlights a murky sense of doom, and fortune cookies that imply the love she’s seeking is inaccessible at present. The candles only add to the seance quality as various surfaces become more like altars. It’s easy to laugh at the shallow quality of the nos she receives, her ensuing frustration resonating all the more. But these items hint that her main flaw may be not trusting her intuition and current path, instead reaching for unearned and unrealistically consistent happy endings.
Sometimes the magic we’re seeking lies in the unglamorous work we’re avoiding, and sometimes the “superior emotion” (or passion) we want is a toxic cocktail that continually keeps us in a state of neediness instead of actually sustaining us. Cautious Clay’s retracted hand, placed at almost center of this whole ordeal, is one image that throws her undervaluation of self into relief: her pout doesn’t undercut her determination or even detract from her attention in the slightest. Instead, she’s concocting a new plan to win his affection when his eyes have barely ever met hers. Her ego lies in believing that she can control how others respond, instead of acknowledging external validation is a bonus or added boon to her own clarity of vision and selfhood. This video seems to urge us to break out of the contained, suffocatingly pretty spaces of mourning, and realize that transformative experiences offer joy, but the also the pain of actual growth as we shed skin.