Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Reveals Video for ‘I See a Darkness’ Remake
When you think of Will Oldham, the maddeningly prolific songwriting talent behind Palace Brothers, Palace Music, Palace Songs and Bonnie "Prince" Billy (among others), the words "goofy" and "lighthearted" probably aren't the first things that come to mind. But for his new re-recording of the old Prince Billy track 'I See a Darkness,' Oldham decided to make a video showcasing his lighter side -- while still making room for a dash of disquieting darkness.
In the 'I See a Darkness' video, which you can watch as part of the New York Times' T Magazine, Oldham and some pals sing along with the newly rearranged 'Darkness' while Oldham takes a few moments to dance a jig -- and then things start to get weird, with everyone's eyes spinning off in strange directions (or simply disappearing altogether). Like Oldham's music, it's an artful blend of beautiful and strange.
Originally recorded for Oldham's 1999 album of the same name, 'I See a Darkness' first surfaced as a gorgeously stark ballad that later inspired Johnny Cash to cut his own cover. Now, as part of Oldham's upcoming 'Now Here's My Plan' EP, it's been given new life as a more uptempo number, and sits alongside five other re-recordings from the Oldham vaults. The full EP, due June 24, is being released alongside a book, 'Will Oldham on Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.'
"To me the song is about friendship," video director Ben Berman told the New York Times. "It’s about a person who is dark and morose and maybe unhappy in his life but who has a friend who makes it all worthwhile." And as for those dance steps and googly eyes? "We share a similar sensibility for what we find bizarrely funny," Berman explained. "He’s the perfect amount of weird."