Dream-Pop Duo joan Sits in Sadness With 'brokenhearted'
by Fred Sahai
15 July 2020
“Brokenhearted," the most recent single off joan's forthcoming cloudy EP, arrives this week with an emotional music video tackling the pain and longing that often comes after a breakup.
The Arkansas dream-pop duo's visual illustrates this all too relatable mindset: going over every detail of a relationship and reminiscing on happier times, as we see the band's Alan Thomas hanging in an empty apartment and watching footage of his ex-love when they were together.
"Filming the music video for 'brokenhearted' was such an amazing experience," Thomas tells PAPER of the grainy, VHS-quality release. "It is our first proper narrative music video. It's a wonderfully odd feeling to see yourself act for the first time in a Hollywood-level video. It felt a bit surreal."
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Following joan's signature nostalgic sound, the song itself recalls emotional '80s ballads with a more modern vocal treatment and synthesized production. "Three years of my life just gone/ I can't seem to find the moment/ You realized I'm not the one/ And walked right out the doorway."
According to Thomas, "brokenhearted" is about sitting in your sadness, which he feels is "an important place to rest for a bit," so you can "truly appreciate the growth when you reach the top of the next wave."
The track began as a voice memo sent to bandmate Steven Rutherford — a simple drum loop and Thomas humming the chorus' melody without finalized lyrics. Once the two started focusing more on it, Thomas says "it felt like being transported to a writing room with Bryan Adams. It just felt right. It felt timeless. I'm probably most proud of this song out of our entire catalog thus far."
While songs "rarely fall into their laps," Rutherford says "brokenhearted" came together the quickest on this EP. "I remember us having the chorus of this song written in like 15 minutes. That's the stuff that keeps you coming back to songwriting."
Towards the end of the "brokenhearted" video, both Thomas and Rutherford are surrounded by blue, cloud-printed walls, perhaps as a nod to their cloudy EP, out on August 6th. The band says it's "an EP about seasons: created in the fall, introduced live in the winter, finished in the spring, released in the summer."
Rutherford sees "brokenhearted" as a resolution for the relationship-focused EP, especially considering it's the final track. He describes it as "hopeful" despite it being a breakup song, which is why he loves it so much. "Just because it's over for now doesn't mean it's over forever," he says. "Love is tough to figure out. This song still makes me feel like love is worth it, no matter how tough it is."
Watch the PAPER premiere of joan's "brokenhearted" music video, below.
Photos courtesy of joan