It’s been two years since celebrated singer-songwriting Samuel Beam, aka Iron and Wine, has released a studio album. The latest, Ghost on Ghost, arrives tomorrow, and we’re already fans per the live stream first listen last week. We can attest that it’s a satisfyingly exuberant and uplifting new direction for Beam and his band, and it’s amplified by the album’s first music video for the song “Joy”.
Directed by Hayley Morris, we’re taken on a colorful journey through a blossoming wilderness. Cow skulls sprout flowers while dried flowers explode in shades of neon. It’s a stunning piece of animation created by projecting hand-painted watercolor animations into stop-motion landscapes. Morris was inspired by a particular lyric from the song—”deep inside the heart of this crazy mess, I’m only calm when I get lost within your wilderness”—and chose to visually show how love transforms and colors the world around you.
Aside from interpreting the romance of the lyrics in a beautifully literal way, the animation itself stands alone as a depiction of what it is to feel joy. “[It’s] a song about love and taking a moment to realize how someone can vastly change how you perceive yourself and the world around you,” Morris says. “My goal was to have the viewer feel the effect through bursts of color, growth and transformation.”