On May 9, Bec Plexus threw a 24-hour party, via livestream, to honor the release of her album, STICKLIP, which featured 10 newly created music videos to accompany some of the songs on the record. The videos mimic the live performances she had prepared prior to concert cancellations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Road to Sound is premiering each of these videos over the next ten weeks, on Tuesdays at 9AM EST. This is the second article in our series. You can catch up on the whole series here.
The second installation of Bec Plexus’ spree of video releases is Amy Beth Kirsten’s “Dare I Dare You,” a song that meanders through groovy syncopations and unsettling dissonances to tell the story of unrequited love. Kirsten, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, explores dramatic, theatrical musical styles, often forming pieces that fly between different means of expression with deft. “Dare I Dare You” fits squarely into this framework: the music is at once vibrant and eccentric, twisting and turning between themes and ideas above a driving, quirky pulse.
In Plexus’ words:
“The song is written by Amy Beth Kirsten. I still don’t entirely know the story she imagines with it, but there is some link with William Shakespeare, specifically Romeo and Juliet. I see it as if she put these elements into a blender, shook them all up, and made a new story that seems to be a love story with William. But you see sort of similar elements; it feels like a song about unrequited love. William is just an ignorant bastard with his dogs, and he’s riding a horse, and it’s just like, “come on William, look at me!” So in that sense, it’s a pretty classic love song. The music is very theatrical, it felt kind of Kate Bush-y to sing and to record.
The visuals are a bit more abstract, all the colors and the backgrounds are made by a filmmaker named Xuan. She gave us these building bricks to use as a visual context. The video is really celebrating the band, because it was so fun to sing the opening choir section live, and the drum part is really interesting to do as well.
The introductory monologue is the shortest monologue of all of them. The monologue is “I’m afraid I have nothing to offer, that’s all.” That kind of says it all. It’s such an abstract song that’s also unsettling, so I was trying to bring it back to something we can all recognize and resonate with.”