Recently, Dirty Projectors tweeted something that looked like a teaser for a new song, as it featured a bit of beguiling video footage and instrumental music, as well as the caption, “Do Not Wanna Live In A Li t t le Bub b l e.” Alas, today, this talk of bubbles has been revealed to have indeed been referencing a new song, titled “Little Bubble,” for which the band has now shared a downright gorgeous music video (below).
And while the video does feature actual bubbles (and yes, they’re spectacular in their supporting role), they’re very clearly metaphorical, as the song and video both expand onto a meditation on the former comfort of a relationship, from the vantage point of its aftermath. “We had our own little bubble/For a while,” frontman David Longstreth (who directed the video with Adam Newport-Berra) sings, with a bittersweet gentleness that uses the past tense both to conjure and relinquish that comfort.
It’s a moment where the track’s beat ceases altogether, and the song stretches onto the vastness of sustained strings. The song’s meaning likewise stretches towards something more temporally specific and apocalyptic: “Century of emptiness/ It’s not enough, whatever I dreamed of/I wanna sleep with no dreams/I want to be dead.”
The video, meanwhile, further opens onto a multitude of interpretations: it shows Longstreth in various, gloriously stark open spaces, whose collective thesis looks to be “every man is an island” — expressing a sad, perfunctory longing for connectivity by gazing into the glow of a tablet screen. The song, in its wandering between intimacy and alienation, likewise wavers between micro and macro; the end of one relationship v. the end of human connection.
The last song shared by Dirty Projectors — and one that notably was absent Longstreth’s usual collaborator Amber Coffman — was titled “Keep Your Name,” and was widely thought to be about their breakup; while that song was pained and somewhat bitter, this new track sounds more comfortable in despair and isolation. Not dissimilar to Radiohead’s recent “Daydreamers” video (also for a track widely thought to be about the end of a long relationship, echoing the sentiment of the futile comforts of dreams), in which Thom Yorke curls up into hibernation in a snowy cave, this video shows Longstreth seeking shelter in the barren landscape by sinking into a mess of wires and a tablet device.