MusicReview

Chadwick Stokes Dances for Equality in “Our Lives Our Time”

Gabby Catalano ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The acoustic guitar work is potent, the lyrics are storytelling and memorable, the dancing is lyrically emotional, and the message calls for equality in today’s discriminating world. “This is our lives, our time,” says singer-songwriter Chadwick Stokes in his newly released single “Our Lives Our Time.” “But if you want to play you got to play the party lines.”

The music video released features a diverse group of lyrical dancers who reappear throughout the four-minutes, dancing in a basketball court off of a New York City highway. They give emotionally powerful performances as seen through their body language and intimate collaboration with each other. Repetition of visuals and word art add to the overall performance, making the video aesthetically pleasing and placing emphasis on freedom of speech and expression.

“The tune’s about being frustrated that we’re still in a society that is largely intolerant of gay marriage and gender equality, … has corporations that have a stranglehold on the government,” said Stokes in an interview with AllMusic.

Stokes’ message comes across, especially when following the lyrics with the movement of the dancers. The beginning of the song discusses the history of discrimination, starting with a comedian who “made the world turn” by marrying the same-sex in Great Britain. Through the storytelling, the dancers have their backs facing the camera, portraying society’s negative reactions on gay marriage. Though as the years progress and as the world develops, the dancers turn to face the camera and interact with each other, showing their slow but sure openness to the idea of equality.

In the midst of the song, the dancers’ pace quickens, causing blurriness and distortion. Spoken word is then implemented along with spray painted words on cardboard popping up like “occupy” and “violence,” and phrases like “Stars like light bright” and “Getting off the sidelines.” Stokes’ intention was to possibly shift from a dark and serious to a lively and poetic tone in the video, revealing that at first, people were skeptical on social equality but have come to stronger terms with it over the years. The dancers unite all together in the end, creating an upbeat and enthusiastic performance.

“Our Lives Our Time” will also be featured in Stokes’ February 2015 studio album The Horse Comanche. He will be performing at the House of Blues in Boston on December 20, with special guest Lucius.

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