We start out staring at a red balloon floating in a hallway somewhere, while some unseen person is playing a mournful series of notes on a piano. (In a horror movie, unseen people usually do very bad things. I’m not sure of the threat-level for unseen people in music videos.) The balloon looks very sad and doesn’t seem to have any friends.
Then we cut to Charles, one of the lead singers, sitting on the floor in a hallway that may or may not be the same one with the despondent balloon. We can see a series of doors with numbers on them, so we must be at a hotel of some kind. (Or possibly a very fancy penitentiary, where rich people go to serve their one-week sentence for tax evasion.)
Charles is plopped right next to one of those room service trays that people shove outside their doors when they are done eating fifteen-dollar club sandwiches. There is the slightly naughty possibility that he is stealing someone’s food, because he looks somewhat guilty and normal people don’t eat in the hallway. But there’s really not enough information to go on, so we shouldn’t judge. (Unless you’re a Fox News “reporter”. They’re pretty quick with the judging and the lack of fact-checking.)
Charles gets on his cell phone and calls somebody. (“Dude, I just found the most slammin’ nachos, get over here.”) Then we are shown an image of discarded roses tossed on a table or bench of some kind. The flowers look very dejected. Apparently all of the props in this video have emotional issues.
We finally get to see the guy that’s been playing those same notes on the piano, over and over, so he can make sure that we’ve got it down. (We do. Now, can we push another button on your jukebox?) We don’t know if he’s sad like Charles and the balloon, because his face is in shadow, but we can see his OCD hand banging on the piano keys and it doesn’t look very cheerful. (This may or may not be another member of the band, Dave. One would assume that he’s in this video somewhere, but the “shadows and fog” design scheme of this scene does not help us find Waldo.)
Then we start getting shots of Hillary, the other lead singer, and she’s actually inside one of the hotel rooms, so she must have more money than Charles. But she doesn’t seem to be any happier. Her hair is kind of a mess, and somebody really needs to make the bed. I guess the maid service is very questionable in this establishment, so you might want to check the comments on Expedia before you book your next trip. Hillary wanders around the room, pulling at her hair, which is sign language for “I’m just improvising until the piano man gets through that long-ass intro and I can start singing”.
Then Hillary does start to croon the opening lines, a few scenes later, and now her hair looks really good and she’s bathed in a golden glow, courtesy of a lighting technician who fully understands that divas should always be properly lit or somebody’s going to get a pink slip. But Hillary’s still sad about something. While singing, she glances at some empty champagne bottles. Is she blue because there’s nothing more to drink? That’s an anguish I can certainly understand, so we should probably friend each other on social media.
Then Charles and Hillary do a little duet, even though he’s in the hallway and she’s in the messy room. I guess the walls are really thin, or maybe they’re both just really loud, in which case the rest of the hotel is probably not very pleased with them at the moment. I don’t think I ever want to stay at this hotel, what with the poor maid service, all the sadness, and people bellowing pop songs at a quarter after one in the morning. On the flip side, I hear that the nachos are really good.
Oh look, for the chorus, Hillary has sprawled herself on the messy bed and is squirming around, almost as if the mattress is putting up a fight or her thong just flossed an uncomfortable spot. We cut to the hallway, where Charles glances down at the room service tray to make sure there’s nothing left to nosh on before he goes back to singing and looking tormented. Then he gets up and wanders off, perhaps to see what folks had for dinner in the next hallway.
Oh wait, Charles has apparently left the hotel, because now he’s in some diner, where he’s very protective of his coffee cup, keeping his hand over it the whole time. (Did evil people in his past do unsavory things to his beverages? That’s a hard life to live.) We’re not sure why Charles is in this diner. He certainly can’t be hungry after the hallway buffet, and there’s no food on his table, so the waitress is going to get a really crappy tip unless she upsells the cherry pie.
We zip back to the hotel that you probably shouldn’t bookmark, where Hillary finally drags her lazy ass out of bed, checks the mirror to ensure her rumpled but sparkling dress is still form-fitting, then she grabs an overcoat and heads out into the night. I don’t know why people can’t stay in one place in this video. If you need somebody now, shouldn’t you make yourself easy to find?
We head back to the diner, where Charles is still wailing and shielding his coffee from terrorists. The piano man waltzes in with his female companion and they sit at another booth, looking very happy and making googly eyes at each other. We instantly don’t care for them, just because of the happiness. This is a sad song where people yearn about lost things, don’t come in here with your success story and make us feel even crappier about bad choices we’ve made.
Cut to Hillary in the backseat of some car, with her head shoved out the window as she belts out a few more lines. The car doesn’t seem to be moving, so I’m not sure where she thinks she’s going. (In the midst of this, we get a brief shot of Charles doing a very odd hand movement that seems to signify he has just been instructed to turn his head and cough. Is the waitress under the table, performing some type of medical examination? Good for her, showing initiative and having multiple career paths.)
We cut again to Hillary, because she’s still in that damn car, whipping her head around and gripping the lowered window. I think this is supposed to mean that she’s very distraught about certain decisions in her love life, but it might just be that she’s getting frustrated with the Sonic waitress who is taking way too long to roller-skate up with her cherry limeade and a foot-long chili dog.
Charles suddenly stands up and races out of the diner, without leaving any money at all on the table, never mind a tip. (Does this guy just not understand that you are supposed to PAY for food? What does he not get? Where was he raised?) He hurries along the sidewalk, and actually starts running, so he’s either really late for some rendezvous or the coffee has kicked in with a surprising vengeance. One should never stray far from available restrooms whilst consuming liquid caffeine, that’s just a dangerous road to travel.
And once again we check in with Hillary in the backseat of the car. Her hair is blowing around, indicating some type of wind disturbance, but I’m still not convinced the car is actually moving. (Where the hell is the driver? Why are there no other cars around them? Why aren‘t they stopping to pay tolls? How come irritating homeless people aren’t trying to wash the car windows? It’s just not very realistic.)
Realism aside, both Charles and Hillary somehow end up at this building where some type of formal dance is going on. (Hillary, who has apparently ditched the non-driven car at some point, does take time out of her mission to pose for the cameraman while she sings one of the critical lines in the song, then she starts running frantically again.) They sashay into the ballroom and start scouring the crowd, with all the dancers wearing black eye masks to heighten the tension as well as disguise the fact that we are seeing the same four extras from different camera angles. Budget issues, I guess.
Despite the foreshadowing that Charles and Hillary are looking for each other, this proves to not be the case. Apparently the ones they need right now are not other members of the same band, which is actually a healthy advisory to follow. (It doesn’t work out when you lust after people who harmonize with you on a national tour. Just ask The Mamas and The Papas. Or Fleetwood Mac. Or ‘N Sync.)
Charles finds his lost love first, some blond who looks a bit like Hillary but is way younger and smiles a lot more. They moon at each other for a bit. Then Hillary finds her man, who doesn’t look anything like Charles but is way younger and smiles a lot more. (Yes, there’s a slight whiff of “robbing the cradle” about the proceedings, but I’m not a country singer so I don’t know all the dating rules.) Then the finally-happy couples hold each other and slow dance while some queen in charge of the party releases confetti over the crowd.
While everyone is reuniting and it feels so good, the piano man and his adoring mate wander in and start hugging as well, showing that you don’t have to be in a relationship where people fight and then sing about being drunk and lonely. You can get along just fine, with no issues or restraining orders, and you still might be featured in a music video. There’s hope for everyone.
Well, maybe not everyone.
The final shot is of the sad balloon that started all this mess. Now the poor thing is lying on the carpeted floor of the crappy hotel, half-deflated, with its tragic ribbon all trampled and unloved. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to take this, but it’s certainly not an inspiring image. What are they telling us?
Maybe it’s a promo for the next Lady Antebellum single. Something along the lines of “Need Your Helium Now” or “Latex on My Mind” or “Love Don’t Live Here on the Floor”.
Or maybe not. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Click here to watch this video on YouTube.
Originally published on 02/05/10, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.