Brooklyn indie band Reliant Tom revealed the music video for their new song “When We Were Young,” which mxdwn premiered on June 2. Reliant Tom was mxdwn’s Best New Artist of 2020 due to the strength of their sophomore record Play and Rewind.
The video is mostly a lyric video, using cut-out letters from vintage magazines as a font. During some sections, especially the instrumental moments, the video features clips from a 1956 General Motors advertisement called Design for Dreaming, which shows a miniature model of a futuristic city skyline with remote-controlled cars racing around the city’s lifted tracks, as well as some real-life shots of a couple driving a ‘futuristic’ model car and dancing.
“I guess you could smile, even if you hadn’t felt good for a while,” vocalist Claire Cuny opens the song after a catchy guitar riff and synth call-and-response. It’s an upbeat track that was written by Cuny and produced by Monte Weber.
Cuny talked about how the song came about in a statement to mxdwn, “‘When We Were Young’ started out as a sad guitar ballad that I wrote while we were visiting Monte’s family in Great Barrington, MA one summer,” she said. “I have the original iPhone recording where I first play the idea for him. It’s a special recording to us because you can hear his family laughing in the distance, enjoying each other’s company. You can hear birds singing, the cool summer wind, and the sound of my slightly out of tune guitar slowly changing between two chords as I sing what became the song lyrics. When we went back home to Brooklyn to record, Monte was inspired to take the song in a totally different direction to capture that fun feeling and nostalgia we had at the family gathering.”
Although it’s able to capture the fun, Cuny reminds fans that it came out of a rough place, “This song is coming after releasing our latest work, Play & Rewind which is a full length album about grief and loss, and it’s coming after getting through the scariest period of the pandemic, so we both wanted to make something more upbeat that would hopefully influence how we were feeling. We changed nearly everything about the tune apart from the key and the lyrics. The song was sped up, with a thumbing energetic synth bass, and a beat which was a loose transcription of the opening measures of a Lafayette Afro Rock tune from the 1970’s that we had been jamming out to that summer.”