Shot with an iPhone on the beaches of Maine and New Jersey, the DIY music video from the project of Brooklyn artist Ryan Gross combines live action with stop motion to illustrate the idea of “diving headfirst into a relationship without a safety net”
As the saying (and reality show) goes, love is blind, and there’s no more effective prescription for pain than being so infatuated that you can’t see the signs. So obsessed you’re unable to identify red flags. So enamored that you don’t realize the object of your affection is a little shady, a little selfish or.. uh, maybe a little married.
That brings us to “Wedding Ring” from Skinny Dippers, a song that tells the story of a lovesick singer who’s so head over heels he doesn’t realize the girl of his dreams is already very much in a (legally binding) relationship with someone else.
“Wedding Ring” was released in February 2022, at which point Ryan Gross—the Brooklyn artist behind the project—offered the following description of the song:
“‘Wedding Ring’ is about diving headfirst into a relationship without a safety net. It’s about opening yourself up to something and living that experience to the fullest even when your gut tells you that everything could go wrong at any moment.”
In acronym form: YOLO. (You only love once, duh.)
Or, in lyrical form: “And I remember in the morning as the sun poured in / As we’re awaking lying naked in our summer skin / My heart is racing, it’s the start of something happening / I didn’t notice on your hand, you wore that silver ring.”
“Wedding Ring” dropped as the second single off Skinny Dippers’ 2022 album The Town & The City—”a collection of stories about growing up on the rural coast and moving into adulthood in the depths of New York City”—which was produced by Ryan’s collaborators Jordan Dunn-Pilz and Dan Alvarez (of TOLEDO).
And now, nearly a year after the song’s release, Ryan has finished the music video for “Wedding Ring,” in which live action and stop motion combine in a sweet, funny and utterly charming piece of art that I’m absolutely thrilled to premiere here!
“Filming with Playmobil characters and action figures allowed me to dramatize the story from the song in a fun way without taking it too seriously,” Ryan told me of the video over email. “The dichotomy of Darth Vader riding off into the sunset with my girl while I flail in the waves allowed me to create something that still represented the song while giving me a lens through which to look back and laugh about it.”
I suppose you can’t be too upset when Mr. Steal Your Girl takes the form of a four-inch figurine.
(Note: While one could argue that associating the “other guy” with a notorious villain rather than blaming the adulterer herself feels a little unfair—she’d be perfectly played by a Poison Ivy puppet… or perhaps a Cruella de Vill doll—the lying love interest is portrayed in less-than-flattering fashion later on in the live-action portion of the video. Either way, no matter who you view as the actual antihero, let us remember that life’s not black and white. Relationships are complicated. And as our pining protagonist, and occasionally hard-crushin’ selves, know: hey… there’s no room for logic in love ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
While we’re explorin’ emotions and talkin’ toys, I really want to give Ryan huge props for the incredible execution on what’s an undeniable labor of love. While romance might be about pursuing passion, creativity is about pursuing one’s passion, and this is a prime example, a video that’s not just impressive on the entertaining or technical side but also majorly on the feelings front. As Disney has proved (three times!), Toy Stories hit, and the plastic characters—tiny people, Ninja Turtles, miniature soldiers and more—that make up 90% of this music video’s cast manage to totally tug at your heartstrings, a feat that’s a testament to two things: the songwriting itself and the thoughtful, caring way the video was dreamed up, directed and beautifully, painstakingly shot.
SO! Now that the video’s out, get ready for the alternate version of the song! A new take on “Wedding Ring”—a collaboration with Middle Youth (the solo project of Brooklyn producer and BdBK BFF Harper James, also of Eighty Ninety)—is coming January 27th. Stay tuned for more music, and remember: Next time you’re falling in love, be sure to keep your eyes open… and tell them to keep their hands where you can see ’em.
Follow Skinny Dippers at @skinnydippersband, buy music on Bandcamp and add the songs to your Spotify playlists!
Feature image provided by the artist.