Once when I was at the eye doctors, I was sitting in the lobby minding my own business when I suddenly recognized a very distinct song playing in the background. It was very quiet but nonetheless, a song with this catchy of a chorus will never go unnoticed. That song was Michelle Branch’s second single from her second studio album, a song titled “Breathe” that is the epitome of pop rock from 2003. It really doesn’t matter if you were alive during this time or not; there is something about this production and this type of music that is so distinctly early 2000s, and when done right, it’s some of the best music from the time. In this case, it’s done not just done right. It’s done so well to the point that this song lives on to this day and still feels incredibly fresh, and is easily one of the most recognized songs from its time. And lucky for us, we get a music video that goes along with it that is just as intriguing and memorable.
The concept for this video is simple. Nothing really happens, if we’re being honest. But that actually may be the point. The video starts off with Michelle and her band playing in a small room, just like every other band or group at the time (the 2000s in general were filled with music videos like this). We’re shown little clips of fish and crabs moving around, which initially may come off as a little strange but it also forecasts what is to come. Slowly, the walls of this room start falling apart and sun beams begin to shine in, until they completely fall apart and we see the band is now on a beach. Regardless of this sudden change however, the group keeps playing like normal, with Michelle even getting her boot cut jeans soaked in the water, seemingly without a care in the world.
The idea that “nothing really happens” in this video worked out nicely because it allows the listener to decide what they want it to mean. While lyrically this song is centered around a strained relationship, unless you actually listen closely to the lyrics, you might have never known that when presented with this music video. But that’s exactly why I find it so outstanding. The idea of having a breakup scene or crying-myself-to-bed scene or makeup-running-down-my-face scene would have been incredibly corny, and it would have cornered the song into teen pop territory. And while I do agree the song’s message is clear, it’s also ambiguous enough to be applicable to other situations, which is why this video is so fitting. The tracks bright instrumental coincides with the sun light shining through, and the open beach is the perfect pair for the optimistic lyrics. This visual helps the song apply to various situations beyond just it’s initial intent, and trust me when I say that’s an incredible accomplishment.