I remember first learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in junior year English class. I hadn’t thought much about it since, until a friend introduced me to the music video for Yael Naim’s song, New Soul. (The song was a rednoW favorite in 2008 and was made especially popular after being featured in the Apple MacBook Air commercial.)
Naim sings about coming into a strange world, hoping to learn about what is true and fake. This is where the video begins. A woman enters an empty, white room and begins to unpack her life. She creates a world, a reality in which she lives – and it seems pretty great. She hangs pictures of her best friends on the wall and plays with what’s real as she paints new scenes and objects into them.
As the song reaches its bridge, however, its upbeat, playful mood shifts. The line, “Why is everything so wrong,” leads the woman in the video to look beyond the walls she is living in only to discover a bigger, much better, much more real world behind the one she had created.
She stands wide-eyed in the middle of this new world, a world containing elements from her painted, photographed room, but which are now real and moving and full of their own life. The video ends with the woman having a dance party with the very friends who existed only as still frames before.
It’s difficult to watch this music video without wondering about the reality you are personally experiencing. Is it actually real? What, in this strange world, is real and what is fake? What’s behind the scenes and the lives we paint for ourselves? Have you thought about looking?
It’s certainly possible to get through life without addressing these questions, but as we see in this music video, we’d risk a life of shallow captivity.
New Soul by Yael Naim