As long as humans have had the idle time to contemplate possible futures, the fascination and fear of an imagined dystopia has existed as a macabre cultural touchpoint. It is a fascination that, due to landmark cultural and political shifts in recent years, has only seem to grow in power. From the resurgence of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a generation’s obsession with Black Mirror, to now, the haunting work of rising British songwriter Sam Fender, artists are channeling collective anxiety into works of chilling catharsis.
Fender, a distinctive UK talent who released his striking debut EP much to our acclaim late last year, returns with a music video for his first single, 2017’s “Play God.” The track, which is equal parts Orwellian and a reaction to the landmark political decisions in both the UK and the US, is classic Brit-rock at its finest. Driven by lush guitar melodies and Fender’s swirling mixture of questioning and positing, “Play God” draws the listener into his world defined by an increasingly uncertain future. Fender spoke on the original inspiration for the track, sharing,
“‘Play God’ is set in an alternate dystopian reality that shares similarities with our own world. I wrote it a couple of years ago where there were a lot of big changes happening in both the UK and the States, I had just entered my twenties, I was anxious about the future of the world and its leaders, and it didn’t help that I’d just read George Orwell’s ‘1984′ at the time. As you can imagine, I was pretty paranoid!“
Directed by Vincent Haycock and shot on 16mm black and white film, Haycock describes his vision for “Play God” as a “satirical interpretation on power… set in a dystopian world of exaggerated tropes - masculinity, domination, sexual objectification, racial profiling, and others.” The unforgettable video blurs the thin line between reality and fiction, leaving you questioning your own perception. It is an all-too-fitting video for an artist who currently stands as a paragon in the realm of philosophical, poignant, and lasting songwriting.
Watch the video for “Play God” below and catch Sam Fender on his upcoming Spring headline international tour, which will feature stops in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and SXSW: