At the end of April, Denver-based indie musician Joe Murray (stylized as joemurray.) released his latest single, “Greater Than I Am” with a music video composed of visual representations reflective of the song’s intent and lyrics. “Greater Than I Am” speaks to the very human experience of wanting to be something “great than” you are in the current moment while grappling with the long journey it takes to get there.
The video opens with a bird’s eye view of cars moving through a circle drive, as well as opening credits that introduce the strong accompanying font that will run throughout the video with the lyrics. As Murray begins singing the lyrics, “I can’t breathe when I’m underwater/But I can see all the way to Mars,” each syllable of a word pops onto a black background in bold white font. The syllables don’t come on the screen in the same places, or even in left-to-right linear order, and your eyes can’t seem settle on one focal point when you’re watching. This visual element to the video emphasizes the theme of taking a spiralized pathway toward your goals, rather than something straight forward. Additionally, because the words to the song are segmented on the screen, the step-by-step process of building and reaching one’s goal is further showcased.
As the tune moves toward the refrain, the backdrop changes to a tape of fireworks lighting up the night’s sky within a frame of water moving over rocks and swimming fish. Murray’s careful to put the fireworks video inside the frame because the end goal (or to the “moon” as Murray references lyrically) is enveloped in experiences of feeling stuck (“underwater”) and moving through those emotions.
As the track progresses, and our eyes search the screen for the next syllable of a lyric, images- like a pathway up a mountain, a band playing for an audience, the carp swimming, a train passing, a bird- become layers of one another, mixing and meshing, like the instances that bring us to our achievements.
It’s no doubt that Murray’s music video has been intentionally crafted to accentuate the meaning of his new single. Viewers don’t miss a beat trying to understand where Murray is coming from. If fact they’ll relate to the human experience of moving through life, wanting something more, but having to be patient and work a little bit each day to get to where they want to be.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.