The California native confronts the comforts of confinement and his own agoraphobic tendencies on the video for his latest single.
Going outside, being in a public space filled to the brim with people, is something that’s being avoided en masse right now, but Tom Nasr seems to be ahead of the curve.
The video for his latest single, “Paper Weight,” sees Nasr, better known as Not Mars, wandering through the open woods all alone, not another soul in sight. As isolating as the setting seems, there’s something decidedly peaceful about the ordeal, Not Mars lightly singing over an easy groove as he makes his way through the landscape.
As the electric guitar melody chugs along and the backbeat falls into a leisurely pace, Not Mars seems content in singing to no one but himself, taking in the woodsy atmosphere and promising to not wander off. “With the paperweight on me, I won’t land too far,” he says, and it feels like his affirmation to remain alone is a positive endeavor. There’s comfort in staying close to home, after all, and here, the Columbus-based, California-born crooner seems to revel in it.
But there’s a catch to all of this – throughout the entire video, Not Mars is tethered to something, a rope tied around his waist gradually pulling him back. It’s hardly noticeable at first, functioning merely as decoration, but as he grows increasingly more panicked, more unsure, it’s clear that he’s not just wandering on his own accord. By the time the music cuts out and Not Mars is literally yanked back into the forest, the reality is undeniable.
It’s this idea of something holding you back, whether it be fear or hesitation or something else entirely, that dominates “Paper Weight” and it’s accompanying video. With the upbeat instrumentals, folky with a touch of ska influence in the backbeat, and Not Mars’ soulful vocals, it’s easy to mistake “Paper Weight” as a cheerful tune. And on some level, it is – being confined, while suffocating to some, may serve as a source of comfort for others. In the first half of the video, it’s certainly a comfort for Not Mars, but as he’s pulled back further and further, the peace turns to panic.
By video’s end, though, he’s transitioned into placid acceptance. Though Not Mars frees himself from the rope, he walks into the trappings of the tree anyway, this time on his own. What initially seemed like an outward struggle is now revealed to be a matter of his own mind, and as the video fades out, there exists the lingering sentiment that maybe it was up to him all along.
Check out the video for “Paper Weight” below!