Singer and songwriter Elliot Moss has released an intense and chillingly powerful new song called “Without The Lights,” which depicts the trauma and darkness of someone existing in a dysfunctional relationship.
The intense video, directed and choreographed by Phillip Chbeeb, features dancer Erica Klein moving through what appears to be the effects of self-depreciation at the hands of a controlling, emotionally obsessive , mentally and physically abusive partner.
At the start of the video, we see a girl touching a charm bracelet, which from her expression, appears to be a gift from someone who has charmed her, but she has now become afraid of. She is wearing a clean, white dress and looking into a mirror insecurely. The guy approaches her, covered in tar, and the girl jumps when she sees him. She tries to escape, but he pursues her relentlessly until he finally catches her.
As he puts his hands on her and smears her in tar, the girl is noticeably stunned in fear. He then manipulatesthe way she moves, showing the power he has over her. She struggles to get away, but falls to the ground, and sees herself in the mirror with the visible marks of what he has done.,
The guy dances around her to express his dominance. He seems unaware of how his destructive behavior causes her anguish and suffering. The two spin around, showing how the dynamic spins into madness.
In the background, there are white sheets hanging up that also become stained as the music plays.
We watch as the entanglement continues, and we see the girl now wearing black to convey her emotional and mental state after the abuse. The black tops that they are both wearing twist and knot to show the hold the guy has over her.
Eventually, the girl furiously tries to kick and fight back, before the guy holds her down with his hand around her neck. He continuously puts the girl on the floor, and holds her down with his foot to keep her submissive.
The setting then changes to a bedroom scene, showing the girl attempting to remove the charm bracelet, before being thrown on the bed and lying there petrified, clearly not wanting to be there as they guy undoes his pants.
At one point, the video shows the girl reaching to him and stroking his hand as though to show she has feelings for him, despite the brutal way he’s treated her. However, she quickly pulls away from him, and tears a stained sheet down as though to signify she has regained strength and found the courage to leave him.
We see her frantically pulling at other sheets, clearly distressed and angry at what the guy has done to her, before a light bulb is shown flickering off—as though to depict how she has seen him for what he is, but the light has left her feeling tainted in the darkness.
The next scene shows the lingering effects of the abuse, as the girl is back in the woods with ink all over her, and stained sheets sweep up and wrap around her showing how her innocence and purity was stolen. As she stares at her reflection in the mirror, the guy reappears from behind, and holds onto her, to show he has overwhelming control.
The final scene shows the girl sitting on the bed, looking submissive and afraid. She turns around as someone enters. It is not clear whether she has finally left him or whether the ghost of his presence remains haunting her mind.
The song and dance express how it is possible for one person to change reality and dig so far beneath their victim’s skin that eventually their toxic words and actions can poison their minds, leaving them feeling terrified, worthless and powerless, dramatically influencing how they feel about themselves.
Moss explains, “One person, or a singular experience, can alter how the rest of the world feels to us. This song, for me, is about being confronted with a reality wherein we are forced to see our circumstances for what they truly are.”
Chbeeb describes why he feels it is important to highlight sensitive subjects through music and dance, “Our brains have digested so much about inequality issues in the last decade, but little has changed. It is up to art to teach the heart. Inequality affects us all in various capacities and only our heart’s ignorance can keep our world enslaved by it.”
For support, visit: The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
**Bonus: Chbeeb and Moss collaborated last year to produce the video to Moss’s song “Slip,” in which they created another equally breathtaking project. Click here to view that video and interpretation of it.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina