Just minutes before consuming some local spirits and lighting up Twitter with his annual hours-long virtual Grammys viewing party, Minneapolis singer/songwriter jeremy messersmith officially dropped a newly-minted single and accompanying video.
Since the week of January’s polar vortex, messersmith had been hinting on Twitter that he was taking to the director’s chair. “Okay tweeps- anybody in the Twin Cities have a comically large Teddy bear I could borrow for an hour tomorrow afternoon? DON’T ASK ME ANY QUESTIONS IT’S FOR MY ART OKAY?” he wrote on Jan. 28.
Hours later the artist ratcheted up our curiosity with an image of said “comically large Teddy bear” sitting snugly in the back of an SUV. (MPR technical director Corey Schreppel, it later turned out, was messersmith’s teddy bear hook-up.)
I have a bear now. Thank you Twitter folks! pic.twitter.com/4DThMDwUac
— jeremy messersmith (@jmessersmith) January 29, 2019
What could messersmith possibly be concocting on his potato of a laptop?
The project in question is a Wes-Anderson-esque video featuring none other than another local musician: Har Mar Superstar. Har Mar plays a man who, as the opening scenes suggest, has lived an incredibly full life. Yet after canoeing down the Amazon, learning to levitate, becoming fluent in Mandarin, etc. there’s still one area of life that’s left with boxes unchecked: romance. As the video unfolds, it is clear the character need not venture out in search of connection as messersmith maintains the sacraments of romance may be legitimately carried out on one’s own.
The video follows Har Mar dressing in his best emerald suit, consuming a large amount breadsticks at a fancy restaurant (where messersmith himself makes a cameo as a waiter), indulging in a rose-petal-laden bubble bath, then waking the next morning to cook himself an omelet all while entirely alone — save for aforementioned plush bear.
The lyrics of the single, titled “Sweep Me Off My Feet,” match the video scene-by-scene. Produced by John Mark Nelson, it’s a folk-pop acoustic ode to self-love, right in time for Valentine’s Day. “I finally found a love to last a lifetime/ someone who’ll be there when I get old/ a friend who just knows exactly what I’m thinking/ and takes the time to laugh at all my jokes,” messersmith sings over a clip of Har Mar skipping down an empty hallway with heart-shaped box of chocolates and rose bouquet in hand.
In a statement posted with the video, messersmith wrote, “Amidst the hype and commerce of Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to forget the most important thing: that we are the lenses through which we see the world, and we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Instead of fretting over dinner reservations or being alone this Valentine’s Day, maybe take a moment and say ‘Hey me, I think you’re pretty great. Let’s hang out. Just the one of us.'”
The standalone single is messersmith’s first release since last year’s album Late Stage Capitalism.
Lydia Moran is a music and arts writer in Minneapolis.