The first time I watched this music video I honestly had no idea what was going on: here’s Dave, lead singer of Glass Animals, sitting in front of the camera, singing the words to “Agnes,” and occasionally making some weird faces in what seems like slow motion. Fortunately, I was not the only person who didn’t have any insight towards the backstory of the video and hours later, the description was updated.
Dave is inside a human centrifuge (a machine used to train pilots and astronauts subject to high levels of acceleration), experiencing what it would be like to almost reach a point of unconsciousness.
That’s it, that’s the entire video—a head and shoulders profile shot of the singer staring at the viewer and visibly trying his hardest to sing the lyrics. It’s oddly intimate. The purpose of using the human centrifuge for the video correlates with the lyrics and the story happening within the song. Dave explains it as “…the only way that we could just about begin to simulate for a moment what happens within Agnes.” Agnes is a character from Glass Animals’ album, How to Be a Human Being, who was diagnosed with depression and had a drug habit. He is depicted on the cover as the boy in the center holding a camera. We find out in the second verse of the track that, ultimately, Agnes kills himself—”this time you pulled the fucking trigger.” The concept of being stuck inside a tiny compartment and being quickly spun around, creating such an intense pressure on the entire body and making it difficult to do anything let alone breathe, attempts to mimic what Agnes went through daily.
Honestly, this song fucked me up. When a person reaches such a low point in life where they want everything to stop and want to end it all, the last thing on that person’s mind is “How is this going to affect other people?” Perhaps it does cross their mind, but they may assume that based upon their own negative feelings about themselves, the people they leave behind won’t care that they’re gone. “Agnes” tells the point of view of someone affected by their friend’s suicide. “You’re gone but you’re on my mind/ I’m lost but I don’t know why,” a repeated lyric, really drove home how it feels to lose someone. “Agnes” is a deeply emotional and genuine song for me, and the concept of the video offers a clear visual and physical representation for the pain and suffering felt when battling depression.
If you are struggling with depression, please reach out. You are not alone.