Sylvan Esso's new video, 'Rooftop Dancing,' captures NYC in 2020

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Video for Sylvan Esso's 'Rooftop Dancing,' filmed and directed by Cheryl Dunn. (Sylvan Esso)

New York is one of the most filmed and photographed cities on the planet. Even for people who have never been to New York City, there is a sense of familiarity, or at least a sense of what one can expect, in photos and video of New York.

But the music video for Sylvan Esso's new song, "Rooftop Dancing," captures the new New York — one defined not by bustling crowds, jam-packed subways and streams of yellow taxis nudging MTA buses for space on busy thoroughfares, but rather one of people wearing masks and keeping their distance from one another. What remains is the indomitable spirit of New York: people carving out their own space wherever they can, and finding joy in whatever ways they are able.

Although "Rooftop Dancing," like the rest of Sylvan Esso's forthcoming album, Free Love, was recorded in the band's studio in North Carolina, there is something about "Rooftop Dancing" that lives and breathes New York: "'Rooftop Dancing' is about the excitement of being part of a collective humming whole — a city that contains multitudes — with your small story shining softly amidst it," Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn said in a statement accompanying the release of the video.

In a city where space is always at a premium, pandemic or no, finding that magical place on the roof is a place of escape. It's an idea that's already firmly planted in popular music, thanks to the Drifters' 1962 recording of the Gerry Goffin and Carole King song, "Up on the Roof": On the roof it's peaceful as can be / And there the world below can't bother me. Sylvan Esso's "Rooftop Dancing" builds on that theme and presents it through a 2020 lens.

"To me this song reflects the social climate of New York right now," director Cheryl Dunn said in a statement, "with its historical resilience to re-invent — to create new things from the discarded, to take back the streets, to not dwell on what you can't do but to get excited about what you can do… like riding bikes en masse, making guerrilla art shows by the river, making more art and music — and yes — dancing on the rooftops!"

Sylvan Esso's Free Love releases September 25 on Loma Vista recordings.

External Link

Sylvan Esso - official site

2 Photos

  • Sylvan Esso, 'Free Love'
    Sylvan Esso, 'Free Love,' releases Sept. 25, 2020. (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Sylvan Esso press photo
    Sylvan Esso are Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath. (courtesy the artists)