5 Things To Know About Maxwell's Chilling New Video 'The Glass House'
It's been years since we've heard new music from Maxwell, and when we do? He hits us with gorgeous vocals and a politically-charged short film, released on TIDAL, that shows a family calmly facing a mushroom cloud. It's the end of the world, of course, and Maxwell, a small child and a pregnant wife do what anyone would do when the news media tells you the end is five minutes away. They hold hands.
The film is named "The Glass House" and the song is entitled "We Never Saw It Coming," and together they offer a sobering vision designed to elicit conversation and thought in combination with being released at the end of the North Korea nuclear summit, where President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It was a historic meeting for several reasons, one of them being that this was the first time a sitting U.S. president sat with a North Korean leader. Some say the summit was a success even though no concrete next steps were laid out. Regardless of the outcome, Maxwell apparently was moved by weeks of social media and news media chatter surrounding nuclear attacks. The video is available on Tidal.
The artist also recently announced a Black Summer' Night of Social Justice concert event, so of course, he wouldn't shy away from tackling nuclear issues. This new music, presumably from an upcoming album reportedly named NIGHT, is anticipated to be the third in a trilogy of albums that started with 2009’s BLACKsummers'night and continued with 2016’s blackSUMMERS'night.
"As an artist, I feel a responsibility to entertain as well as inform," says the three-time Grammy winner, who can be seen here performing his 2016 hit "Gods" at the 2017 BET Awards. "In the words of the great Nina Simone, ‘it is the duty of the artist to reflect the times.’ If we are to leave the world better than we found it, we all have to come together, unified in love, for our fellow man and this beautiful planet that we all call home.”
video collaborators, the writing and directing team of Bush+Renz (Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz ):
"As artists and storytellers, we have a responsibility to raise our voices to alert and activate people out of complacency. The Glass House serves as a sobering wake-up call that hopefully, we all have the courage and determination to answer, …before it’s too late.
Here's what else you need to know about the short film, "The Glass House" and about Maxwell's return to the music scene - finally - after 2016's album.
01. The short film is set in Los Angeles: As Maxwell and his film family look out their glass walls, they are viewing the city of angels as it slowly gets eaten by a mushrooming cloud. As you watch it a second or third time, note how the TV screen shows how the network is officially off air. 02. The film was created by Bush + Renz, longtime Jay-Z collaborators. The group plans to release more videos with Maxwell as his album rolls out. The film draws upon the low-key dread many feel as they contemplate their very humanity. Street gangs, and car accidents and cancer claim lives, but a nuclear situation makes all of that pale in consideration. The group is tapping into that anxiety. "A planet on the precipice brings us to this moment; global unrest and uncertainty plagues America with a palpable level of anxiety," say Bush + Renz. 03. The video introduces actress Yomi Abiola as the careful, pregnant wife unable to do anything to protect her family. She's a contributing editor over at Vogue Italy, and an activist and model. She says she uses fashion and media to create social change. And, she's a fierce creative director. 04. The song is classic Maxwell; quite lovely and often haunting. It falls right in line with the star's "Black Summer Night For Social Justice" concert tour, which comes to New York City in August. 05. Maxwell says he is, as of late, inspired by Harry Belafonte, Nelson Mandela and Paul Robeson, and his art is reflecting those thoughts. If the new album NIGHT follows the trajectory of the first two albums in this trio, the songs are likely to evoke thought about serious issues while also keeping true to Maxwell's "grown and sexy" musical allure. ---