In spite of her wistful allusions to trees and presents, New York singer-songwriter beccs hopes her latest single will “upend the romantic script” of the tried-and-true yuletide narrative.
HuffPost got a first look at the video for “Before This Christmas Ends,” viewable above. Directed by Alisha Bhowmik, the clip follows beccs and a female pal as they traverse the city. Both women, however, have deeper feelings for one another than they’ve let on, and by the video’s conclusion, they’re sharing a tender embrace, dressed festively in red and green gowns.
“I think my close friends ― I like to call them my ‘tree trunks’ ― have taught me the most of what I know about love,” beccs, whose real name is Becca Gastfriend, told HuffPost. “I wanted to make a piece that celebrates that.”
“The holidays can be disappointing when it comes to the romantic representation in entertainment,” she continued. “A part of me loves Christmas music, but it always came with a price of feeling disheartened by the picture-perfect holiday fairy tale out there. I wanted to give friends another one.”
Citing Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, Laura Nyro and Nina Simone as influences, beccs has spent the past few years establishing herself as an indie pop vocalist of astonishing candor.
In July, the 26-year-old Boston native released “By the Sea,” a haunting, guitar-driven ode to a noncommittal lover. Her 2016 debut EP, “Unfound Beauty,” drew from her experiences with an eating disorder.
Compared to beccs’ previous work, “Before This Christmas Ends” is a much more jovial affair. The singer, who is queer, said the story reflects her own journey with her sexuality and is, simply, “what I needed at this point in my life.”
“I see these characters as being on the cusp of their queerness,” she said. “It feels really tender and sacred, but also timid and teetering. I guess that’s how I’ve felt since discovering my queerness — wedged between what I’ve been taught and what I dream.”
The release of “Before This Christmas Ends” comes as LGBTQ narratives remain largely absent from holiday entertainment. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last month, Crown Media Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott said he’d be open to the idea of featuring a same-sex couple in a forthcoming film. His company is producing 24 Christmas-themed movies for the Hallmark Channel this year.
Abbott’s remarks, however, sparked backlash in conservative circles. At least two right-wing groups responded by launching online petitions against the channel, arguing that “the promotion of homosexuality” should be kept out of its programming.
For her part, Bhowmik sees the video as simply a look at “the spectrums of human experience that we can all relate to,” as opposed to a political or social gesture.
“I think it’s important to show joy and the purity of love with queer characters as much as it is to show our pain and struggles,” the director said.
Beccs plans to follow up the release of “Before This Christmas Ends” by returning to the studio to work on a new album. In February 2020, she’s set to release an experimental musical short film, “The Bouquet.”
As for “Before This Christmas Ends,” she’s hopeful the song and video “plant a little seed” reminding the audience that “love exists in the pockets of life we already have access to.”
“I want people to reach into those pockets and realize that what they think they’ve been looking for just may be right there with them,” she said.