“You know I’ll run away for a couple years just to prove I’ve never been free,” and Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION meant it, singing these lyrics in AWOLNATION’s single, “Hollow Moon,” which was released on the album Run on March 16, 2015. Disappearing for a little longer than two years after the success of “Sail,” which was released in 2011, Bruno returned with an energetic song full of heavy industrial and electro-fused rock that takes one on a musical wild ride, with its constant tempo switches. If the song couldn’t be more inventive, the video’s direction highlights the song.
A first glance, seemingly displays a simple video. Black background with people. Simple, right? The first 10 seconds are the simplest part of the video, as the introduction of shots of random people and mellow synths in the back escalate to an explosive rock anthem. To add value to the video, production for “Hollow Moon” was shot in one take by director Hayley Young in Seattle, WA. Choreography, the perfect timing of all actors, and Bruno exudes perfection and disbelief that this could only be one take.
Once the camera locks on Bruno, it becomes focused on him throughout the video, capturing his movements, and correlation of facial expressions in regards to the lyrics. Bruno then walks into a sea of people, as the electro rock element implements several scenes, and he is seen dancing casually as he continues to walk and sing the chorus: “Ima make a deal with the bad wolf so the bad wolf don’t bite no more.” This is the lightest part of the song and is bound to be lodged in memory, which is not a bad thing at all.
The same actors are recycled through different scenes and shots, allowing us to see any change. Bruno is then left in the center as a background voice echoes, “You’re all still here,” and shows the back of the crowd while Bruno picks up the song on an angry note and almost in response to the scene – “Motherf***er I’ll be back from the dead soon.” Lyrically, Bruno then questions if he made a mistake, and by the 2:30 minute mark, the same sea of people line up, while only few break free and dance.
Bruno is now in the center of the screen as the song changes tempo, spotlight on, and intent focus on Bruno and the lyrics. “The earth below is above my feet when the clock is laughin at me / when copy cats and the lazy brats are the last thing I want to see / No / my enemy is a friend of mine in a friendly place to be seen….” Emphasis on the last word, “free,” which showcases a great vocal range by Bruno, leads the camera to zoom out, while he then takes a bow under a now dim spotlight, allowing the sea of people to return and invade the scene. Loud industrial rock takes over, and the intensity and genius of this well-blended piece leads to the momentous aspect of the track. Camera still locks on him, panning out and taking in this atmospheric view as Bruno stands there motionless while the crowd takes part of dancing and commotion. Circling him, as he covers his face, we hear Bruno screaming, “They will never find me here” repeatedly. Echoing on the core that created “Sail,” and reinventing intensity felt in the music and lyrical value, AWOLNATION created a success in one.