Of all the indisputably great love songs—“I Only Have Eyes For You,” “Wonderful World,” “Candy Shop,” “Trap Queen”—I never thought I’d hear one so brutally titled as “Disappointing.” Yet here it is, a new song from music’s most hallowed and gifted soul-bearer, John Grant, now returning for his third album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure.
“Disappointing,” which first appeared online in August, is a kind of robofunk disco ballad that skirts somewhere on the line between love as pure and love as madness, as it lists reams and reams of objects, concepts and temptations that are all just disappointing compared to you—whoever you is to John Grant. They must be pretty damn special though, because according to this, they surpass Dostoyevsky, ballet dancers, Francis Bacon, and the Harvest Moon in the arms of a tree which has been growing there for centuries. And that's just one verse. Also worth noting: this tune features Tracey Thorne from Everything But The Girl and Grant is very excited about this coup.
"So very happy that Tracey Thorn was on this one with me," says Grant. "What a huge honor for me! But it pisses me off that I forgot to put The Zipper, my favorite carnival ride, in 'Disappointing' somewhere. It will have to get its own separate song."
Now, the song comes with a perfect realization in video form, directed by David Wilson (Metronomy, Arcade Fire, Tame Impala), which we’re premiering exclusively on Noisey below, and features DJ Andy Butler of Hercules & Love Affair and loads of hench older dudes. Because how do you perfectly represent the everlasting boom of true love in the face of tantalization? You film it in a gay sauna under a railway arch, that’s how. I’ll let the director explain.
“The idea for the promo came very clearly to me," explains Wilson. "I pitched the idea of John being surrounded by men and objects that would be temptations or distractions from a monogamous relationship.
"This concept then developed into the camera becoming distracted by these temptations, and for John to be steadfast: addressing the viewer, often appearing, as if by magic at the beginning and end of long, flowing camera moves. It’s been fun to treat the camera as an entity in itself: not quite a person, more a point-of-view that continually veers away from John and go down a rabbit hole of a gay sauna.”