The following is a guest post by Andrew Lisa.
In a his new music video "Mirrors," Justin Timberlake takes his fans on a deep and personal journey, and in doing so, gives them a glimpse into the singer’s private emotional world.
Taken from 20/20 Experience, his first album since 2006, "Mirrors" is both a tribute to his grandparents and an examination of his own life and journey into love.
"For William and Sadie"
The video opens with a simple but elegant black-on-white cursive script that reads “For William and Sadie,” Timberlake’s grandfather and grandmother, who were married for 63 years before William passed away in 2012.
An image of a young woman, crying and distressed in a bedroom, is flashed briefly and then replaced by an elderly woman in the same bedroom. Behind the old woman is an old man, unseen to her, who mirrors every physical gesture she makes.
As the man is dressed totally in black and invisible to the woman, the viewer can presume he has died and she is mourning his passing in the bedroom they shared.
Young and old intertwined
As the tempo of the music picks up, the video cuts to images of young people in a pool hall. A young man and woman shoot billiards, play the jukebox, steal glances at each other, and then finally dance. The video then cuts back to the bedroom, where the old woman moves in sorrow, her movements mirrored by the man she mourns.
Although the imagery of vibrant young people juxtaposed against that of their declining, elderly counterparts has been used in music videos since forever, Timberlake's vision — combined with his lyrics that serve as a kind of narration — brings a genuine feel of authenticity.
The young couple from the pool hall is shown in a wild circus funhouse filled with costumed revelers; this scene takes place in the house the elderly couple shared. As the old woman looks on, the viewer can assume she is looking back on her past. The young man gives the girl a red-covered book as a gift, for which he gets a kiss on the cheek.
Mirrors Reflecting Back on Life
The video then cuts back to the elderly woman in the bedroom packing the same red book into a box, looking into a mirror, her actions parroted by the ghost of her husband. As the young couple dances, the funhouse sparks a kind of magic that allows the old woman to dance with her husband one last time.
The video culminates with the old woman dropping her wedding ring, which is caught by Timberlake, who then engages in a passionate, choreographed dance that takes place in a hall of mirrors with a woman dancing behind him.
Dark, ambiguous, and laden with imagery, "Mirrors" urges the viewer to take away from it whatever they choose. But there are a few undeniable themes. Timberlake is reflecting on his grandparents' life, love and lost youth, and establishing through the concept of reflective glass that in love, one person is a mirror image of the other, and without one, the other seemingly couldn't exist.
You can view the entire video at Vevo.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about a wide variety of topics, from music to car insurance, including this article for AIS.