Six and a half hours north of Oslo, an intrepid traveler comes to the end of the road. Sure, it’s possible to go farther north than Trondheim and its dramatic fjord, but it’s fair to say that urban Norway ends at city limits. As you might expect from a city on the top of the world, Trondheim has its own peculiar style, architecture, rhythm, and light. (It’s also well known as the home of some of the world’s most beautiful people). This Scandinavian gem is the sort of place you’d go to find somebody — or, perhaps, to lose somebody. Lars Skaland’s radiant video for “The One That Got Away,” the glorious and lovelorn new single by American pop-rock band The High Plains Drifters, shows Trondheim at its most spectacular. It’s a place of magic, wonder, and loss, a city of beginnings and endings, and it’s the ideal setting for a video about a romantic experience so profound that it achieves a near-mystical quality.
And that’s the thing about the High Plains Drifters. When they sing about love, they make every word and every note count. Theirs isn’t the sort of casual love that passes in a weekend — no, singer and lyricist Larry Studnicky writes about the sort of passion that turns the world inside out. High Plains Drifters songs will make you feel the rush of infatuation, the thrill of genuine togetherness, and the devastation of heartbreak, and often in the very same song. They match this explosive sentiment to music that reinforces the dangerous rapture of romance: irresistible melodies, pulse-quickening beats, and cinematic arrangements that set the scene and suit the epic emotions of the songs. “The One That Got Away” is a lament for a relationship lost; it’s wistful, gorgeous, danceable, infinitely replayable, and all too identifiable.
In Skaland’s clip, that lost girl is played by the winsome Julie Louise Bjelke. If she looks right at home, there’s a good reason for that: she’s a Trondheim resident, and she’s got the healthy glow and physical fitness that the city’s residents are famous for. She leads us on a chase through the streets of town — over a bridge across a fjord, into the courtyard of the ancient churches and along streets lined with wooden buildings and choked with Nordic mist, and straight to the Downtown and its fancy restaurants and beautiful hotels. Sometimes the camera searches for her and can’t find her and sometimes she re-emerges with a laugh. She’s like a butterfly, floating just a bit out of reach, always fluttering, always teasing, always delightful, but always destined to fly free.