ADVM Presents “She’s Gone”

“My guard got up but I still got hurt,” sings ADVM in the chorus of “She’s Gone.” It’s a typically plainspoken confession from an artist who doesn’t mince words. He’s unsparing in his criticism of the woman who walked away, but he’s also self-reflective, ruminating on the nature of love and his suitability for romance. The result?, a subtly complicated pop song, an intriguing character sketch, and a portrait of disillusionment designed to haunt the listener long after the last chord stops ringing.

For ADVM, who has emerged as one of the most intriguing young voices in Pacific Northwest independent music, it’s a turnabout. His last single was an ode to hedonism — and his unquenchable desire to keep the party going long past closing time. But even the boisterous, bouncy “Weekend” was, upon reflection, a complicated piece of relationship storytelling. Just like “She’s Gone,” it’s a story spun by a writer who’s not quite sure how he feels about the object of his affection. These songs are combinations of wild attraction, hope, self-confidence, and cynicism, all held in tension by a writer and singer with a unique voice and a magnetic delivery to match.

To understand how ADVM does this, it’s important to know where he’s coming from, and what matters to him as an artist. His songs are unabashedly pop — wildly catchy, immediate, instantly memorable and compulsively hummable. But he’s got a deep love for hip-hop and a powerful understanding of its narrative dynamics, and that comes through in his rhythms and cadences, his attitude, and his facility with language. Though his words are simple enough for anyone to understand, he’s picked them all with an appraiser’s discretion. In “She’s Gone,” he makes every syllable count.

His small-screen performances are tight, smart, and economical, too. In the clip for “She’s Gone,” he’s the jilted lover and the pillow-talker, the snuggler under blankets and the penitent in the rain. He’s also the monster on the screen of the thriller he’s watching with his girlfriend: a movie like a mirror, exposing a destabilized inner state. Director R. Malcolm Jones gives us plenty of close-up footage of a ruminative ADVM and his lovely ex-girlfriend, connecting and not connecting, exploring a magnetic attraction and feeling the gravity of a romantic letdown. Why didn’t it work out? Is ADVM for real when he dismisses love as “all the same,” or is that simply post-breakup bravado? The answer, as always, is in the frank, forthright, endlessly replayable lyrics.

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